Monday

3rd Oct 2022

Open letter from 30 embassies ahead of Budapest Pride

  • Separately, MEPs have asked the European Commission to refuse Hungary access to the €750bn Covid-19 pandemic recovery plan, if Viktor Orban's government does not reverse course (Photo: Kuba Bożanowski)

The Hungarian government is at odds not only with the EU - but with embassies and institutions around the world over its controversial new anti-LGBTIQ law, ahead of Budapest Pride this Saturday (24 July).

A total of 30 embassies and 12 cultural institutes have signed an open letter expressing "full support for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) community and their rights to equality and non-discrimination, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and freedom from violence."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The letter, published this week on the websites of the various embassies (namely, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, US) and echoed by 12 cultural institutes in Hungary is calling for Viktor Orban's government to respect the rule of law and human rights "upon which democratic states are built".

On the eve of the Budapest Pride Parade, the letter specifically refers to the event's "role in promoting equality of treatment and social acceptance for all LGBT+ persons, and contributing to the creation of a more open, just, inclusive and equal society".

International concern comes as Hungary in recent years has moved increasingly rapidly against LGBTIQ rights, from outlawing same-sex adoption, to not recognising gay marriage.

In December 2020, lawmakers amended the Hungarian constitution, with a new definition for the family "as the union of a father who is a man and a mother who is a woman", effectively excluding transgender and other LGBTIQ individuals.

Orban's 11 years in office have also included a ban on Hungarians wanting to change their gender legally, and - most recently - the highly-controversial anti-LGBT law on banning "homosexual and transexual propaganda".

Unanimously approved by the Hungarian parliament on 15 June 2021, the law prohibits sharing content on homosexuality or sex reassignment to people under 18 in school sex-education programmes, films or advertisements.

The new law will also allow the Hungarian government to establish an approved list of sex-education providers in schools - prompting international reaction from embassies stressing the need for "elected leaders and governments to show respect for and protect the rights of LGBT+ persons".

Earlier this week (21 July), in the wake of possible delays in the EU approving Hungary's pandemic recovery plan, Orban suddenly announced a referendum on the law, which is officially known as the Children Protection Act.

The PM urged Hungary to vote for the law, with Orban repeating that the law has the stated purpose of safeguarding children's well-being, and fighting paedophilia.

But with the controversial law already voted onto the statute book, the forthcoming referendum, the international condemnation and harsh reaction from Brussels, this weekend's 2021 pride march appears to be more politically charged than ever.

LGBTIQ activists are likely to use the Budapest parade as a show of solidarity for their community, and against Orban's government.

The European Commission and the European Parliament have previously launched a separate "rule of law" action against Hungary.

MEPs are asking the European Commission to move ahead with legal action, and to even refuse Hungary access to the €750bn Covid-19 pandemic recovery plan, if Orban's government does not reverse course.

Author bio

Cristian Gherasim is a freelance journalist contributing to EUobserver, Euronews, EU Reporter, Katoikos, Von Mises Institute, and bne IntelliNews, with a particular focus on European and regional affairs.

Hungary's recovery ratification on hold, amid anti-LGBTIQ row

The EU Commission and most MEPs have called on Hungary on Wednesday (7 July) to repeal discriminatory new laws against LGBTIQ people or face legal consequences. Meanwhile, the commission is assessing Budapest's Covid-19 pandemic recovery plan.

EU Commission warns Hungary over anti-LGBTIQ measures

EU Commission vice-president Thierry Breton and justice commissioner Didier Reynders have written to Hungary's justice minister Judit Varga expressing legal concerns before the Hungarian bill - intended to protect children but including anti-LGBTIQ measures - enters into force.

Opinion

How NOT to frame debate about Hungary's toxic anti-gay law

Politicians use clever framing of issues to convince voters to support laws that harm their own interests. Viktor Orban's new hate law vilifies people for who they love. But its opponents may have unwittingly helped by repeating its framing.

Opinion

Who are right-wing forces that attacked Georgia's LGBTIQ+ ?

Just weeks before Tbilisi Pride, the ultra-conservative Georgian activist, Levan Vasadze, who is affiliated with the group that organised the counter-protests, held a press conference at the Tbilisi Marriott Hotel.

Opinion

What von der Leyen's 'State of Union' didn't mention

Ursula von der Leyen barely noticed that European democracy is under attack not only from external threats, but from within. Two of the world's leading autocratic countries are EU member states.

News in Brief

  1. EU ministers adopt measures to tackle soaring energy bills
  2. EU takes Malta to court over golden passports
  3. EU to ban Russian products worth €7bn a year more
  4. Denmark: CIA did not warn of Nord Stream attack
  5. Drone sightings in the North Sea 'occurred over months'
  6. Gazprom threatens to cut gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine
  7. New compromise over EU energy emergency measures
  8. 15 states push for EU-wide gas price cap

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Editor's weekly digest: A week of leaks
  2. Putin declares holy war on Western 'satanism'
  3. Two elections and 'Macron's club' in focus Next WEEK
  4. EU agrees windfall energy firm tax — but split on gas-price cap
  5. Ukrainian chess prodigy: 'We are not going to resign ... anywhere'
  6. Going Down Under — EU needs to finish trade deal with Australia
  7. MEPs worry Russian disinfo weakens support for Ukraine
  8. Everything you need to know about the EU gas price cap plan

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us