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Transparency register – Progress on lobby transparency but many loopholes remain

Today, Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission, presented the proposal for a new Inter-Institutional Agreement between the European Commission, European Parliament and the European Council, relating to the transparency register for lobbyists. Rapporteur for the Transparency Report of the European Parliament (1) and Greens/EFA finance and economic spokesman Sven Giegold commented:


“The European Commission’s proposals are an important step towards greater lobby transparency in the European Union. It is right that the European Parliament and the Council presidencies should make their contact with lobbyists transparent. Lobby transparency would make a crucial contribution to strengthening the confidence of citizens in the European Institutions. The conservatives of EPP and liberals of ALDE must drop their resistance in the European Parliament and allow the measures to proceed.


“However, the Commission’s proposals stop halfway. Only Commissioners and Director Generals are currently included, while lobbying of other senior staff and heads of units in the EU agencies would remain in the dark. Lobby transparency will remain empty words for the permanent representations of the member states in Brussels, not to speak of the governments in their capitals. Unfortunately, the proposal also lacks a legislative footprint, which would make transparent for any new EU legislation which lobbyists have lobbied which MEPs, Member States and Commission. We need the rules to be extended and a legislative footprint to make the transparency register as comprehensive as possible.”


Green transparency spokesperson Benedek Javor added:


“The Greens/EFA group has already taken important measures towards greater transparency through our Lobbycal project, free software that makes meetings with lobbyists transparent, including information about the subjects discussed. Many Members of our group use it already and I would encourage others to follow this example. By taking steps towards greater transparency in our work, we can help foster greater trust in politicians at a time when it is at a low. The European Council is of particular concern as it is currently the least transparent of the three institutions: we hope the Member States will step up to the challenge and deliver the transparency and accountability that citizens expect, and deserve.”


(1)  The report sets out proposals for greater lobbying transparency and stricter rules on the integrity of Members of the European Parliament. Under pressure from the conservatives in the European Parliament, the vote has been postponed.



Additional information:


The proposal of the European Commission:  http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/1/2016/EN/1-2016-627-EN-F1-1.PDF

And the corresponding annex: http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/1/2016/EN/1-2016-627-EN-F1-1-ANNEX-1.PDF

Memo by Commission explaining their proposal: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-16-3181_en.htm

Sven Giegold’s draft report on transparency, accountability and integrity: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+COMPARL+PE-567.666+01+DOC+WORD+V0//EN&language=EN

Blockade by Conservatives against the voting of the transparency report in Parliament: http://www.sven-giegold.de/2016/conservatives-blocking-lobby-transparency-and-moves-to-sanction-conflicts-of-interest-in-the-european-parliament/

Video: The Future of Europe – The Europe of the Future?


Benedek Jávor, Greens/EFA MEP, Dialogue for Hungary Party, Hungary

Zoltán Pogátsa, University of Western Hungary, DiEM25 initiator, Hungary

Gábor Scheiring, chairman of Progressive Hungary Foundation, Hungary




Opening panel – Europe as a global actor

Key issues of the panel: Europe’s role on the global scene, refugee crisis, international development, unfair trade regimes, TTIP.

Lorenzo Marsili, co-initiator DiEM25, director of European Alternatives, Italy

Alena Krempaska, Human Rights Institute, Slovakia

Edouard Gaudot, Political Advisor of Greens/EFA in the European Parliament and Author of L’Europe c’est Nous

Dr. Bourgla Ossamah, Syrian GP, local councillor, Hungary Magyarország


New Member States’ perspective

Key issues of the panel: failure of integration, inefficient cohesion policy, antidemocratic trends as a consequence

Marta Tycner, Razem Party, Poland

Gábor Scheiring, chairman of Progressive Hungary Foundation, Hungary

Jakub Patocka, editor, Denik Referendum, Czechia

Irmi Salzer, Greens Burgenland, Austria


Speeches: The way out of the crisis?

Philippe Lamberts, co-chair of Greens/EFA, Belgium

Yanis Varoufakis, founder of DiEM25, former minister of finance, Greece


Session III. – Social Europe

Key issues of the panel: monetary vs. social union, basic income, financial transfers, right to housing

Zoltán Pogátsa, University of Western Hungary, DiEM25 initiator, Hungary

Philippe Lamberts, co-chair of Greens/EFA, Belgium

Florentin Iancu, Trade Unionist, Romania


 Session IV: Sustainable Europe

Key issues of the panel: how to make Europe sustainable against corporate interest and MS’s resistance, COP21.

Florent Marcellesi, spokesperson of EQUO in the European Parliament, Spain

Benedek Jávor, Greens/EFA MEP, Dialogue for Hungary Party, Hungary

Stephanie Roth, “Save Rosia Montana!” movement, Romania



Session V: Where are we and were to go? Reasons and solutions

Philippe Lamberts, co-chair of Greens/EFA, Belgium

Yanis Varoufakis, founder of DiEM25, former minister of finance, Greece

GM Tamás, philosopher, Hungary

Adam Ostolski, Polish Greeen Party, Poland

17:45 -18:00 Closing

Benedek Jávor, Greens/EFA MEP, Dialogue for Hungary, Hungary

Zoltán Pogátsa, University of Western Hungary, DiEM25 initiator, Hungary

 BONUS track: The future of Hungary and the Progressives- roundtable talk of Progressive Hungary Foundation

Réka Kinga Papp, journalist, essayist

Tímea Szabó, co-chair of Dialogue for Hungary Party, MP

Márton Gulyás, activist

Zoltán Ceglédi, political analyst

Péter Konok, historian

The Future of Europe – The Europe of the Future international conference in Budapest

The European Greens, the DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe Movement) and the Progressive Hungary Foundation has organised a one-day-long conference in Budapest at the A38 ship on 19 September 2016.

