Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda has backed Hungary amid fierce criticism from some other EU leaders of the country's controversial anti-LGBTQ+ law.
"Today's discussion [...] deviated from the subject at times, and, to tell the truth, some colleagues tried to comment [on the Hungarian law] without even having familiarised themselves with the text," Nausėda said after the European Council's meeting early on Friday. "I don't think this is right".
"First of all, we should look at what Hungary is seeking to do, what it has done and only then take on the role of a judge," he said. "It was really premature to do that today."
Hungary’s law, titled the Anti-Paedophilia Act, was originally aimed at toughening punishments for child abuse. But its final draft contains amendments that critics say conflate paedophilia with homosexuality.
The law bans the “promotion of homosexuality” to under-18s, and says that only government-approved instructors are allowed to teach sex education in schools.
Before the European Council's meeting, 17 EU leaders signed a letter deploring "threats against fundamental rights and in particular the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation".
Nausėda refused to sign the letter, saying that "problems aren't solved by letters". Instead, the letter was signed Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Arnoldas Pranckevičius.
UN chief Antonio Guterres, who attended the opening of the European Council Summit, also said of the Hungarian law: “No discrimination is acceptable in any circumstances, and any discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people is totally unacceptable in our modern societies.”
According to Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, only Poland and Slovenia – the latter “a little bit” – had offered Hungary support.
With reporting by AFP and EurActiv, partners of LRT English.