EU leaders threaten to drag Orban in front of judges unless he drops controversial new law

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Member states are expected to confront the firebrand prime minister at a summit of EU leaders today over the legislation labelled discriminatory by the European Commission. The clash is expected to dominate the gathering in Brussels after tensions between EU countries and Budapest threaten to boil over. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the law, which still requires final approval from Hungary’s president, is a breach of fundamental rights.

She said: “This bill clearly discriminates against people based on their sexual orientation.

“It goes against the fundamental rights of the European Union: human dignity, equality and respect for human rights.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel waded in, insisting the “law is wrong”.

Insiders said a host of EU nations are queuing up to use the summit challenge Mr Orban to withdraw the legislation before it is approved.

A senior EU diplomat said: “In the past, Orban’s government has taken back legislation.

“Let’s hope this is done swiftly because the LGBT bill is beyond what we can accept.”

Another diplomat described the clash as one of the “worst moments” in the EU’s bitter relationship with Hungary.

EU Commission bigwigs Didier Reynders and Thierry Breton yesterday warned Brussels would “not hesitate to take action in line with its powers under the Treaty” if the legislation wins final approval.

In their letter to Hungarian justice minister Judit Varga, they said: “A constructive and loyal dialogue between the Commission and the Hungarian authorities would in our view be necessary at this stage, before the final adoption of the bill.

“Should the bill enter into force, the European Commission will not hesitate to take action in line with its powers under the Treaty.”

The pair have given Hungary until the end of the month to reply to their threat of legal action.

Budapest’s anti-LGBT law bans “the display and promotion of homosexuality” among under-18s, effectively preventing matters of sexual orientation from being taught in schools.

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The EU has limited powers to amend domestic legislation but can sue member states that are deemed to have breached one of the institutions treaties.

The letter from the commissioners cites another rule breach, including the EU’s Charter on Fundamental Rights, audio visual and media regulations and rules governing the provision of services in the single market.

EU officials argued the bill de facto equates homosexuality and transgender issues as being “on the same footing as pornography and are considered as capable of exerting a negative influence on the physical and moral developments of minors”.

Hungary’s anti-LGBT law has also sparked tensions at European football’s governing body Uefa, which rejected a request from Munich city council to light up its stadium in rainbow colours during last night’s Euro 2020 clash between Germany and the Hungarian national team.

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Uefa said the move contravened its rules on political displays, arguing it was in breach because of the “political context” in Budapest.

The Hungarian government has argued its law has been designed to “protect the rights of children, guarantee the rights of parents and does not apply to the sexual orientation rights of those over 18 years of age, so it does not contain any discriminatory elements”.

“The statement by the President of the Commission is a shame because it publishes a biased political opinion without a previously conducted, impartial inquiry,” the Fidesz government said.

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