Prime Minister Robert Abela has explained that Malta’s policy with regards to a controversial new Hungarian law banning the use of LGBT+ content at schools is to be critical, but not confrontational.
“Hungary changed three laws which basically conflated paedophilia and gay issues, which is unacceptable for me, particularly since Malta is a civil liberties champion,” Abela said on ONE yesterday.
However, he confirmed that Malta took an active decision not to lend its name to a statement by 17 EU member states which harshly criticised Hungary’s decision as a “flagrant form of discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression” and one which is in flagrant breach of EU and international law.
Malta did sign another letter expressing its political commitment to fighting against LGBT+ discrimination, which didn’t mention Hungary by name.
“We told the European Council that we don’t believe in confrontation between leaders,” Abela said yesterday.
“However, we sent a strong stance the while we believe in dialogue over confrontation, we consider Hungary’s behaviour as unacceptable because we can never subscribe to what they did. At the same time, we’re pushing the theme of dialogue over confrontation.”
Hungary’s law bans the “display and promotion of homosexuality” among under-18s, including banning homosexuality and sex reassignment content in school education material and TV programmes aimed at under-18s.
It has been widely criticised across the continent, with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte going so far as to call for Hungary’s expulsion from the EU.
Malta’s LGBT+ consultative council has also urged the government to condemn the law, describing it as “discriminatory”.
“We therefore welcome the European |Commission’s investigation into Hungary’s potential non-compliance with European values and await the outcome,” they said last week.
“We also call on the Maltese Government to expressly condemn the actions of the Hungarian Government and to ensure the upholding of LGBTIQ equality in all areas of EU law and policy in its dealings with the Hungarian State.”
Cover photo: Left: Prime Minister Robert Abela, Right: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (Photo: EU2017EE Estonian Presidency)