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Viktor Orbán hits back at European leaders over controversial LGBT law

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By Euronews  with AP
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban leaving an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels last week.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban leaving an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels last week.   -   Copyright  Olivier Matthys/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has accused European leaders of acting like "colonialists" in their criticism of a controversial law on homosexuality.

EU leaders challenged Orbán at a summit in Brussels last week over the law, which is seen as limiting the rights of LGBT people in that Hungary.

The new bill prohibits the "display or promotion" of homosexuality or gender reassignment in television programmes, films, and sexual education programs in schools.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte suggested that the Hungarian leader should either uphold EU values or leave the 27-member bloc.

But speaking on public radio on Friday, Orbán defied calls to repeal the law and hit back at his fellow European Council members.

"They behave like colonialists. They want to dictate what laws should take effect in another country, they want to tell us how to live our lives and how to behave," he said.

Orbán added that criticism of the law was a result of "bad reflexes caused by their European colonialist past".

Hungary's right-wing government -- which faces elections next year -- says the law is necessary to ensure that the sexual education of children under 18 is the sole domain of parents.

But European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen last week called the law "a shame" and sent a letter to Hungary demanding clarification of its impact on fundamental rights.

The heads of 17 EU countries signed a joint letter condemning the legislation, and urged the European Commission to take Hungary to the European Court of Justice over the matter.