“As we had said, Portugal signed on 1 July, immediately after its presidency ended, the declaration of several member states [of the EU], at this moment there are 19, condemning the law that the Hungarian Parliament approved and which seems to us to be a discriminatory law. What we said, we did it”, stated the Portuguese Minister of State and Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva.
Portugal's Minister of State and Foreign Affairs was speaking at a joint press conference with Archbishop Paul Gallagher, secretary for Relations with the States of the Holy See, with whom he met in Lisbon to analyse bilateral relations and the European and international agenda.
On 22 June, Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs, Ana Paula Zacarias, indicated that Portugal had not initially signed a letter then signed by 13 Member States on LGBTQI rights in Hungary due to the “duty of neutrality” it had as presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU).
The following day, in a note, the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated that the Government would sign on 1 July the declaration condemning the limitations imposed by Hungary on sexual rights.
Also on the same day, Santos Silva considered "unworthy" the Hungarian law that goes against the rights of LGBTQI people, but reiterated that the duty of neutrality must be assumed by the Portuguese presidency of the EU Council.
“The presidency in office is not associated with taking positions by individual countries or groups of individual countries. Not because it has a duty of neutrality in normative matters, [but because] it has a duty of neutrality in institutional matters”, defended Santos Silva in parliament.
Drafted on the initiative of Belgium, the text was signed by a further 12 Member States: the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
On 15 June, Hungary approved a law banning “promotion” of homosexuality to under-18s, which has sparked outrage among human rights defenders while Viktor Orbán's conservative government increases restrictions on the LGBTQI community.
The law was enacted on 23 June by Hungarian President János Áder, who said that the new legislation does not contain any provision determining how a person of legal age should live and does not violate the right to respect for private life.
Áder, one of the founders of Fidesz, the party of the ruling prime minister, ultranationalist Viktor Orbán, also assured that the law does not limit the constitutional rights of adults and expands the obligations in relation to the defense of those under 18 years of age.