Hungary has taken over the presidency of the Council of Europe while the EU Commission announces sanctions against it

Hungary took over the presidency of the Council of Europe on Monday, a pan-European organization founded after World War II with the task of monitoring respect for human rights on the continent.

A kind of European paradox is the fact that at the same time, Hungary has come under fierce criticism from the European Commission and governments, mostly Western European Union countries, over new laws to protect children and families from the influence of homosexuals.

In such a tense context, Foreign Minister Peter Siarto addressed MPs from 47 member states, who are sitting in plenary in Strasbourg this week, on Monday, outlining the priorities of the Hungarian presidency.

Council of Europe in Strasbourg

Protection of minorities and children in the Hungarian way

The first among the priorities of the Hungarian presidency will be the protection of national minorities. This is an extremely important issue for Hungary, considering that it lost two thirds of its territory and half of its population, which found itself in the position of a national minority in the surrounding countries, with the Treaty of Trianon in 1920.

“Guarantees should be given to national minorities so that they can preserve their identity, their culture, their religion and their language in the state administration,” said Peter Szijjarto.

“Let’s not be naive,” Siarto said, addressing the deputies, “We hear many arguments in favor of a multicolored world (allusion to the rainbow colors of the LGBT flag, but also to migrants). When I listen to those who say them, I never hear them speak in favor of protecting the rights of national minorities. “

In the continuation of this speech, he confirmed that Hungary will not sign the Istanbul Convention, which, among other things, condemns domestic violence and violence against women and whose promoter is the Council of Europe.

Still in the spirit of the policy of protection of the homeland and the family, to which Orban’s conservative party Fides refers, Siarto added that among other priorities is “especially the protection of children from sexual crime via the Internet”, which he explained especially strengthened during the epidemic. .

“Families and children need to be protected in reality and in the virtual world, and we need laws to punish that kind of crime,” Siarto said.

Peter Siarto denied as fake news, warns that the new Hungarian law on the protection of family and children equates pedophilia and homosexuality. He said that the law “only says that parents are responsible for the sexual education of children until they reach the age of 18 and reach the age of majority” and that no minority group in Hungary is “under attack” by this law “but only pedophiles”.

However, during the parliamentary debate with Peter Siart, the dialogues were somewhat ambiguous. The President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Belgian Rick Daems, was forced to take things in stride and asked the Hungarian Minister:

“Did I understand you well – you said that no one can be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, right?” He received an affirmative answer from Siart and thanked him.


Stadium in Munich in the colors of the LGBT flag

They demand the punishment of Hungary

In his tone of a populist savior and protector of the homeland from the “multicolored world”, Siart’s speech jumps out of the register of the Council of Europe on the protection of human rights of all citizens. Nevertheless, these new tones have not caused much excitement in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, an organization whose role is to protect human rights.

However, this is not the case in the institutions of the European Union (27 member states): the European Commission is currently sounding the alarm because it has received requests from 13 countries of the Union and the European Parliament to take punitive measures against Hungary. The reason: Violation of the basic European charters which guarantee the same rights to all citizens, and which Budapest does not apply in practice when it comes to members of LGBT groups.

The political storm in the EU due to the new Hungarian law on the protection of children and families from homosexual influence, suggests perhaps a deeper and dramatic political and cultural realignments on the European continent and in the European Union.

On Tuesday, at a meeting of EU European ministers in Luxembourg, Hungarian Minister Judit Varga came under sharp criticism for the recent amendment of Hungarian laws on child protection, trade advertising, media, family protection and education – all with the proclaimed goal of banning “promotion “Homosexuality among minors.

“Freedom is not only the freedom of choice, speech, association, but it also includes the right to defend our families and the upbringing of our children.” We believe that only their parents should decide on the upbringing of children, “Varga wrote on her Twitter account.

In a joint declaration, 13 European Union states said the new law in Hungary was “a flagrant form of discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression” and that alleged child protection was just an excuse for the Hungarian government.

Concerns for LGBT-oriented citizens

“Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Ireland, Spain, Sweden and Italy have expressed deep concern over the stigmatization of LGBT citizens and their fundamental rights to dignity guaranteed by the European Charter and international law.”

These countries assessed that the new Hungarian law also tramples “the right to freedom of expression, restricts freedom of opinion and information without interference by the authorities, as provided by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.”

The declaration calls on the European Commission, as the custodian of the European treaties, to use all the means at its disposal, including the European Court of Justice, to guarantee full respect for EU law.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, herself stated that the new Hungarian law is “shameful”.

European sources say that there will be more countries that will sign the text, but it is already clear that Greece and Austria refused to sign.

Things went so far this week that the Germans announced that during the Germany-Hungary football match in Munich, they would paint their stadium with the rainbow colors of the LGBT movement flag in order to send a protest message to Hungary because of its policy towards sexual minorities.

The European Football Federation (UEFA) refused to approve it, explaining that it is “politically and religiously neutral”, but it was criticized. French Minister for European Affairs Clément Beaune, for example, criticized UEFA, saying that “this is not about politics but about core values”.

Earlier, at the Hungary-Portugal match of the European Football Championship, played on June 15 in Budapest, an anti-LGBT banner was noticed, while during the match Hungary-France, “monkey screams” were heard from the stands at the same stadium – a racist allusion to numerous French players of African descent.

Hungary thanked the UEFA organization for its decision, but UEFA – in order to defend itself against the unwanted label of Orban’s ally – put its coat of arms in the rainbow colors of the LGBT flag on the organization’s website yesterday.

Hungary has been under EU supervision for several years due to regular violations of the rule of law, especially the independence of the judiciary and freedom of the media. Like Poland, Hungary has been hit by a procedure under Article 7 of the EU Treaty. In theory, it could lead to the suspension of the voting rights of these countries in the European Council, which brings together the heads of state and government of the 27 member states of the Union. In practice, such a sanction is impossible because its entry into force requires the unanimous support of all member states, which is almost impossible.

Source: Balkan Magazin – Aktuelnosti by

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