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.

Energizing European Democracy: Time for Transnational lists – open letter

This Wednesday 7th February the European Parliament in Strasbourg will once again vote on transnational lists, with the difference that now there is a tangible opportunity to actually implement them in practice.

Find below in English an open letter of MEPs and also current and former EU officials calling on the necessity of transnational lists: Energising European Democracy_ Time for Transnational Lists_Open_Letter

Written comment to the European Parliament’s debate on the protection of journalism

The murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia is a tragedy and  at the same time deterrent manifestation of what lengths the power can go to in order to conceal the truth. Even the smallest constriction on independent journalism is a serious violation of citizens’ rights to the pluralism of information. And where a journalist pays with her life for revealing corruption and abuse of the power, there democracy is shaken to its core.

Aggression by those in power against free and independent news reporting must have consequences. The Maltese government must step down, as they were unable to come clear against the charges of corruption. In addition, the European Commission must launch a prompt and thorough investigation in order to find those who were responsible for these developments.

In several Member States, the systemic curtailing of the free press has already started or has been already going on for years. In these countries, it is in the power’s interest to abolish the independence and pluralism of the media. This cannot ever deteriorate into a situation, in which people who seek to reveal the truth can no longer feel safe. Urgent and effective action must be taken in order to prevent any government from using intimidation of journalists as a means to hide the truth.

Transparency and a free, independent media are core European values, the protection of which now sadly needs to constantly be reinforced, we Greens propose an award with the name of Daphne Caruana Galizia to be given each year to investigative journalist in order to value and protect their work

Letter to Mr. Timmermans on the systemic threat to the rule of law in Hungary

The European Union needs to know that democracy is dismantled under Viktor Orbán’s regime.

Last week the first vice president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, addressed the European Parliament’s plenary on the situation of democracy in Hungary. He referred to the core values of the European Union and to the spirit of Article 2 TEU. I welcome the long-awaited committed steps, but it seems that the Commission still has illusions regarding the system of Viktor Orbán.

A couple of weeks ago, commenting on the new legislation targeting the CEU, Mr. Timmermans said there is “not a systemic threat to the rule of law in Hungary.” Therefore, I addressed a letter to the Commission and I summarised the developments of the past seven years in order to reveal how the Hungarian government has been dismantling the rule of law step by step. This list of actions is long and proves that it is more than individual cases. The measures include the adaptation and the continuous amendments of the new Fundamental Law; constant attacks on media pluralism; the limitation of the juridical independence and the stigmatisation of NGOs, which actions are destabilising the very foundations of democracy. The European Commission has to understand that such politeness is unnecessary and only facilitates further decline, harming not only Hungary, but also the European Union as a whole.

I hope that this analysis will help the Commission to admit the systemic threat of rule of law in Hungary


Source of picture: Twitter

RomaWeek: Combating Antigypsyism in Europe

On the occasion of the International Roma Day, the European Parliament is hosting a week-long program filled with workshops, conferences, exhibitions, awards and other events to celebrate the Roma culture. This year, the Greens have issued a publication titled Countering Antigypsism in Europe, which was introduced to the public today with introductory remarks from MEP Benedek Jávor.  The agenda of the event and the publication itself in English are attached below:

May 28 event: Agenda

Countering Antigypsism in Europe (publication): Countering_Antigypsyism_web_version


Mr. Jávor’s introductory remarks can be read in full below:

Combating Antigypsyism and a gender and youth dimension in the current and post-2020 EU Roma Policy

Hosted by Greens/EFA in cooperation with ERGO Network

Introductory Remark by Benedek Jávor:

The International Roma Day (April 8) is a day to celebrate Roma culture and raise awareness of the issues facing Roma people. We Greens in the European Parliament felt the importance of the Roma Day hence we are proud to be participating in the cooperation of political groups for the second time to celebrate it in the European Parliament in order to show in Europe who Roma people really are and indeed to raise awareness of the problems they are facing.


