'Telling us how to live our lives!' EU row erupts as Hungary blasts 'colonialist' Brussels


    In the debate about the much-criticised Hungarian law against the representation of homosexuality, Prime Minister Viktor Orban compared the EU to colonialists. The EU wanted to dictate which laws can come into force in a country, Mr Orban lamented.

    This was the result of reflexes from the European colonial era, he argued.

    The Hungarian leader has rejected criticism from the EU of a law against the portrayal of homosexuality, saying it was the behaviour of colonisers.

    Mr Orban said: “They want to tell us how to live our lives and how to behave.”

    According to the law passed in June, minors in Hungary are no longer allowed to have access to information about homosexuality, transsexuality and gender reassignment.

    Only depictions of heterosexual lifestyles are permitted in curricula, films and advertisements that are accessible to people under the age of 18.

    Mr Orban’s right-wing government has said the goal is to leave the sex education of minors to parents. The provisions are part of a law against paedophilia.

    Critics consider this discriminatory.

    EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has condemned the law as a disgrace and a violation of the EU’s fundamental values of human dignity, equality and respect for human rights.

    Seventeen EU countries have requested that Hungary be brought before the European Court of Justice because of the law.

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    The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte suggested that Mr Orban should decide whether Hungary wants to adhere to the EU’s fundamental values or leave the Union.

    “This is a colonial approach,” Mr Orban told public radio on Friday.

    “They just give no thought to what they can and cannot say about another nation and the laws of another country.”

    Mr Orban, who faces a parliamentary election next year, has grown increasingly radical on social policy in a self-proclaimed fight to safeguard what he says are Hungary’s traditional Christian values from Western liberalism.

    His government says the law, which comes into force next week, is not aimed at homosexuals but is about protecting children, whose parents should play the main role in educating them about sexuality.

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    Several leading European newspapers have refused to run a paid advertisement signed by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, saying they do not want to give space to a politician they accuse of subverting human rights and press freedom.

    The one-page ad says that Brussels is building a “super-state,” denounces what it calls the “European Empire”, calls for the strengthening of national parliaments and stands up against closer European integration.

    “The European Parliament proved to be a dead-end: it only represents its own ideological and institutional interests. The role of national parliaments needs to be strengthened,” the ad said.

    In response, Herman Grech, editor in chief of The Times of Malta, which did not run the ad, wrote on Thursday that Mr Orban’s government had in effect “declared war on Hungary’s free press.

    They said: “We will not sit idly by as he takes advantage of it elsewhere.”

    Belgian newspaper De Standaard also refused the ad and published its own full-page ad instead, in rainbow colours symbolizing LGBT rights, with the text “Dear Viktor Orban, laws should never distinguish love from love.”

    Karel Verhoeven, editor-in-chief of the paper, called the anti-LGBT law “a blatant violation of human rights.”

    Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter also followed suit and asked for an interview with Orban instead, editor-in-chief Peter Wolodarski wrote on Twitter.

    Two other newspapers in Belgium, La Libre Belgique and De Morgen, also refused to print the ad.

    It was printed by newspapers Le Figaro in France, ABC in Spain, Jyllands-Posten in Denmark and Mlada fronta Dnes in the Czech Republic.

    Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg


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