Támogasd Te is küzdelmünket a zöld és igazságos jövőért!

ITCO Press Statement – Trade Secrets Directive hampers prevention of corruption

Today, the Trade Secrets Directive was adopted during the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The highly contested directive harms the protection of whistleblowers and hinders the work of investigative journalists and trade unionists. The ITCO intergroup regrets that the European Commission does not attribute a more prominent role to whistleblowers and investigative journalists in the struggle against corruption.


The public consultation held by the European Commission, clearly indicated that the Trade Secrets Directive lacks public support: citizens trade unions, civil society organizations and SME’s reacted negatively. Although several improvements have been made in comparison to the original proposal, the final proposal still burdens the journalist, the whistleblower or the trade unionist with the obligation to prove that he or she acted in the realm of the (restricted) freedom of expression, for the purpose of the general public interest, or as part of helping workers’ representatives in their legitimate exercise of their representative functions. These strict conditions, combined with a very broad definition of ‘trade secrets’, restrict the possibilities of whistleblowers to be acknowledged and for journalists and unionists to do their work properly.


Consequentially, disclosing information on practices that may not be illegal but are yet undesirable, such as tax avoidance, will become more easily punishable. Dennis de Jong, co-chair of the ITCO intergroup comments: ”One would think that after Luxleaks, the Panama papers and Dieselgate, in which whistleblowers or investigative journalists have played a crucial role in revealing crucial information, the Commission would do anything to stimulate the important role of whistleblowers and investigative journalists. Instead, the Commission subordinates the struggle against corruption to the interests of multinationals. Antoine Deltour, who revealed the Luxleaks scandal, is already facing criminal charges against him, and the directive will undermine his position.


Benedek Javor, ITCO bureau member adds:

“We as Greens wanted to reject the proposal or at least delay the vote until the directive can be packaged with a Whistleblower Protection Directive. Adopting a text that creates a situation where secrecy is the legal norm for companies’ internal information and transparency is the exception is clear proof of the European Commission preference of corporate interest over the public interest, as also shown most recently by the glyphosate authorization.”


(Image source: itcointergroup.eu)

Everyday Roma Heros- exhibition in the European Parliament #EuRomaWeek

We live in a symbiotic way together with the Roma minority even if many people do not even notice that. With our exhibition about our Everyday Roma Heroes we want to show and to prove this symbiosis. They are in our life as journalists, teachers, are nurses and bakers.

Despite constant isolation and the political discourse we should not forget: Roma people make Europe great too!

Heroes give us examples, motivation, strength for overcoming difficulties. As every person in every nation Roma needs Heroes to follow. They need their national Heroes and they need their heroes for their everyday life.

This portray exhibition concieved by the Roma Press Center Hungary in the European Parliament for Roma Week  introduces exceptional Roma people from all around Europe – everyday heroes whom we all can be proud of.

Click below to visit the exhibition organized by the Roma Press Center with several partners from Europe.

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The Russian Presence in Key European Countries’ Energy Market – Conference and study

A joint conference was held in Budapest by Policy Solutions Institute and the Greens of the European Parliament on the 18th of March on the role of Russia on the European energy market.


From among the speakers of the conference, MEP Benedek Jávor named energy dependency the most pressing issue of Europe in conjunction with the migration crisis. In his opinion Russia’s negative influence both on Europe and Hungary partially leaks through the developments of the energy market. This dependency on Russia is present not in the form of gas-dependence, but also of nuclear dependence and through the influence of Russian players among company owners in the energy market.


An additional problem, Mr. Jávor pointed out, is the influence of the Russian secret services on energy market decision-making processes, which poses a national safety threat as well. He urged action to be taken in the form of, for example, gaining intelligence on the existing risks as well as recognizing that the solution reaches beyond the simple diversification of gas supply sources. He also called attention to the need of the strict application of existing EU regulations as well as the establishment of new legal procedures.


Tamás Boros, director of strategy at Policy Solutions (a Hungarian institute for political advice and analysis), introduced the institute’s recent study, made in collaboration with the Greens, on the topic of Russia’s role in the EU energy market and the energy dependency of various Eastern European countries as well as Germany, Austria, Finland and Greece. The study shows that the majority of these countries rely heavily on Russian energy import and Hungary is one of the least independent countries, as its dependency on Russia is determined by its gas, oil and nuclear energy needs. Mr. Boros pointed out, however, that the dependency is mutual, as Russia is dependent on money coming from Europe.


Julia Sokolovicova, adviser for the East-Central European segment of Greencpeace, called attention to the strengthened dependency on Russia in connection with the European projects of Rosatom.


The abovementioned study of Policy Solutions has recently been published and is now available in English by clicking here.