Saturday

24th Jul 2021

Open letter from 30 embassies ahead of Budapest Pride

The open letter is from the embassies of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, US.

News in Brief

  1. Macron changes phone after Pegasus spyware revelations
  2. Italy to impose 'vaccinated-only' entry on indoor entertainment
  3. EU 'will not renegotiate' Irish protocol
  4. Brussels migrants end hunger strike
  5. Elderly EU nationals in UK-status limbo after missed deadline
  6. WHO: 11bn doses needed to reach global vaccination target
  7. EU to share 200m Covid vaccine doses by end of 2021
  8. Spain ends outdoor mask-wearing despite surge

Column

The Polish government wants EU money - but not EU law

The concern of Germany's Constitutional Court was that the European Court of Justice did not sufficiently check the action of other EU branches of power. The Polish situation is the exact reverse: the government is taking control of the courts.

Hungary's recovery ratification on hold, amid anti-LGBTIQ row

The EU Commission and most MEPs have called on Hungary on Wednesday (7 July) to repeal discriminatory new laws against LGBTIQ people or face legal consequences. Meanwhile, the commission is assessing Budapest's Covid-19 pandemic recovery plan.

Slovenia risks court over EU anti-graft office

Slovenian foot-dragging on the appointment of prosecutors to a new EU anti-graft office may trigger a decision by the European Commission to take it to court. Slovenia's prime minister Janez Janša said they would be appointed by autumn.

EU rule-of-law report slams Poland and Hungary

The rule-of-law report comes in a crucial moment as Brussels is currently approving member states' recovery plans, conditional on having a robust justice system and anti-corruption framework.

EU condemns 'Pegasus' spyware use on journalists

An international investigation over the weekend by 17 media organisations, led by the Paris-based non-profit journalism group Forbidden Stories, said 180 journalists had been targeted by Israeli spyware. Among them were Hungarian reporters.

Far left and right MEPs less critical of China and Russia

MEPs have shown consistent support for action against authoritarian regimes other than Russia or China, but unanimity requirements in the votes of the European Council are considered a clear impediment for a more effective EU foreign policy.

Orbán counters EU by calling referendum on anti-LGBTI law

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán has announced a referendum on his country's controversial new anti-LGBTIQ law - in response to criticism from the European Union which called the new legislation discriminatory.

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Opinion

Who are right-wing forces that attacked Georgia's LGBTIQ+ ?

Just weeks before Tbilisi Pride, the ultra-conservative Georgian activist, Levan Vasadze, who is affiliated with the group that organised the counter-protests, held a press conference at the Tbilisi Marriott Hotel.

Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, 'join Schengen' call by EU Parliament

The request was included in the European Parliament's annual report on the functioning of the Schengen area, and received overwhelming support from MEPs, with 505 votes for, 134 against, and 54 abstentions. The EU Commission has made a similar request.

Croatian and Slovak courts seen as 'least independent'

Independence of courts in Austria, in Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherland and Denmark is seen as very, or fairly, good, according to a survey published with the EU Commission's annual justice scoreboard.

Opinion

How Slovenia is undermining EU's environmental ambitions

Thee international community needs to act to prevent the environmental destruction being orchestrated by Slovenia's populist prime minister, Janez Janša - especially now his country has the EU's rotating presidency.

Exclusive

Hungarian judge claims she was pushed out for political reasons

After she questioned if Viktor Orbán government's restrictive asylum rules were compatible with EU rules, judge Gabriella Szabó was not given an indefinite mandate. She thinks it is because her request went against the government's interests.

Italy's Five Star Movement on brink of collapse

The Five Star Movment crisis has arisen from the clash between comedian Beppe Grillo, co-founder of the party, and presumed saviour Giuseppe Conte. Grillo, accuses Conte of a power-grab, while Grillo is criticised for acting like an "authoritarian father."

Opinion

Spain's Court of Auditors vs Catalan independence

Only days after what some considered to be a detente between the Spanish government and pro-independence Catalans, ex-Catalan politicians and their associates tied to the independence movement have been charged millions of euros for the misuse of public funds.

Opinion

Pro-Europeans also culpable for new far-right alliance

Two years on from the European Parliament elections, in which the populist rightwing failed to deliver the earthquake some predicted, the parliament will likely soon become the home of a new Frankenstein far-right alliance of illiberal populists.

Public spat with Brussels mars start of Slovenian presidency

A rift between Brussels and Ljubljana marred the start of the Slovenian presidency of the EU Council - with host prime minister Janez Janša publicly rebuking Brussels that "smaller countries in the EU are treated as second-class".

Slovenia takes over EU presidency amid wave of criticism

Slovenia formally assumed the six-month rotating presidency of the European Council on Thursday (1 July) - amid criticism against its right-wing prime minister Janez Janša for allegadly undermining the rule of law and democratic values in the EU.

Podcast

Eurocrats who look like Europe

There is a double standard at the heart of the European Commission. Women — mostly white women — benefit from affirmative action when applying for jobs. But people of colour seeking advancement do not benefit from special consideration.

EU's Roma feel betrayed by silence on Czech killing

Roma community members have called on EU leaders to speak out against the brutal death of Romani man Stanislav Tomáš in the Czech Republic last month, with parallels drawn to the killing of George Floyd in the US.

Turkey formally exits treaty against gender violence

EU states Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovakia have not ratified the Istanbul Convention on women's rights, while Poland is on course to follow Turkey out of the accord.

Column

Orbán versus the Zoomers

'Zoomers' are young Europeans, born between roughly 1995 and 2005. Most are highly-educated, grew up with multiple crises, and a strong belief that the state (not markets) must intervene. Zoomers are hyper-individualistic, and allergic to injustice.

Opinion

The Nordics unite to support the Council of Europe and ECHR

The foreign ministers of the five Nordic nations – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – express deep concern that Europe's common core principles of human rights, democracy and the rule of law are increasingly contested.

Opinion

Big corporations' fresh lobbying push for a new EU legal regime

Under the influence of another intense lobby campaign, EU civil servants are drafting policy options which would grant big business new legal privileges, a push that would enable industry to bypass national courts when settling disputes with EU member states.