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This week, Hungary’s parliament passed legislation which aims to stop the sharing of content surrounding the LGBT community. Although the Commission is undertaking rule of law proceedings against Hungary, spokesman Christian Wigand refused to condemn the new legislation which sparked anger from Mr Verhofstadt. In a statement, Mr Wigand claimed the Commission was looking into the new legislation in Hungary.
In response, the europhile MEP claimed Ursula von der Leyen looked like a “humble servant” to member states rather than someone standing up for the EU’s rights and freedoms.
He said: “Speechless. Is the von der Leyen trying to prove it is merely the humble servant of governments, no matter what they do?
“It should be the proud guardian of the Treaties & boldly stand up for the rights & freedoms of Europeans!”
The new law in Hungary, introduced by the ruling Fidesz party, will ban the sharing of content which portrays homosexuality or sex reassignment for people under the age of 18.
It will specifically target education material at schools and programmes which target minors ahead of the 2022 election.
The Commission has battled with Hungary over apparent violations to the EU’s ethics and values.
Hungary has been accused of violating certain rules relating to the freedom of the press, crackdown on the LGBT community and role of the judiciary.
Under Article 7 of the treaty of Europe, the EU can suspend certain rights of a member state if it has violated the bloc’s ethics.
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Earlier this year, the EU threatened to withhold funding from its budget and recovery fund over Hungary’s violations – it has so far failed to act on the threats.
This month, MEPs backed legal proceedings against the Commission over the failure to implement financial sanctions against Poland and Hungary.
They claimed the EU’s rule of law mechanism, which links the budget to democratic norms should have already been enforced.
Terry Reintke, a Green MEP, said: “The EU needs a strong basis we can all stand on, which is spelt out in the treaties: democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights. But this is under attack and being dismantled as we speak.
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“Instead of defending European values, the commission is watching, writing reports and sitting on its hands. The rule of law needs action now.
“Unfortunately, it’s clear from yesterday’s debate in parliament that the commission doesn’t seem to feel the same sense of urgency to act.”
Commenting on Hungary’s new law, Ms von der Leyen said: “Very concerned about the new law in Hungary.
“We are assessing if it breaches relevant EU legislation.
“I believe in a Europe which embraces diversity, not one which hides it from our children.
“No one should be discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation.”
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