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With LGBT law ‘Hungary has no place in the EU’: Dutch PM

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Thursday that Hungary should not be part of the EU because of its new law banning LGBT content in schools.

“For me, Hungary has no place in the EU anymore,” Rutte told journalists just before attending an EU summit in Brussels alongside his Hungarian counterpart.

“But I’m not the only one to decide this: there are 26 other (EU countries). This has to be done step by step,” he said.

Controversy over the Hungarian law, adopted last week, threatened to overshadow the first day of the two-day summit, which was meant to focus on geopolitical issues such as fraught ties with Russia.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said as he went into the summit that his EU counterparts misunderstood the law.

“This is not against homosexuality… It’s about the right of the kids and the parents,” he said.

The Netherlands is one of 17 countries that signed a declaration this week raising “grave concerns” over the Hungarian law, and a subsequent letter on Thursday deploring any threats to “the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation”.

Despite his scathing remarks on excluding Hungary from the EU, there is no provision in the European Union treaties to boot out a member state.

There exists only the possibilities of an infringement procedure whereby the European Court of Justice can impose penalties, or an article of the EU treaty that theoretically could lead to the loss of rights in the bloc.

That second option requires unanimity from the other EU member states. But Hungary and Poland — both of which are already targets of infringement procedures for other policies deemed to undercut democratic values — have a pact mutually shielding them from such a manoeuvre.

Rutte said nevertheless “the long-term aim is to bring Hungary to its knees on this point (on the new law)”.

“They must realise that they are either part of the European Union and this community of values, which means that in Hungary… no one can be discriminated against and (everyone) can feel free on grounds of sexuality, skin colour, gender whatever,” he said.