  • In the preparation of this year’s Roma Day the Roma Working Group of the Greens/EFA Group has decided to prepare a book about Roma with a dual aim:


  1. To present the urgent problems the Roma facing today: the forms of antigypsyism, forms of discrimination and segregation,the political dimensions in the Member States and in Europe and about the recognition of the Roma identity in Europe.
  2. and our position and ideas as Greens how to tackle them.


Of course there are no easy and fast solutions to almost none of those problems.

The history of racism and discrimination has a many century long history in general and against Roma as well.  Systemic antigsypsyism can be found on all field of life:

  • it happens that state owned companies fail to employ a person with Roma sounding name,
  • officials in local authorities do not accomplish their best and don’t share all the necessary information with a person with an address from specific area of a Roma settlement;
  • police stops persons in order to verify their identity when simply walking on street with 150% more chance if she /he has visibly darker skin color.
  • But antigypsyism can be found on highest level when EU funds are directed in a way that they:
    • maintain and support of segregated schools;
    • systematically supporting the only non-Roma schools
    • and preventing Roma to have access to quality, equal, non-segregated schooling.

But Roma are not the only society group in need. Poverty is in rise among Central Eastern European countries social strata’s. I know quite precisely that for example 21% – approximately 800,000 – of Hungarian households are considered to live in poverty. In poverty which is comparable to third world countries. Such poverty includes energy poverty, in which Roma (who consist only 7-8% of the Hungarian society) are extremely overrepresented. In their case this is a real struggle when important decisions must taken during wintertime: what to finance heating or the other costs.

We those politicians committed towards green technologies are sure that there are methodologies, techniques and tools available for such cases. The internet – including the most popular video sharing sites – are full with short videos explaining how could the poorest people make heat support supply out of empty beer cans, LED light system out of a single and cheap solar panel and and a car accumulator, solar grill equipment out of an empty shoe box.

Of course we as Greens have a long history of speaking out against racism and discrimination and stepping up for minorities. But we also must take a look on ourselves and strictly scrutinize whether the EU has done everything in order to make these people’s life easier; have we made the maximum to channelize EU funds towards those most in deprivation, or are we sure that EU funds were not used in a way that made the gap between Roma and non Roma, marginalized and better of people even bigger?

If the answer is “no”, or – even worse – “we don’t know” than we European decision makers here in the Parliament, in the Commission and in other European bodies will have to re-plan our approach towards Roma. Because their problems are not simply their individual, personal issue but it will effectuate the Member State’s and therefore whole Europe’s competitiveness.

I know that our booklet is not changing al circumstances around us, I am afraid that it will not have an effect to stop or even eliminate anti-gipsyism from one day to other I also hardly believe that it was the only thing needed to change the entire EU support system. But I strongly believe that is a tiny but important step towards a better working EU for all of us. I wish you a fruitful conversation!

Written comment on the plenary’s wildlife trade debate

We are witnessing an unprecedented and alarming rise in illegal wildlife trade. The problem goes beyond the overexploitation of endangered species or habitats. It can result in severe disturbances to entire ecosystems. It affects human livelihoods and is closely linked to corruption. Thus, it has severe economic and security implications.

Fortunately, wildlife crime has recently come to the forefront of political attention. Yet, the challenge remains. For the EU to counter current trends, as also called for in the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking, we need a more stringent enforcement of the existing rules for EU Member States, including CITES.

However, in order for the EU to lead the efforts and to eventually eliminate illegal wildlife trade, additional tools and further legislative measures are also necessary, as this INI report rightly points out. We need to apply robust and effective sanctions, enhance funding, research, training, change consumer behaviour, foster cross-border cooperation and work hand-in-hand with local communities.

Only an integrated approach to wildlife crime can be successful. Besides making efforts to tackle both the supply and demand side, this requires a combination of anti-corruption and nature conservation aspects and the implementation of solutions with shared responsibility across various stakeholders.


