EC takes Hungary to court over child protection act

EU

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The European Commission on Friday said it decided to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) over legislation that codifies the right of parents to take charge of their children's sexual education, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

The EC complained that the law "singles out and targets content that 'promotes or portrays' what it refers to as 'divergence from self-identity corresponding to sex at birth, sex change or homosexuality' for individuals under 18" and alleged the legislation violates internal market rules, the fundamental rights of individuals and EU values.

"The protection of children is an absolute priority for the EU and its member states. However, the Hungarian law contains provisions which are not justified on the basis of promoting this fundamental interest or are disproportionate to achieve the stated objective," the EC said.

The EC noted that it had launched an infringement procedure against Hungary on the matter in July 2021 and brought it to the penultimate stage in December.

In a post on Facebook after the EC made the announcement, Justice Minister Judit Varga said the step "came as a surprise" to the government as it had earlier stressed that the EC's "accusations were baseless".

"From the beginning, we stated that ensuring the protection of minors and their unimpeded moral development belongs to the member state's scope of power," she said.

 "Hungary did not surrender its sovereignty when it joined the Union, rather it made possible the joint exercise only of certain powers," she added.

She said that none of those jointly exercised powers may be used to "change values that are integral to national identity" and that EU membership "in no way affects Hungary's right to take decisions on the protection of children, in accordance with national identity and within the national scope of power".

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