On Thursday evening, outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD) asked Hungary to initiate a procedure for leaving the European Union. “I have never done that before,” said Rutte. But Orbán said he “had no immediate intention” to leave. The Eastern European country is under fire within the EU due to a recently passed anti-gay law. For Rutte, Hungary can no longer be part of the EU by passing the law. “Or they are members of the EU and the community of values that goes with it,” said the prime minister. “Or they go out.”
Rutte told the press on Thursday evening that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was addressed “unprecedented firmly” by the “large majority” of government leaders present. He called it “fierce and impressive.” According to Rutte, the words of the Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, himself married to a man, brought “tears to everyone’s eyes”. Only Poland, Slovenia and Bulgaria would have supported Hungary. Rutte said the atmosphere was “not great”.
Rutte’s request to Hungary to leave the EU has gone down the wrong way from Hungarian justice minister Judit Varga. The comment that Hungary no longer fits into the European Union is “just another episode in the blackmail series,” writes Varga on social media. The minister states that Hungary does not want to leave the EU at all. “On the contrary, we want to save her from the hypocrites.”
Also read: Rutte on Hungary: if they don’t adapt to the EU ‘they have to get out’
According to Varga, Rutte’s comments stem from “old colonial arrogance”. She states that she will “fight all her life” to ensure that “Hungarians never have to kneel before Rutte and other colonizers”. Her Dutch colleague Ferd Grapperhaus (CDA) then replied to Varga via Twitter. According to Grapperhaus, “justice is not hypocrisy.” The minister believes that justice ministers are ‘first and foremost defenders of all persons in the EU, regardless of their orientation’. “We must vigorously reject any legislation or policy that restricts the rights of LGBT people,” said Grapperhaus.
The stumbling block of Rutte and Grapperhaus is a law that prohibits “lhbti propaganda” for children under the age of eighteen. This means that youth films and advertisements aimed at children may not show non-heterosexual couples. Schools are also not allowed to pay attention to sexual diversity. The law was signed by the Hungarian president on Thursday. The European Commission announced that it would start legal proceedings on the basis of the law. Ahead of the EU summit, 17 heads of government signed an appeal to oppose “discrimination against the LGBTI community”.