Támogasd Te is küzdelmünket a zöld és igazságos jövőért!

Can the EU do more for a healthy media sector?

On 23rd January we organised a conference together with Fondation Euractiv about the media sector. What can the EU do to support independent journalists? What is a role of the media sector in a democracy? Can we do more to help the innovation of the media?

Healthy democracies need a healthy media sector. Yet, faced with multiple attacks and challenges, notably technological and financial, the sector needs a coordinated response. This conference gathered 80+ participants from EU Digital and Media sector. Media independence for quality debates: This first exchange was focused on media independence and freedom of the press in Europe, moderated by Stephen Boucher, with MEP and Benedek Jávor (Greens/EFA), RSF, and other high-level speakers from the media, foundations and NGOs. Keynote speech: Digital Commissioner Mariya Gabriel What can the EU do for the media sector’s sustainability: This second panel was moderated by Christophe Leclercq and bring together key MEPs, notably Maria Joao Rodrigues (S&D), academics, industry representatives, foundations and NGOs.

Roma Week 2018: Video

During the week of International Roma Day, marked on 8 April, the European Parliament hosts Roma Week. This year’s Roma Week continued to build on a report that the European Parliament adopted in October 2017: “Fundamental rights aspects in Roma integration in the EU: Fighting Anti-Gypsyism.”

MEP Benedek Jávor discusses the aims of the week in this video


In a press release, MEP Benedek Jávor stated:

In spite of a lot of efforts, number of documents and money spent from EU sources, exclusion is still everyday reality for most of our Roma fellow-citizens throughout the EU. In some Member States we are simply not effective enough with our integration projects, in some others governments bring back shadows of the past declaring that integration is not possible. But we cannot give up our vision of a just, equal and inclusive Europe, based on fundamental rights and values. Together with Roma communities, activists and civil society we have to continue our work to make this dream come true. With the Roma Week we aim to celebrate together Roma culture as an important part of our colourful Europe, but also to point out the problems and shortcomings we have, to find better and better solutions.”


For the conference, MEP Benedek Jávor invited Thorsten Afflerbach, Head of Division for the Roma and Travellers Team, who addressed the participants of the event “From Quality Education to Decent Employment“.  In the Panel “Access to Decent Employment“ he presented the recommendations on facilitating the transiting from education to employment for the Roma youth.


Additional aims for the weeks conference are outlined in the agenda.

1. Recognition of anti-Gypsyism: An opportunity for experts and activists on the issue to advocate European and national policymakers to strengthen the recognition of anti-Gypsyism as well as develop strategic and coherent responses.

2. Advocacy for specific thematic areas: Such as Roma Framework and its renewal post 2020.

3. Networking and knowledge exchange: To facilitate exchange, build capacity of activists, and inspire similar activities in Member States.


Source: https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/roma/-/asset_publisher/GYHQssTIzR6h/content/council-of-europe-contributes-to-eu-roma-week-2018?inheritRedirect=false
Source: https://feministinitiative.eu/2018/04/04/the-third-eu-roma-week-will-take-place-in-brussels-starting-on-8th-of-april-international-roma-day/



MEPs Go to Court in Bid to Reform EFSA

Green MEPs have lodged a complaint to denounce the lack of transparency in EFSA’s assessment of glyphosate. They hope to change the internal rules of the agency to boost transparency and limit lobby influence.

“Secret science is bad for your health,” said Michèle Rivasi, a French Green MEP. Together with three of her colleagues, she is campaigning for more transparency within the EU’s scientific agencies.

On 24 May, Heidi Hautala (Finland), Benedek Jávor (Hungary), Michèle Rivasi (France) et Bart Staes (Belgium) lodged a complaint against the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for not releasing the studies upon which it based its assessment of glyphosate.

In 2016, the agency deemed that this controversial pesticide posed no threat to consumers. Just the previous year, however, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) had judged the substance “probably carcinogenic”.

Since then, the European agency has refused to release most of the studies behind its opinion, arguing that they come from the industry and are thus protected as trade secrets.

Scientific controversy

“But without this crucial data, independent experts cannot check the validity of EFSA’s conclusions. This has been underlined by the toxicologist Christopher Portier in his letter to Jean-Claude Juncker”, said Rivasi, who is a biologist.

