Orban's new laws a distraction from real problems, says MEP

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By Sandor Zsiros
Orban's new laws a distraction from real problems, says MEP
Copyright  Johanna Geron/AP

Viktor Orbán's new laws against opposing political parties and minority groups are a distraction from the country's real problems, according to one MEP.

Sergey Lagodinsky, a German Green politician, described the legislation as designed to "divert the attention" from his own failures.

Hungary's parliament declared a state of emergency on Tuesday due to a second wave of coronavirus infections. 

On the same day, Orbán's government launched a legislative offensive that proposed to change the electoral law to limit the opposition’s ability to participate.

He also proposed to amend the constitution, to include the line: "the mother is female, the father is male”, something MEPs are furious about.

“Every time when the COVID situation gets a bit more sensitive in Hungary, Viktor Orbán starts looking [at] how to subvert his citizens," said Lagodinsky. 

"And he seems to think that it is essential to remove the denomination of transgender from people’s identity documents and right in the middle of the second wave they make sure in the constitution that you can only have Christian genders. 

"These are the kind of things we know that Russia and Turkey use to divert the attention from your own failures."

LGBTIQ groups say the changes are restrictive for them, but the Hungarian government say they are essential to protect families.

In the case of the electoral law amendments, justice minister Judit Varga says they are aimed at fighting supposed fake parties.

But Sophie in 't Veld, a Dutch liberal MEP, says the opposite.

"There are some governments that are very cynically exploiting this pandemic to expand their own authoritarian empires and yes, it’s the usual suspects, it's Hungary and it's Poland. And yes, it's again at the expense of women's' rights and LGBTIQ people's rights."

And this happens to coincide with the European Commission’s first-ever LGBTIQ equality strategy that was presented Thursday, which aims to extend the list of EU crimes to cover hate crime.