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Hungary's Viktor Orban accuses EU of blocking recovery plan over LGBT dispute

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By Euronews  with AFP
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban gave an interview to state media on Friday.
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban gave an interview to state media on Friday.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Darko Bandic

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has accused the European Commission of blocking funds over the country's LGBT policies.

Orban claimed on Friday that the EU had failed to approve Hungary's coronavirus recovery plan because of their disagreements over gay rights.

"The funds are loans that Brussels does not want to give us because of the debate on our LGBT policy," he said in an interview with state media.

The deadline for the European Commission to review Hungary's planned spending was extended until the end of September.

The bloc has said that its refusal to validate recovery plans is not related to LGBT policies, and instead relates to Hungary's insufficient fight against corruption and the lack of independence of the judiciary.

In June, the Hungarian parliament banned the "promotion and portrayal of homosexuality" to citizens under the age of 18. Orban presented the legal amendment as a child protection tool.

But the law generated backlash from Brussels, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen calling it a "disgrace".

Hungary had submitted its investment and reform plan to the EU on 12 May but it has yet to receive its €7.2m in grants.

However, Budapest still raised an unprecedented €4.5 billion on the financial markets on a single day this week.

Orban has assured that Hungary had a solid financial base, and would "defend its sovereignty".

But the Hungarian PM ruled out the idea of leaving the EU, stressing "the importance for Hungary of access to the common market".