The shreds of information the Greens did manage to obtain by piecing together redacted data and missing documents are, however, enough for the toxicologist to conclude that the assessment carried out by EFSA did not consider important elements that could prove glyphosate’s carcinogenicity.

“It is essential to modify the internal regulations of the European agencies so they can only use publicly available studies, just as the IARC does,” Rivasi added. “The Monsanto Papers scandal shows us yet again the necessity of putting an end to the interference of the agrochemical industries in public health policies.”

EFSA sitting on the fence

If the agencies could only use publicly available studies for their opinions, the “multinational corporations that hide behind trade secrets” would not have so much influence over legislation, the French MEP explained.

In practice, internal regulations can be changed on the initiative of the commissioner responsible for them. In this case, it would be Vytenis Andriukaitis. “We have already succeeded in having the regulations changed, we will keep up the pressure,” Benedek Jávor insisted.

Yet, the publication of information concerning emissions of chemicals into the environment is supposedly guaranteed by the Aarhus Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters, as well as by several past court judgements.

Towards a reformed agriculture

Of course, the agrochemical industry and traditional farmers claim it is impossible to farm without glyphosate. But a number of studies, as well as the proven success of alternative practices, such as organic agriculture, contradict this claim. “They always say it’s impossible, we should not believe it. That’s what they said about asbestos,” said Bart Staes.

“We do not need to find new chemicals, we need to change the way we cultivate,” Jávor added.

Solutions exist, even for the agri-food sector, Rivasi promised. And those solutions do not imply any necessary decrease in yield and production. Furthermore, added Heidi Hautala, they are usually much better for the environment and the soils.

These solutions do not necessarily mean getting rid of all pesticides. Agroecology is a practice by which farmers try and reduce as much as possible the chemicals and external products they use on their crops.

What this does imply is a progressive end to monocultures and artificial practices such as desiccation. The principle of desiccation involves killing the plant (by spraying glyphosate on it, for example) before harvest. The dying plant then sends all its remaining resources into the grain, which looks bigger when harvested.

The executive director of EFSA himself, Bernhard Url, is not opposed to this notion of reforming agricultural practices.

“It is not so much of a safety question because we only authorise products that do not cause harm, but we are entering a discussion about the acceptability of certain practices. Here we can say that maybe if consumers knew, they would make different choices. This is true for organic farming: consumers know that there is a different system available and make a choice”, he said in a recent interview with EURACTIV.com.

This new debate also concerns products such as Smartfresh, a gas that enables the conservation of apples, for example, for months, without their external appearance changing. But according to some research, it seems that the products conserved lose their nutritional value in the process.

Smartfresh is not dangerous, it is safe for human consumption, but are these practices really necessary?

This “is not our primary mandate, which is safety and not efficacy or risk-benefit assessment. But it is a very pertinent question whether in the future more of these risk-benefit questions should come to our table,” Url said.

Medicines agencies work in this way. “Medicines are tested not only for safety but also for efficacy and quality. In food, as there are no authorisations, we are really sticking to the safety mandate.”

Monsanto’s Tricks – The Greens’ video on the Monsanto-documents

The Monsanto Papers are secret, internal documents that have now been made public thanks to over 10,000 farmers who have taken Monsanto to court, accusing the company’s glyphosate weedkillers of causing them to develop a cancer called non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

The documents reveal the various strategies and tactics used by Monsanto to ensure that they can sell their star product, RoundUp, despite the clear dangers for humans and for the environment. This trailer highlights some of Monsanto’s tricks.


(Image source: en.wikipedia.org)

Benedek Jávor talked to András Horváth a Hungarian whistleblower- exclusive video

On Monday Benedek Jávor MEP went to Luxembourg to support the whistleblowers on their trial in Luxembourg.

Benedek Jávor talked to András Horváth, a Hungarian whistleblower, who reported on the systematic tax evasion on the scale of 1000 billion forint and the Hungarian Tax Authorities’ (NAV)
attitude to turn blind eyes on multinational corporations’ tax evasion techniques.

You can see the video below (click for Enlgish subtitle).

More details on the event in Luxembourg here

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

MEP Benedek Jávor’s message on strengthening Roma participation in politics

Mr. Benedek Jávor’s message on the political participation of Romas was given on the occasion of the European Roma Information Office’s conference titled “Strengthening Roma Political Participation”. The conference was held 10th of June, 2016; Mr. Jávor’s video message can be watched below.


(Image source: erionet.eu)