HS analysis An embarrassing spice came to EU leaders’ dinner table: Hungary can no longer be swept under the rug

European Union leaders have long tried to keep the image intact, but by Midsummer there was a clear gap between the countries.


European union leaders arrived in brussels on Thursday in a seldom divergent mood. The reason for the disagreement was not found on the agenda of the meeting this time, but on its outskirts. Many EU countries felt that Hungary had gone too far this time.

The reason for the milk spill was a recent Hungarian law that discriminates against sexual and gender minorities. In practice, the law prohibits children and young people from telling about homosexuality, for example.

Hungary’s recent law came up on Tuesday at a meeting of European ministers, where it was announced Letter from 13 countries, which condemned Hungarian law. According to the letter, the law characterizes sexual and gender minorities and is contrary to international law and EU values. Finland was involved in the petition.

By the start of the summit, four EU countries had joined the ranks of signatories. The Prime Minister of Luxembourg in particular spoke in favor of the letter, initiated by the Benelux countries Xavier Bettel, who has often defended same-sex unions in public. Bettel’s partner is a man.

“The purpose of the letter is to underline the values ​​that make up Europe,” he said in an interview with Politico.

Also The European Commission has been unusually sharp in its statements. For example, the President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen called the law “shameful” and instructed two commissioners to send a request for further information to Hungary. If the Commissioner Didier Reyndersin and Thierry Bretonin If there is no satisfactory reply to the letter, the Commission is preparing legal action.

The Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbánin authoritarian rule and, for example, the curtailment of media freedom have brought gray hair to the lands of several EU decision-makers.

An Article 7 penalty procedure has been launched against Hungary, but in practice this only means endless consultations. The strongest weapon in the procedure, the abolition of the right to vote, would require the unanimous support of other Member States. It will not, because Poland itself, in the Article Seven procedure, will not leave Hungary alongside it.

Is yet it is rare for the value dispute that rips the EU to rise so strongly to the summit. In general, unity is guarded at a meeting of EU leaders, even with teeth gritted. In an unstable world, we do not want to send a message to outsiders that the EU is tearing its joints.

There may be a depressing atmosphere at Thursday’s dinner table if the President-in-Office of the European Council Charles Michel to raise the situation in Hungary, as it intends, to the debate.

Predictions about the tone of the meeting discussion were obtained when Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán met with journalists briefly before the meeting began.

“It’s not about homosexuality, it’s about children and parents. Please read it, ”Orbán said of the recent law.

When asked by journalists about the repeal of the law, Orbán recalled that the law is already in force.

Finland prime minister Sanna Marin (sd) formulated its position sparingly and recalled that Hungary was not on the actual agenda of the meeting.

“Each Member State must adhere to common principles to which we are all committed. This development is worrying and, of course, needs to be addressed. ”

According to Marin, one of the ways to intervene is the rule of law mechanism attached to the EU’s recovery package and future budget. This was one of the main goals of Finland’s EU Presidency.

After persuasion, Hungary and Poland were pushed behind the mechanism, but the mechanism was delayed by their legal actions. A solution from the European Court of Justice is expected in the autumn.

Multi The EU country and the EPP Group, Orbán’s umbrella party in the EU, have been waiting for Hungary to turn for a long time. There was at least one solution this spring: Orbán MEPs left Parliament’s EPP group.

Orbán betrayed the atmosphere at the summit as early as last weekend in his speech on the EU Parliament. Mr Orbán scheduled his speech on the same day as the European Parliament met in Strasbourg to launch a debate on a conference on the future of the EU.

Mr Orbán declared the EU Parliament a dysfunctional and undemocratic institution and called for its dissolution. The EU Parliament is the only directly elected EU institution.

President of the European Parliament David Sassoli tweeted, after Mr Orbán’s speech, that “only those who do not like democracies are calling for the dissolution of parliaments”.

Orbán has also criticized the EU Parliament in the past. The Hungarian Article Seven process began at the initiative of Parliament.



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