Benedek Jávor and more than twenty other speakers came to take part in five international and one Hungarian round table talks. 250 people attended the venue in Budapest and several hundred people followed it on our live stream.

European progressive and green politicians, thinkers and leaders came to the conference, among others Yanis Varoufakis previous Greek minister of finance, the initiator of DiEM25, Philippe Lamberts co-chair of European Greens or Zoltán Pogátsa Hungarian DiEm25 initiator, economist. This was the first international public conference when European Greens and DiEM25 leaders discussed various issues. There were diverging views in certain topics, but the commitment for rethinking the foundations of European integration was the same.

Benedek Jávor in his opening speech emphasised the EU has torn away from its citizens, but the nation state can no longer mitigate the consequences of the mistakes made at EU level. The real conflict is not between the EU and the nation states but “between the policies that serve the interests of and are accountable to the community, and the policies implemented by the corrupt elites and conducted against the interests of the community, both at EU and national level.”


The Future of Europe – Conference Live Stream

(The conference will take place on Monday, 19th of September)

Below you can find the live streaming of our conference titled “The Future of Europe – The Europe of the Future”.

The event is broadcast in two languages at once. In order to choose your preferred language the easiest way is to use headphones. Once you plug your headphones into your device you will hear the recording in two languages, one on each side. Either take out or switch off the side that is not the preferred language.

In case you do not have headphones, you will have to set the ‘Balance’ function on either the loudspeakers by turning the “balance” button left or right, or in the settings of your computer. If you are using Windows 7, 8 or 10, you can change the balance settings by clicking on Start -> Control Panel, where you will find the ‘Hardware and Sound’ settings. In the dialogue box that appears, click on the ‘Sound’ tab. Under the ‘Properties’ option you will find ‘Speakers properties’ where the ‘Levels’ tab will offer you the ‘Balance’ settings. Here you can adjust the volume of individual speakers by moving the sliders of left or right.

If you are using Mac OS you can set the balance by clicking System Preferences -> Sound -> Output and shift the slider of the ‘Balance’ section left or right.

You will hear the broadcast in English on the left side.

A Vintage train for Orbán’s hometown – Benedek Jávor demands investigation

A ”tourist attraction” vintage railway was built in Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s hometown of Felcsút, at a cost of €2 million for 30 passengers per day.



Benedek Jávor has turned to OLAF [European Anti-Fraud Office] as well as the European Commission’s Regional Directorate to investigate the matter of the unused Felcsút small-gauge railway. 80% of the €2 million was covered by EU funds, and according to Benedek Jávor, this investment does not serve the interests of Hungarian taxpayers or the EU.

This hobby project of the Prime Minister travels between Vikor Orbán’s hometown of Felcsút (a town with 1,700 inhabitants, and the location of the 3,500-seat Puskás football stadium) and Alcsút, a small neighbouring village. The train is said to go from nowhere to nowhere.

The early application submitted for EU funds suggested that 2,500-7,000 passengers would use the line daily. As Mr. Benedek Jávor told the Telegraph: “The Hungarian government intentionally reported false data, as it was crystal clear even at the time of submitting the application that the estimated numbers are totally absurd and unrealistic. This is cheating and fraud which should be investigated by EU bodies.” Benedek Jávor asked for the documentations of original applications, which were not initially provided.

Later, Hungarian state secretary, Nándor Csepreghy, provided documents that 27 to 28 passengers would use the train line daily. If this is the original documentation, then, it is still unclear how it was possible to finance such a project. Benedek Jávor has asked various ministries to provide information on the expected pay-off time of the project. He has not received concrete answers yet.

Benedek Jávor calls for stronger protection of whistleblowers

Following the regrettable decision of a Luxembourg court, the protection of whistleblowers was debated on the plenary session of the European Parliament on 6 July in Strasbourg. Benedek Jávor in his speech (attended by representatives of the Council and Vice-President of the Commission Jyrki Katainen) claimed that current system is simply not enough to protect whistle-blowers; in fact, verdict such as in the case of LuxLeaks intimidate whistleblowers. The Commission needs to take steps for an effective EU-wide protecting system. People releasing information on illegal activities can face criminal charges.

Here you can watch the speeches of four Greens/EFA MEPs from the plenary debate.


Greens/EFA members believe that it is now a matter of emergency and it is crucial to act, as the recent scandals such as LuxLeaks or Panama Papers prove that whistlerblowers play an essential role in defending public interest. Since Commission has not taken any action so far, Greens/EFA MEPs have already prepared their own proposal for a new directive on protecting people providing information about corruption, tax avoidance and other cases. The existing provisions are scattered across different laws. Member States regulate protection at various levels, some Member States having regulated some level of protection in anti-corruption laws, others in public service laws, and again others in labour, criminal and sector-specific law, others do not have any legal protection. The gaps in regulations are not efficient and harm the public interest.



Benedek Jávor installed solar panels- “Bringing the light” workshop

The Green Workshop Foundation together with the Romaversitas Foundation organised a three-day workshop in the town of Bicske. We have prepared a cheap lighting solution with a solar panel and small batteries and LED lights. We also taught the various steps of the installation for the locals. On the last day we installed electricity for the Járóka family’s house. Benedek Jávor took part in the work as well. Two boys from the family, Patrik (17) and Marci (10) worked very well, and after we left they continued installing electricity in the other rooms.


Photos Járdány Bence