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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

05.01.11.: France blasts Hungarian media law - 0 views

  • France said yesterday (4 January) that a new media law passed by Hungary, which took up the EU's rotating presidency on 1 January, violated EU laws on press freedom, and called on other members of the bloc to take action against it.
  • In France, the law has drawn criticism from across the political spectrum, with the main opposition Socialist Party labelling it "a very bad sign for Europe and for the liberty of the press". The controversy over the media law has contributed to a growing cloud over Hungary's EU presidency. Budapest and Brussels have clashed several times since Prime Minister Viktor Orban rejected austerity measures, cut ties with the International Monetary Fund and opted for unorthodox fiscal steps to cut the budget deficit and boost economic growth. The European Commission announced on Monday that it was investigating the legality of crisis taxes imposed by Hungary's centre-right government on the telecoms, retail and energy sectors.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

01.01.11: Hungary's Democratic Credentials In Doubt As It Assumes EU Presidency - 0 views

  • Just over 50 years ago, Hungary fought back against a bloody invasion by the Soviet Army. Just over 20 years ago, it hastened the fall of the Berlin Wall, granting East German refugees free passage to West Germany.Now, Hungary marks another achievement in its transformation from a communist satellite to democratic republic as it assumes the presidency of the European Union on January 1, for the first time since joining the bloc in 2004. Speaking recently in Budapest following a meeting with EU officials, Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban, said a key priority for his country's presidency would be enlargement, which he said had given countries like his own the motivation to get their domestic affairs in order."We would like to return the impetus for EU enlargement," Orban said. "Enlargement will help solve the internal affairs [of new members], because those who enlarge, grow, and extend themselves believe in their future prospects. And what the European Union really needs today is to believe strongly in its own prospects."
  • But many in the EU are worried the "special flavor" that Hungary brings to the EU Presidency will come with a bitter aftertaste. Van Rompuy's words of support came as the Hungarian parliament was passing new media legislation that critics say will return the country to communist-era levels of state control.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

31.12.10: Hungary Risks Image at EU Helm as Orban Increases Power Over Courts, Media - ... - 0 views

  • The European Union’s charter calls for respect for the rule of law, human rights, economic progress and media freedom. Some in Brussels are wondering whether Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose country takes over the rotating EU presidency on Jan. 1, has read it. In the seven months since Orban came to power with a two- thirds parliamentary majority, he has implemented retroactive taxes in violation of the constitution, curbed the Constitutional Court’s power, effectively nationalized private pension funds and put ruling-party allies in charge of at least four independent institutions, including the audit office.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

Hungary outlines EU presidency priorities (SETimes.com) - 0 views

  • Hungary, which is due to replace Belgium at the EU helm on January 1st, has said that further consolidation and enlargement of the 27-nation bloc will be among the key priorities of its six-month chairmanship of the Union.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

25.11.10: Tough problems for the Hungarian presidency - 0 views

  • The incoming Hungarian presidency of the European Union is bracing itself for an unexpectedly difficult six months (Jan-June 2011) at the helm, likely to test the diplomatic skills of the presidency first-timers to the full. The ongoing fight to shore up eurozone stability, together with calls for EU treaty change and acrimonious EU budget talks are among the prickly issues on the packed agenda, with Turkish accession talks and the Roma ethnic question also potential flashpoints.
  • Some EU and member state officials have been alarmed at what they perceive as a concentration of power under Herman Van Rompuy, the bloc's first president of the European Council, the body representing EU leaders. "Mr Van Rompuy has taken on a number of issues that should instead be run by the rotating presidency, helped by the current political limbo surrounding the Belgian government," one Polish official said earlier this month.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

16.11.10: Hungarian Presidency eyes Schengen and EU enlargement - 0 views

  • Bulgaria and Romania's accession to the Schengen area and Croatia membership of the European Union are among the top priorities of the incoming Hungarian EU Presidency, government officials told EurActiv in Budapest ahead of the executive's official visit to the European Commission on Wednesday (17 November).
  • Hungary will assume the EU presidency for their first time in January 2011. Budapest is keen to do well, especially on EU enlargement, which could impact upon the sizeable Hungarian minorities who live beyond national borders.
  • The enlargement of the Schengen area to include Romania and Bulgaria is on top of the presidency's agenda. However, the admission date of March 2011 "is likely to be delayed," admitted a Hungarian government official. Nevertheless, the presidency will work to help facilitate the accession of both Southern Balkan countries to the area of free movement of citizens within the EU.
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