The Belgian MEP blasted the EU Fee and the present EU presidency, held by Slovenia, over their failure to take punishing measures in opposition to Hungary. Mr Verhofstadt appeared visibly pissed off as MEPs debated Mr Orban’s newest controversial anti-LGBT+ legislation.
He blasted: “I have followed this debate from this morning and I am stunned.
“And I say that to the Slovenian presidency.
“After three years: closing a university, closing a radio like Klubradio, going after judges.
“After three years the one factor you possibly can say right here is ‘Oh we received a debate and it was an fascinating debate, and we did not apply Article 7, paragraph 1, as a result of there was Covid. We had no time to do it’.
“I find this a shame.
“When are you going to take the one choice that you have to take, that’s to request from Hungary to repeal the LGBT legislation that has been voted.
“That is what you have to decide!
“And no, Commissioners, it’s not adequate to carry it on the agenda.
“There needs to be a decision. Article 7 has been launched by this Parliament three years ago.
“And it is a disgrace that after three years the one factor you come to inform us is ‘Oh, we need to come again afterward it’.”
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“No problem was as essential because the one which impinges on our values and our identification.”
The Commission President said Hungary would face the full force of EU law if it did not back down, although she did not give details.
Such steps could mean a ruling by the European Court of Justice and the freezing of EU funds for Budapest, EU lawmakers say.
Mr Orban, who has been Hungary’s prime minister since 2010 and faces an election next year, has become more conservative and combative in promoting what he says are traditional Catholic values under pressure from the liberal West.
The Spanish government last month approved the draft of a bill to allow anyone over the age of 14 to change gender legally without a medical diagnosis or hormone therapy, the first large EU country to do so, in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights.
French President Emmanuel Macron has called the split over values between eastern countries such as Hungary, Poland and Slovenia as a “cultural battle”.