The European Commission said Wednesday it would study Hungary’s new law banning the “promotion” of homosexuality to minors, which has already been condemned by Washington and rights groups.
The law, passed on Tuesday, is the latest in a series of measures right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government says are aimed at protecting children.
But critics say the changes — which effectively ban teaching about LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex) groups — would discriminate and restrict freedom of expression.
Brussels is under pressure to condemn Hungary’s latest move, which the US State Department says “raises concerns” and includes restrictions that “have no place in democratic society”.
But, under intense questioning from reporters at a regular daily news briefing, European Commission officials could only say that they would “look into it in more detail”.
“We are not going to be shy, we are going to express our views or opinions,” European Commission spokeswoman Dana Spinant insisted.
“But we need to base those on a thorough reflection on what is actually in that law, and what the problems with that law would be.”
“What we do will depend on what we find out,” Spinant said, pointing to the “important and legal and political steps” the EU has taken to build a strategy to protect LGBTQI rights.
“We will need to see under what aspects and on what points the legislation complies or fails to comply with EU legislation or with our principles.”
In recent years, Orban, who has ruled Hungary since 2010, has enacted a socially conservative policy agenda, shaping the EU member into what he calls a bastion against liberal ideologies.
Last December, parliament adopted a package of measures enshrining what the government sees as the traditional family, effectively banning adoption by same-sex couples.