Democracy Digest: V4 Dragged into Hungary’s EU Gay Rights Spat

For his part, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban argues the law "does not contain any discriminatory elements", because it is only 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. He branded the statement by von der Leyen as "shameful because it is based on untrue allegations".

On Thursday, EU commissioners Thierry Breton and Didier Reynders claimed the bill would violate the bloc's media and tech laws, as it "unjustifiably" limits the television and online content currently regulated in the EU under the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and the e-Commerce Directive.

Upping the ante, more than half of EU member states signed a joint declaration voicing "grave concerns" over the law and calling for the Commission to act over this "flagrant form of discrimination". Belgium, the main driver behind the letter, approached all 27 member states asking them to put their name to the letter. Notably, all the largest members - such as Germany, France, Italy and Spain - were among the 17 signatories, though Hungary's Central European neighbours - Czechia, Poland and Slovakia - all declined to sign it.

The reason for the Czech refusal to sign is unclear - even, it appears, to the government itself. Local media reported that Czech representatives in Brussels told them that the Belgian initiative went through the government in Prague. The Czech government office said that, frankly, they did not know why there was no Czech signature.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Thursday morning, as he arrived in Brussels ahead of the summit, that he wants to discuss the issue with Orban. The leaders were due to meet at a pre-summit coordination...

Continue reading on: