The controversy over the new Hungarian law banning LGBTQ in school textbooks may cast a shadow over the EU summit on Thursday and Friday (June 24-25) aimed at focusing on foreign policy issues: against Russia and with Turkey Thorny relationship.
The geopolitical tone of the Brussels meeting is predetermined. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sat there at the beginning of Thursday, having a long working lunch with EU leaders before discussing a series of diplomatic issues. .
But an EU official said that the rapid debate on Hungarian law has become “very important” and is likely to be raised at the work dinner on the first day.
This week, when the European football governing body UEFA rejected a Munich plan to light up its stadium with LGBTQ rainbow colors during the German-Hungarian match on Wednesday, the issue was pushed to the forefront of EU politics.
The city’s response was to decorate many monuments with rainbow colors, including the monument next to the stadium, and French President Emmanuel Macron said that UEFA’s decision is deeply regrettable.
Hungary’s right-wing prime minister Viktor Orbán—who has long been a black hand in Brussels because his social conservative policies are seen as weakening the EU’s democratic norms—will certainly receive a cold welcome at this summit.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called her government’s laws “wrong”, while European Commission President Ursula von der Lein called the legislation “shame”-contrary to the basic values of the EU, her executive officer will Challenge its legal basis.
Von Delane said: “This bill clearly discriminates against people based on their sexual orientation.”
This Hungarian bill is a shame.
It discriminates against people based on their sexual orientation and violates the basic values of the European Union.
We will not compromise.
I will use all legal powers @European Commission Ensure that the rights of all EU citizens are protected. pic.twitter.com/RzWPpue0CD
-Ursula von der Lein (@vonderleyen) June 23, 2021
More than half of the EU countries, including heavyweights such as Germany, France, Italy and Spain, have signed a joint statement expressing “serious concerns” about Hungarian law and calling on the European Commission to take action.
The Speaker of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, sent a letter to the European Commission requesting the immediate activation of a mechanism to pay Hungary funds for COVID recovery from the EU’s common funds, as a condition of upholding the rule of law.
Hungary countered all criticisms of the LGTBQ legislation passed on June 15th, which will soon come into effect.
The Orban government on Wednesday accused von der Lein of making “false accusations” and accused her committee of providing “biased political views” on the issue.
It claims that the law “protects the rights of children” and denies that it is discriminatory.
A senior EU official said: “For Hungary, this is probably the worst (situation). To be honest, I have seen it with my own eyes. But in the past, he (Orban) has also taken a step back from the legislation proposed by the government. So let us hope that this can also be deleted quickly.”
This commotion will be embroiled along with other long brewing issues that EU leaders have been trying to resolve.
One of them is Russia, which is the EU’s vast eastern neighbor and an important energy supplier, but it is also seen as a growing threat.
The head of EU foreign policy, Jose Puborel, warned last week that despite having reached the “minimum level”, EU-Moscow relations appear to get worse.
Leaders will discuss ways to control Russia while engaging with Russia on key issues-but there are differences within the 27 member states.
After U.S. President Joe Biden met with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Germany and France made a last-minute proposal asking each other to consider holding a summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
This move has been opposed by many EU countries, especially Eastern European countries, who are cautious about dialogue with the Kremlin.
Turkey is also on the agenda. The European Commission is making a proposal to provide Ankara with 3.5 billion euros over the next three years as part of a larger support plan of 5.7 billion euros to countries hosting Syrian refugees from the endless civil war.
This additional funding is seen as the main motivation for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s persistent efforts to resolve the long-standing dispute with Greece and stop controversial natural gas exploration in the waters around Cyprus .
According to the previous 2016 agreement, Turkey has so far received 4 billion euros to prevent immigrants from entering the European Union through Greece and Bulgaria. This is the key to the European Union’s strategy as it tries to overcome internal differences and reformulates how to handle and accommodate irregular immigrants rule.