To get an illustration of how much the European Commission has become ideologically biased in its dealings with EU member states, one only needs to look at what is happening on the LGBT front, in Poland and Hungary on one hand and in Spain on the other.
Poland and Hungary are both governed by right-wing conservative coalitions whose ideological reference is Christian democracy. (…) Spain, in the meantime, is governed by an openly progressive coalition of the Socialist Party (PSOE) and the Unidas Podemos far-left grouping.
Since the ruling conservatives in Poland and Hungary are social conservatives and not liberal conservatives, their view on the role of the state in the economy does not differ much from that of the progressivists on Spain’s left, in particular Sánchez’s PSOE party. Where they differ very much, however, is in their view of European values and how they define such things as marriage and the right to life. In contrast to Poland and Hungary, Spain has same-sex marriages, and since earlier this year people have been able to change their “gender”, that is, the biological sex they identify with, by a simple declaration. This includes minors, who can now proceed with sex change procedures without parental consent if they are at least 16, and with parental consent if they are younger.
In theory, all this should not have any impact on the European Commission’s attitude towards those three countries, as “the Commission shall promote the general interest of the Union” (Art. 17 (1) of the Treaty on European Union) and as family law is a competence reserved for the Member States.
Nevertheless, in the case of Spain, the absence of a parental consent requirement for access to abortion or sex-change procedures that may have irreversible consequences for one’s body, including permanent infertility, could be questioned by the European Commission, including by taking the issue to the Court of Justice of the European Union, as it can probably be seen as infringing the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, specifically Article 14 (3), which states that “the right of parents to ensure the education and teaching of their children in conformity with their religious, philosophical and pedagogical convictions shall be respected”.
In that regard, in February the vice-chair of the Madrid College of Physicians warned that: “In Spain, in the last year there has been an increase of more than 2,000 percent in the number of demands from minors who say they are trans. The only thing they are offered with this law is affirmative therapy. Treatment is started and professionals are not allowed to do exploratory therapy or make a comprehensive assessment of an adolescent who manifests a deep discomfort, because that would make them liable to fines of €150,000, professional disqualification, and prison sentences.”
This, in turn, could very well be seen as also going against Article 24 of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights (“Children shall have the right to such protection and care as is necessary for their well-being” and “In all actions relating to children, whether taken by public authorities or private institutions, the child’s best interests must be a primary consideration”).
In fact, it is not only the Madrid College of Physicians but the main mental health specialists’ organizations in Spain that have warned against this “Law for Real and Effective Equality of Trans People and for the Guarantee of LGBTI Rights”. These organizations include the Spanish Society of Psychiatry and Mental Health (SEPSM) and the country’s main pediatric psychiatrists’ organization AEPNyA.
It is also worth noting that even before being voted into law, the new regulations that allow children to “change sex” (or “gender”) without parental consent had been strongly criticized, to no effect, by both the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), which is the judiciary’s supervising body, and by the Council of State, the main advisory body to the executive branch.
Despite all this, instead of asking the Spanish government for explanations and considering taking the case to the CJEU, the European Commission has been busy attacking Hungary for its Child Protection Law, which the head of the Spanish lawyers’ association Abogados Cristianos says would actually be much needed in Spain to protect children not only from the social engineering brought about by the Trans Law, but also from LGBT indoctrination and exposure to very crude sexual content where local governments are in the hands of the far left (see The Spanish Experience, a report by the Spanish Foundation of Christian Lawyers).
The law passed in Hungary in June 2021, which the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has called “a shame”, is meant to combat pedophilia and also protect children from forced early sexualization and pornography, while preserving the rights of parents to decide on their education. The promotion of LGBT lifestyles and “gender reassignment” practices is now banned in Hungarian schools and in materials aimed at minors. NGOs wishing to inform minors about these topics have to register with the authorities, and children’s books with stories containing LGBT characters must be sold with a warning for parents on their cover.
On July 15, 2021, the European Commission announced it was starting legal action against Hungary “for violations of fundamental rights of LGBTIQ people” in connection with the new child protection law passed in June. The Commission’s announcement (…) [stated] that “Hungary has failed to explain why the exposure of children to LGBTIQ content as such would be detrimental to their well-being or not in line with the best interests of the child.”
For that matter, the European Commission’s views on the best interests of the child seem to be more in line with those of the Spanish ruling coalition than those of Central Europe’s conservative governments.
Together with its action against Hungary’s child protection law, the European Commission announced it was also taking action against Poland for “the so-called ‘LGBT-ideology free zones’ resolutions adopted by several Polish regions and municipalities.” In her 2020 State of the Union address, the President of the European Commission had said about those resolutions: “So I want to be crystal clear – LGBTQI-free zones are humanity free zones. And they have no place in our Union.”
There did not seem to be any legal basis for that decision. As a matter of fact, the lack of such a basis was later confirmed, in January 2023, when the European Commission quietly dropped the infringement procedure it had been conducting before the CJEU against Poland over the misnamed (by the European Commission itself) “LGBTQI-free zones”.
Although it has now dropped its case at the CJEU, the European Commission has not stopped exerting financial blackmail against those Polish local governments which have not yet repealed resolutions of this kind.
It should also be noted in passing that when lacking legal grounds, the European Commission exerts strong financial pressure on Poland and Hungary (but not on Spain) by withholding the Next Generation EU funds worth tens of billions of euros to impose the ideology of its members instead of promoting the general interest of the Union.