(Image source: en.wikipedia.org)

Report on the protection of whistleblowers

The European Parliament has today voted in favour of a report on the protection of whistleblowers. Please see below a quote from Greens/EFA transparency spokesperson Benedek Jávor, alongside a short update on activity currently underway on whistleblower protection at EU level.

“The European Parliament has once again called on the Commission to propose a horizontal directive to ensure the proper protection of whistleblowers across the EU. The Greens have been pushing for EU-wide legislation that would protect whistleblowers in all areas of EU competence. This way, citizens across Europe will be able to speak up about environmental crimes, human rights violations and other wrongdoing without fear of reprisal.

“We also want to see the establishment of an independent body to receive alerts about budgetary fraud affecting the EU. Whistleblowers play a crucial role in preventing and uncovering fraud and mismanagement of the EU budget and there needs to be a secure channel for them to share vital information.”



Since the Greens/EFA group launched a proposal for a draft EU Directive in May, the Commission has faced increased calls to act to protect whistleblowers. A coalition of almost 80 NGOs and trade unions was launched in Autumn to push for whistleblower legislation in Europe. The Financial Affairs Council called on the Commission to assess the scope for further action to protect whistleblowers in October.

The Commission is due to launch a public consultation on whistleblower protection in March, and recently published an Inception Impact Assessment in which they analyse the impact that a lack of whistleblower protection has on the EU market, on human rights and on the environment. The Commission is currently working on a complete Impact Assessment, with results expected before the summer.

In addition to the report from the Budgetary Control Committee voted today, the European Parliament is working on another initiative report in the Legal Affairs Committee, which will go beyond the scope of EU financial affairs. Following some disagreement between the JURI Committee and Conference of Presidents on who should be the rapporteur for the file, a final decision on the matter is still pending.

European Parliamentary committee writes open letter to VP Frans Timmermans on hindered corruption report

The European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans has written to the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties and Justice committee, saying he has shelved plans to publish a report on corruption in the EU this year.

You can find a copy of the letter here (or will attach if no link)

Please see below a short quote from Greens/EFA transparency spokesperson Benedek Jávor.

Timmermans seems to think that the European Commission is already doing more than enough to fight corruption in Europe. Apparently he sees no need for measures like the long awaited 2016 anticorruption report. With 200,000 protesting corruption in Romania last night, and corruption one of the issues identified as a major problem of public concern in Europe, he is painfully out of touch with what the public expects. 

 The EU is absolutely not doing enough. The 2016 report must be published, including a chapter on the EU institutions, something that was missing from the previous effort. This would be a positive first step to restore the trust of citizens in the EU institutions.

Here is the link to the letter


(Image source: politico.eu)

Luxleaks trial and conference- whistleblower protection now!

Antoine Deltour, the whistleblower behind the LuxsLeaks scandal, was sentenced to 18 months suspended on first instance. On the second instance, the attorney asked for dispensation, the prosecutor for exasperation. The first day of the second instance trial was yesterday in Luxembourg, several members of Greens/EFA group were present. Jávor Benedek spoke in his defense (and that of his colleagues, Raphael Halet and journalist Edouard Perrin) on the solidarity protest.

However, Deltour’s story is not unique. Many whistleblowers are similarly facing various official and legal procedures, threats and others ways to annihilate their work and life. Four whistleblowers came to Luxembourg, including András Horváth, who reported on the systematic tax evasion on the scale of 1000 billion forint and the Hungarian Tax Authorities’ (NAV) blind eye towards the tax evasion techniques of multinational corporations. The lack of protection of whistleblowers does not only concern the whistleblowers, it also discourages others to make public those abuses they know about. Therefore the public’s interest is harmed. That is why we need strong, European-wide protection of whistleblowers. The Greens have prepared a draft for a whistleblower directive. The European Parliament has claimed at various times to support the creation of such a directive. Now it is time for the Commission and the Member states to make it happen.

Discussion between Benedek Jávor and András Horváth here.

More photos from the conference below:

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