On 2 December 2021, the European Commission published its December infringement package1 Included in these decisions are the two reasoned opinions addressed to the Hungarian government on the first-ever two LGBTIQ-specific cases.
Case 1 refers to the disclaimer to be printed on a book, imposed by the Hungarian Consumer
Protection Authority, claiming that the book depicts forms of ‘behaviour deviating from traditional gender roles’. Case 2 concerns the law passed in June that seeks to prohibit or limit access to content that portrays the so-called ‘divergence from self-identity corresponding to sex at birth, sex change or homosexuality’ for individuals under 18 years of age.
Both cases were subject to monitoring by the LGBTI Intergroup, who tabled an Oral Question to the European Commission in June,2 which in turn led to a debate with resolution in the July Plenary.3 The resolution,4 which was adopted by a large majority, recalled both cases and concretely called on the Commission to use all powers at its disposal, including infringement procedures, to address them. Both infringement procedures were announced by the Commission on 15 July 2021.
Terry Reintke MEP (Greens-EFA), Co-Chair of the LGBTI Intergroup, comments:
This is the Union of Equality we want to see, where justice and fundamental rights are
defended and respected. The Intergroup has long been an ally of the LGBTIQ community in Hungary, following developments alongside civil society and advocating for their concerns.
The fact that the Commission followed on our concerns now with reasoned opinions is a
strong signal in favour of the defence of human rights.
Marc Angel MEP (S&D), Co-Chair of the LGBTI Intergroup, concludes:
In our many meetings with Hungarian activists, we could feel the despair and the need for an appropriate legal response against the many attacks they faced. Civil society organisations needed a development such as today to be shown that the Commission, as >the Guardian of the Treaties, stands by them. The signal today is clear and we can only call on the Commission, in other such cases, to be as willing and resolute.
1 European Commission (2 December 2021), “December infringements package: key decisions”, accessible at ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/inf_21_6201
2 European Parliament (22 June 2021), “Breaches of EU law and of the rights of LGBTIQ citizens in Hungary as a result of the adopted legal changes in the Hungarian Parliament”, Oral Question tabled by MEPs, accessible at www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/O-9-2021-000050_EN.html.
3 European Parliament Plenary Debate (7 July 2021), accessible at www.europarl.europa.eu/plenary/en/vod.html?mode=chapter&vodLanguage=EN&vodId=f2a7831a-0ad9-
4 European Parliament resolution of 8 July 2021 on breaches of EU law and of the rights of LGBTIQ citizens in Hungary as a result of the legal changes adopted by the Hungarian Parliament, accessible at www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2021-0362_EN.html