Támogasd Te is küzdelmünket a zöld és igazságos jövőért!

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

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.

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

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.



SOER workshop opening speech

Dear participants,

First of all, let me express my warm welcome to all of you who decided to take part in the SOER2015 launch event at the European Parliament.

A special welcome to Mr Falkenberg and other representatives of the COM, Mr Bruyninckx and his colleagues from the European Environment Agency including Ms Fay, Mr Scoullos, to our knowledgeable expert speakers, the co-hosts and all MEP colleagues. Unfortunately, Mr Leinen could not join us but we very much welcome Ms Miriam Dalli as our co-host from the SnD Group, together with Mr Jose Inacio Faria representing the ALDE group. I am Benedek Jávor, Green MEP and first vice-chair of the ENVI Committee.

I feel honoured to co-host the event as the State and Outlook report is highly relevant for the work of the members of the European Parliament and other stakeholders as its serves as a key source of feedback for environmental policies in place in terms of their achievements and impacts. This is an essential element we crucially need for policy adjustment and improvement.

The flagship report of the Agency analyses the state of Europe’s environment every 5 years. It is not a simple study with standalone figures. Importantly, the 2015 report provides a state and outlook placed in the context of the 7th Environment Action Programme and its 2050 vision. The report clearly demonstrates that despite some positive short-term trends Europe is not on track to achieve long-term sustainability. Just to name a few areas where long term prospects are alarming: land use and soil functions, climate change and the associated health risks, energy consumption as well as transport demand. Biodiversity and habitat loss, land-take and overexploitation of resources continue despite existing policy targets at different levels. As the report itself stresses, in some cases the level of ambition of our existing policies seems inadequate. Current efforts will not be sufficient to achieve the 2050 vision set in the 7EAP.

As our speakers will also highlight, we urgently need to create more integrated, coherent and truly ambitious policies and actions. We need to further strengthen implementation and improve governance as well as our institutions. I believe that institutions should better reflect long term sustainability efforts and the needs of future generations. New approaches in governance could help us exploit synergies among policies and policy approaches. And above all, we need to bring about profound changes in practices and behaviour – taking into account possible lock-in effects and trade-offs as well. These aspects are all reflected in the SOER report. The report goes beyond the long-term vision and offers credible and feasible transition pathways.

Another asset of the SOER2015 report is that it is based on objective, reliable and comparable environmental information, and draws upon the evidence and knowledge base available to the Agency and the European environment information and observation network in 39 European countries. We need to further improve the knowledge base, to rethink some of our indicators and in more general terms, how we measure progress. I was also happy to find reference to the importance of giving full value to natural capital.

The report states that implementation of existing environment and climate policies resulted in improvement on the state of the environment and reduced health risks yet it also stresses that further implementation efforts by countries can reinforce these trends. I am convinced that governments and other actors need to be assisted, inter alia by providing room and level playing field for citizens` based initiatives, by ensuring that citizens are well-informed and have effective access to justice in line with the Aarhus Convention and by strengthening environmental inspections e.g. through extending the inspection requirements. These are of utmost importance when it comes to the effectiveness of our policies. As for better regulation and governance, I feel a bit concerned about some recent developments in this respect – e.g. in the 2015 work programme of the Commission there are a huge number of withdrawals or modification of pending proposals including crucial pieces of environmental and health legislation such as the circular economy package. I believe that the EU must prioritise legislation that serves the citizens’ needs and lead to the fulfilment of the 2050 vision of 7EAP ’living well, within the limits of our planet’.

To sum up, I would like to underline one of the key messages of the SOER2015 report, namely the need to recalibrate existing policy approaches. I truly believe that policy coherence, long-term thinking and sustainability should become the guiding principles for the revision and continuous improvement of European policy processes. I envisage a policy improvement process based on three distinct elements:

  1. proper signals on the state of the environment quality of life, well-being, progress and social cohesion, transition to a green economy as well as information on potential synergies and trade-offs of our policies..
  2. systematic evaluation of existing polices to assess the tangible effects, the actual added value as well as to point out the shortcomings.
  3. political willingness and stakeholder engagement, outreach to the general public to help them understand the various effects EU policies can have on their daily life

I believe that the reason the SOER reports are extremely valuable is because they contribute substantially to all three elements I just mentioned. I truly hope that the report will experience a broadening uptake reaching out to an ever-wider audience, including the Members of the European Parliament and all policy and decision makers at all levels. This could lay the foundations for reshaping European policies with holistic and long term approaches.

As for the format of the event, first the Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, Prof. Bruninckx will deliver his keynote speech on the main outcomes and policy-relevant messages of the SOER2015 report. Then our well-known and very knowledgeable experts speakers, namely Mr Luc Bas, Director of IUCN, Mr Ernst von Weizsäcker,Co-President of the Club of Rome, Ms Laura Burke,Director General of the Environmental Protection Agency of Ireland and Mr Janez Potocnik, co-chair of the UNEP International Resource Panel will respond from perspectives of the priority objectives of the 7th Environment Action Programme (natural capital, resource efficiency, human health and well-being, implementation) In the Q/A session we will open the floor for all participants to raise questions, give comments. This will be followed by reflections from Mr Falkenberg, Director General of DG ENVI. After the closing remarks by Mr Jose Inacio Faria we will have a short, technical break and a cocktail reception here in the room.

I wish ourselves a fruitful workshop and a lively exchange of views.

Benedek Javor, MEP

Accession of the EU to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

I highly welcome the proposal for the accession of the EU to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which is one of the world’s most powerful tools for biodiversity conservation.

However, as I see it, this step is only a drop in the bucket.

Let me remind you that despite the EU’s (renewed) commitment to halt the loss of biodiversity in the EU by 2020 and to restore biodiversity wherever possible in the longer term as well as out long-term vision for biodiversity for 2050, the natural capital and the ecosystem services are being continuously depleted which will have profound consequences for our well-being. As stated the European Commission itself, over half of the habitats and species covered by the EU Habitats Directive are considered to be in an unfavourable conservation status and there is evidence that the status of many ecosystems is reaching or has already reached the point of no return. It is estimated that, each year we lose 3% of our GDP due to the loss of biodiversity! Besides undermining the economy, biodiversity loss and changes in the habitats and ecosystems also erodes social cohesion in (and outside) the EU.

Thus, we must step up efforts in Europe to achieve our biodiversity targets (and to reach international biodiversity goals set within the CBD framework). We must ensure that none of the EU and MS policies (covering fields such as agriculture, forest management, fisheries and other resources, spatial planning, climate and energy, transport and products) have harmful impacts on biodiversity. We must reinvest in natural capital, construct green infrastructure and ensure that all spending under the EU budget (including CAP, ERDF, EMFF, Cohesion Fund, Connection Europe Facility, Horizon 2020 and LIFE) is supportive of halting the loss of biodiversity.

I therefore urge the European Commission and all European decision makers to set their priorities and structure their work mindful of the biodiversity targets and not to compromise biodiversity as it is key to sustaining the ecological systems and their services we all depend on.