BRUSSELS — The European Union executive stepped up its legal tussle with Hungary on Friday by taking the country to the EU’s highest court over a restrictive law on LGBT issues and media freedom. .

The EU had already tried for a year to get Hungary to modify a law banning content depicting or promoting homosexuality. The European Commission has said it “discriminates against people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity”.

“The Commission considers that the law violates the rules of the internal market, the fundamental rights of individuals (in particular LGBTIQ people) as well as – with regard to these fundamental rights – the values ​​of the EU,” the statement said.

It was the latest installment in a long political battle in which Brussels sees Prime Minister Viktor Orbán as deliberately moving away from the cornerstones of Western democracy while Hungary portrays the European Commission as overly interfering in the domestic politics and imposing moral standards that she considers far too liberal.

Last year, Hungary’s ruling party banned the portrayal of homosexuality or gender reassignment in media targeting minors under the age of 18. Information on homosexuality was also prohibited in school sex education programs, or in films and advertisements accessible to minors.

The ruling Fidesz party argued that the measures were aimed at protecting children from paedophilia. But the law has sparked large protests in the capital, Budapest, and critics, including many international rights organisations, have said the measures serve to stigmatize LGBTQ people and confuse them with paedophiles.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen immediately called the law a “disgrace” and made a point of countering it with legal procedures. Friday’s decision was the final step in the drawn-out process.

“The Commission has decided to take the matter to court because the Hungarian authorities have not sufficiently addressed the Commission’s concerns and have not included any commitment from Hungary to remedy the situation,” said the door. -speaker of the European Commission, Christian Wigand.

At the same time, the commission has long criticized the restriction of media freedoms in the member state and on Friday took Hungary to the European Court of Justice because it believes it has muscled a radio station because it refused to toe the government line.

Commercial station Klubradio, which went off the air more than a year ago, was one of the last radio stations in Hungary to regularly feature opposition politicians and other critical voices on its broadcasts news and debates.

Government critics say the station’s liberal stance led to a discriminatory decision by the country’s media regulator when it refused to renew Klubradio’s broadcasting license.

The station has only broadcast online since losing its radio frequency.

“The Commission (EU) considers that Hungary breaches EU law by applying disproportionate and non-transparent conditions to the renewal of Klubradio’s rights to use radio spectrum,” the EU statement read.


Justin Spike reported from Budapest, Hungary.