On Thursday, Minister of Justice Judit Varga filed a counterclaim in the European Court of Justice in the case of the infringement procedure related to Hungary’s child protection law. The minister insists that recent events have shown that there is indeed a dire need of child protection legislation, and further measures should be taken.
‘Today I filed a counterclaim to the Court of Justice of the European Union over the infringement procedure on Hungary’s Child Protection Act. We continue to stand by our conviction and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union that education is a national competence and that parents have the right to decide on the upbringing of their children. Like before, we will go clear on to the end when it comes to protecting our children,’ Minister Varga said in her latest Facebook post.
According to the minister, recent events have also demonstrated the great need for the child protection act and further measures to be taken.
The Legal Dispute Around the Child Protection Act
The Hungarian Child Protection Act, more precisely Law LXXIX of 2021, has been the subject of a legal dispute between Hungary and the European Union since its adoption. The European Commission initiated infringement proceedings against Hungary over the law in July 2021, arguing that it violated EU law and fundamental rights.
The Child Protection Act includes provisions that have been criticised for allegedly limiting the rights of LGBTQ+ people and violating their freedom of expression. The law bans the portrayal of homosexuality and transgender identity to minors, and it prohibits unapproved sex education in schools. The law has also been attacked for restricting the ability of transgender and intersex individuals to legally change their gender.
Hungary has defended the law as necessary to protect children and families, and the country’s government has been adamant that it will not back down in the face of pressure from the EU. Hungarian officials have argued that education and child protection are national competencies, and that the country has the right to regulate these areas as it sees fit.
The legal dispute over the Hungarian Child Protection Act is ongoing, and it remains to be seen how it will be resolved. The case is being heard by the European Court of Justice, which will ultimately decide whether Hungary has violated EU law and if so, what actions should be taken in response.