Monday, July 26, 2021
HomeBrexit WatchProtect children from porn? Don’t you dare, says the EU

Protect children from porn? Don’t you dare, says the EU

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MEMBERS of the fractious club that is the European Union lined up last week to give Hungary a stern ticking off for its enactment of a new ‘anti-LGBTQI+’ law.

The EU say that the law banning the ‘display and promotion of homosexuality’ among under-18s violates European Union values and is a very bad thing.

Heavyweights including Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron signed a letter, initiated by Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel, the first EU leader to be married to a same-sex partner, before Monday’s ‘LGBTQ+ Pride Day’. The missive warns of grave ‘threats against fundamental rights and in particular the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation’.

EC President Ursula von der Leyen has also instructed her team to send the Hungarians a letter ‘to express our legal concerns before the Bill enters into force’ and she vowed to use all the commission’s powers to uphold the rights of all EU citizens. Calling the Hungarian bill ‘a shame’, her comments are a clear declaration of intent to block domestic legislation.

If Hungary goes forward with the Bill, the Commission can order it to stop implementation. If Hungary chooses not comply with that request, the case could go to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) which could then rule for annulment or amendment. Subsequent non-compliance would lead to a hefty fine.

Michael Roth, Germany’s European Affairs Minister, expressed concern that both Hungary and Poland are intent on violating the European rule of law by trampling on the freedoms of courts, academics and media, as well as restricting the rights of women, LGBTI individuals, migrants and minorities. 

Roth said: ‘The European Union is not primarily a single market or a currency union. We are a community of values; these values bind us all. There should be absolutely no doubt that minorities, sexual minorities too, must be treated respectfully.’ 

Thomas Byrne, the Irish Minister of State for European Affairs, said: ‘I am very concerned. It is wrong what has happened there and has to stop . . . It’s a very, very dangerous moment for Hungary, and for the EU as well.’ 

So how has Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán upset his European Union friends? The Hungarian Bill prohibits the showing of pornography or content portraying homosexuality or transgenderism to under-18s. Other measures provide for a register of sex offenders, regulations on sexual education to exclude the use of LGBTQI materials, and stronger policies against child pornography.

What did Orbán expect? That LGBTI activists and woke warriors would simply permit a sovereign nation to act to protect its children and young people from their influence?

Orbán has defended his parliament’s decision, saying: ‘The current Left-wing campaign against Hungary is further proof that today, the Left is the enemy of freedom, because instead of freedom of speech, they want political correctness as defined by them, and hegemony of opinion instead of a pluralism of ideas.

‘The new Hungarian law does not conflict with any lofty ideals or European laws. It simply states clearly that only parents can decide on the sexual education of their children. Education in schools must not be in conflict with the will of parents; it must at most be supplementary, its form and content must be clearly defined and it must be subject to parental consent.’

He insists that the Bill ‘protects the rights of children, guarantees the rights of parents and does not apply to the sexual orientation rights of those over 18 years of age, so it does not contain any discriminatory elements.’

Orbán has high levels of domestic support, unlike many of his peers.  After ten years in office, he has an approval rating of 62 per cent thanks to his strong borders policy and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

He is involved in a long-running feud with the Hungarian-born financier George Soros. In 2017, the Hungarian government funded billboards in Budapest and other cities featuring Soros as a puppet master. In 1918 Orbán said of Soros: ‘We are fighting an enemy that is different from us. Not open but hiding; not straightforward but crafty; not honest but base; not national but international; does not believe in working but speculates with money; does not have its own homeland but feels it owns the whole world.’ Critics have accused Orbán of anti-Semitism.

The EU, in the middle of a dire political, financial, and health crisis, has chosen a bad time to take on Orbán. He faces an election next year and is unlikely to back down from what he regards as a populist fight to safeguard his country’s traditional values from the onslaught of shabby western liberalism. Such an internationally high-profile tussle might end in a Pyrrhic victory for the Brussels elite.

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Kate Dunlop
Kate Dunlop is a mediator.

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