Slovenian presidency, rule of law and LGBT rights to top EU Parliament agenda next week

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The rights of LGBTIQ people in Hungary, the Slovenian presidency’s priorities and rule of law are some of the hot topics on Parliament’s agenda during the 5-8 July plenary session.

MEPs will assess the risk of discrimination faced by Hungary’s LGBTIQ community and will ask the Commission what action it intends to take to support them. The debate follows a vote last month by the Hungarian parliament to ban LGBTIQ content from being featured in school educational materials or TV shows for minors. This debate assumes greater importance at the onset of the Slovenian Council Presidency, with PM Jansa considered as close to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose disagreements with western Europe came to an ill-tempered head at a summit last week over a law that bans schools from using materials seen as promoting homosexuality.

Parliament will also discuss the priorities of the incoming Slovenian presidency of the Council with Prime Minister Janez Janša. The six-month presidency is expected to focus on facilitating the recovery and making the EU more resilient. However, values will take centre stage, with the East-West divide running deep. In a joint press conference between the Slovenian PM and the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the latter insisted that “a presidency has an important role to play on current rule of law files. Because at such a crucial moment as we collectively prepare and finance our recovery, trust is our most valuable asset”.

In a taste of the heated exchanged to be expected over the next months, Green MEP Sergey Lagodinsky described Jansa as a mini-Trump.

Further inflaming the debate, in a letter addressed to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel, MEPs Daniel Freund and Sergey Lagodinsky of the Greens, Stelios Kuloglu (GUE/NGL), Ramona Strugariu (Renew) and Lara Wolters (S&D), and German Franziska Brantner, argued that European values are under pressure in Slovenia. Such argument is expected to be renewed next week with the EU Parliament expected to debate guidelines currently being developed by the Commission on how to apply new rules making payments from the Union’s budget conditional on EU countries’ respect for the rule of law.

Parliament also votes on the EU’s 2021-2027 Internal Security Fund, as well as on investments of €6.1 billion in fisheries and aquaculture. Also on the agenda are the EU’s 2030 environmental priorities and measures to help the aviation industry recover from the pandemic.