Portugal joins the European Commission in action against Hungary over anti-LGBT+ law | European Union

Portugal has decided to join the European Commission in the action brought by the community executive against Hungary for alleged violation of the fundamental values ​​of the European Union (EU), following the adoption of a law considered discriminatory against the LGBT+ community.

A government source confirmed to Lusa that Portugal decided to join the Commission as part of the process and will send “in the next few days” its reasoned opinion to the EU Court of Justice to support the concerns raised by Brussels in the face of the Hungarian law adopted in 2021 targeting the LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community.

In the appeal filed before the court, the European Commission accuses Budapest of, with this law, violating the directives on electronic commerce, services in the internal market, audiovisual media services, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, as well as Article 2. of the Treaty on European Union, which concerns respect for human rights and non-discrimination.

The same government source justified the Portuguese Government’s decision to join the process because, in particular, alleged violations of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Article 2 of the Treaty on European Unionthis being the first time that an action has been brought against a Member State on suspicion of disrespecting the article of the treaties that stipulates respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.

On June 15, 2021, Hungary approved a law prohibiting the “promotion” of homosexuality among minors under 18, which triggered the concern of human rights defenders and led a few days later to 13 EU countries to urge the European Commission to “use all the instruments at their disposal to guarantee full respect for European law”, stressing that “the stigmatization of LGBTQI people constitutes a manifest violation of their fundamental right to dignity, as enshrined in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and in the International”.

On 15 July 2021, the Commission – whose president, Ursula von der Leyen, called the legislation “a disgrace” – opened an infringement procedure against Hungary, and in view of Budapest’s responses, which it found unsatisfactory, decided in 19 December last to refer the process to the Court of Justice, and any Member State that so wishes may associate itself with this process until the end of the current month of March.

Despite the letter signed by 13 Member States in 2021 – at the time Portugal did not take a formal position on its “duty of neutrality” given that it held the six-monthly rotating presidency of the EU Council at the time –, so far only Belgium and Luxembourg had announced that would join the European Commission as parties to the process.

Several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) defending the rights of the LGBT community asked Member States to join the Commission’s action.

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