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STRASBOURG, France, July 8, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – The President of the European Commission (EC) has warned Hungary that she is prepared to use the power of the EC to penalise the country following the implementation of a law which bans schools from using pro-homosexual materials.

Doubling down on her promise last month to legally challenge Hungary, Ursula von der Leyen, who heads the EC, told the European Parliament that Hungary’s new law “puts homosexuality and gender reassignment on a par with pornography. This law uses the protection of children, to which we are all committed, as an excuse to severely discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation.”

“This law is disgraceful,” she added, sparking rapturous applause from the chamber.

The law in question prohibits the dissemination of material portraying homosexuality, transgenderism, and pornography to children under the age of 18. The legislation also bans such material from being advertised on television and strengthens laws against pedophilia, in part by creating a new sex offenders register. The legislation was passed by an overwhelming majority, 157–1 in favor of the law.

Against this, Von der Leyen said, “If Hungary doesn’t set things right [rescind the law], the commission will use the powers invested in it as the guardian on the treaties. Let’s be clear: we will use these powers on whichever member state impedes European law.”

The EC contends that Hungarian President Viktor Orbán, who leads the highly popular conservative Fidesz party in Hungary’s National Assembly, has breached European Union (EU) law by undermining democracy, “EU values, principles, and law.” Spanish EU lawmaker Garcia Perez blasted the anti-pedophilia law as going “against human rights.”  

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte went a step further, stating his intention to “bring Hungary to its knees” by forcing the country to either accept and implement pro-homosexual laws, or else it should “leave the EU.”

From the beginning of the year, the Commission has been able to make use of a new “conditionality” mechanism to put pressure on members of the bloc to adopt certain laws. In such wise, the EC can withhold funding from a state which does not abide the EU’s standards of “equality.” To this end, a number of EU lawmakers have called for Budapest to be denied COVID recovery funding from the EU if it does not overturn its latest law.

Seventeen EU member states signed onto a letter initiated by Belgium towards the end of June, requesting EU authorities to intervene by penalizing Hungary for its pro-traditional-values law, even calling on the Commission to take Hungary to the European Court of Justice, if necessary. Despite their strong Catholic heritage Ireland, Italy, and Spain joined the statement, as did France and Germany.

The EU passed a resolution earlier Thursday by 459 votes to 147, with 58 abstentions, denouncing the Hungarian law and stating that “LGBTIQ rights are human rights” and formally requesting the EU to use its new powers to strangle Hungary’s budget allocation, with the hope of coercing the nation to submit to the EU.

But Orbán’s Chief of Staff, Gergely Gulyas, confirmed on Wednesday that “Brussels’ efforts to have us allow LGBTQ activists into schools and nursery schools are in vain, we are not willing to do that.”

Orbán posted a message in response to the denunciation, defending the law which comes into effect Thursday, on his public Facebook profile, saying the “European Parliament and the European Commission want that we let LGBTQ activists and organizations into the kindergartens and schools. Hungary does not want that.”

Continuing, the Hungarian premier declared that, in his country, “Brussels bureaucrats have no business at all, no matter what they do we will not let LGBTQ activists among our children.”

Despite a concerted effort to undermine and ridicule Hungary’s anti-pedophilia law among EU states, Orbán has received strong support from Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša, who has just taken over the powerful position of President of the Council of the EU. Alongside the European Parliament, the Council amends and approves EU legislation.

As part of a recent press conference with Von der Leyen, Janša upheld the principle of national sovereignty, stating that national differences “need to be taken into account and respected,” adding that “there’s a clear division between national and European competences.”

“If you now judge a person based on imaginary European values which everyone perceives differently, and dual standards are used, then I think that this is the fastest road to collapse,” Janša said.

Poland too sent a message in support of Hungary’s decision to criminalize pro-homosexual material in schools, with the Minister for Health Przemysław Czarnek telling Polish conservative magazine Sieci that “we should copy these regulations on Polish soil in their entirety!”

In a nationwide poll issued ahead of next year’s general election, Orbán reached out to Hungarians to defend the law as a measure of child protection and to criticize the overreach of the EU: “We central Europeans know what it is like when the state party or the dictatorial system and the power monopoly it operates, want to raise children instead of their parents,” the survey reads.

“We did not allow it to the communists, so we will not allow these self-appointed apostles of liberal democracy to educate the children instead of Hungarian parents either.”

Meanwhile, Orbán has been pushing the COVID-19 vaccine scheme in Hungary, extending the program to 12–16-year-olds in June. The prime minister also promised that those who had taken their first shot of the vaccine, but missed the second, would have all privileges associated with vaccinating stripped from them, and their COVID immunity certificate revoked.