75% of Europeans think that stronger coordination of economic and financial policies among EU Member States would be effective in fighting the economic crisis, according to the Spring 2010 Eurobarometer, the bi-annual opinion poll organized by the EU. The survey was conducted in May – at the height of the European debt crisis – and published today. 72% of Europeans support a stronger supervision by the EU of the activities of the most important international financial groups, an increase of four percentage points from the last Eurobarometer in autumn 2009. Europeans’ main areas of concern in the crisis were the current economic situation (40%; unchanged compared to autumn 2009), unemployment (48%; -3 percentage points) and rising prices (20%; +1). The crisis also had an influence on citizens' perception of the EU: 40% of Europeans associate the EU with the euro (+3), 45% with the freedom to travel, study and work anywhere in the EU (-1), and 24% with peace (-4).
The European Commission is analyzing the french situation, after the country has started expelling people of mostly Roma origin to their home countries, mostly to Romania. The Romanian authorities however do not claim injustice, but cooperate with their French colleagues.
The European Commission takes the request of the nine mostly Eastern European member states seriously, Olli Rehn commissioner for economic and monetary affairs told new york press yesterday. Hungary and eight other members want the costs of their earlier pension reforms to be taken into account when elaborating the new rules for the Stability and Growth Pact. However, it will be the Council to decide on the topic, so the question is whether France or Germany would applaud to such initiatives.
Hungary seemed to be risking good relations with Serbia by acknowledging the independence of Kosovo. According to the comments of Serbian leaders, they treat Kosovo as more important than European integration. With the decision of the International Court of Justice yesterday (22 July), reconciliation to the situation might be the only way for Serbia. Péter Rada, President of Corvinus Foreign Affairs and Cultural Association says the issues of Kosovo´s independence and Serbia´s integration process must be seen as separate.
A very dynamic approach was proved by the EU´s agriculture commissioner yesterday (20th July). "This is just the beginning," Dacian Ciolos repeatedly proclaimed at a stakeholders' conference regarding the CAP 2013 reform in Brussels. The commissioner does need the energy: more then 5000 contributions are to be discussed and prioritized before the executive body can start to elaborate the structure of the future CAP.
The Europe 2020 strategy proposes seven flagship initiatives to boost growth and employment. They include "Youth on the Move", which aims to improve the performance and international attractiveness of our higher education institutions and raise the quality of all levels of education and training in the EU, combining both excellence and equity.
6 million euros have been spent on the reconstruction and restoring of the Royal Palace of Gödöllő. The goal was to build a cultural centre of European niveau. The priority project started on time and was finished on time, moreover it did not need any additional financial resource. A miracle has happened in Hungary, said the director of the institute.
Cohesion of the Hungarian regions did not come true in the past 14 years, says István Szilvássy, president of the Association of Hungarian Settlements’ and Regions’ Developers. The professional believes that the current seven-region-structure is one cause of this problem, and a new structure consisting only of three regions would result in a more identity-based repartition.
The European Commission yesterday (7 July) launched its long-awaited 'Green Paper' on EU pension reform, but wary officials were at pains not to prescribe solutions to EU member states, where the issue is likely to spark controversies in coming years.
Policies about the Danube are planned by amateurs, by cost-of-living politicians and greens, says the president of the Hungarian Shipping Alliance. Botond Szalma therefore calls for “real experts” to be left in the decision process. He underlined that the planning of the regulation of the Danube is unimaginable without the EU.
Last week the new Hungarian government appointed Barsiné Pataky Etelka, who will responsible for the development of the Danube Strategy, which will be one of the main priority during the Hungarian EU Presidency 2011. Barsiné said that the aim is to treat water as a special valuable resource.
Hungarian banks warned that a bank tax put forward by the country´s government would only harm the sector, which has proven to be viable even in the worst periods of the economic crisis. EurActiv Hungary reports.
Belgium, which took over the European Union´s six-month presidency on 1 July, wants an EU deal on a bank tax by the end of the year. The country´s ambassador to Hungary however stated that their plans did not match exactly with the plans of the Hungarian government.
The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.0% in May 2010, unchanged compared with April. In Hungary, unemployment is growing, but rates show the opposite dynamics.
After a dramatic night for Polish democracy, Bronisław Komorowski of the ruling liberal-conservative Civic Platform (PO) emerged as the winner in the presidential election run-off, held on Sunday (4 July). Hereby PO rules not only the government, but also presidential office, similar to the Fidesz Civic Union´s exceptional support in Hungary. Both countries prepare for their first EU presidency.
Europe should turn to natural gas in its search for the affordable and reliable energy sources of the future, energy company representatives said at the European Business Summit (EBS) yesterday (1 July).
Experts agree that the condition of the shipping must be improved because with the development they can increase the capacity of the transport and the pollution and the congestion could be reduced. The experts emphasized that they should deliver the development with keeping the ecological balance of the Danube.
While EU institutions are leading a great debate about next year’s European budget, there is not much news about these in the Hungarian press. While we are used to blame the EU for not being transparent in the spending of our money, we are not paying much attention to the same topic. Experts however believe Hungary would have a say in influencing the budget, if there was a consistent strategy for it.
The Lisbon Treaty gives more task to the EU, however, it´s budget is the same - at least until the end of this 7 years perspective. Socialist MEP aims to save the EUs competitivity through taking money from agriculture.
According to the Convergence Report 2010 Estonia is the only one who fulfilled the criterias which are required for the euro-zone. Tallinn would join to the euro zone despite of the problems. The issues only required the green light of the Parliament which approved it today.
Former Romanian dissident László Tőkés, an ethnic Hungarian, was yesterday (15 June) elected European Parliament vice-president at the insistence of Budapest, EurActiv has learned. EurActiv Romania contributed to this article.
P+R parking areas are open to the traffic in two districts of Budapest. The project has been co-financed from the European Regional Fund. The aim of this development of 1,4 million euro is to make public transport more attractive for the people who prefer private transport methods.
The center of the MÁV Co at Szombathely has been coordinating the improvement of the stations. The aim is to achieve higher standards of the service. In order to make this way of transport more popular the MÁV Co. and the MÁV-START Co. announced a competition for the most clean and beautiful station award.
While EU finance ministers squabble over European Commission demands that national governments must send their budgets to the EU executive for review before they are sent to national parliaments, MEPs and experts have drawn up strategic proposals to create the momentum for a political debate on the EU budget.
José Manuel Barroso believes that fiscal consolidation needs to be speeded up in Hungary. The president of the Commission stressed, that this message is very clear, "without any ambiguity". Prime Miniszóter Viktor Orbán pledged to present an economic action plan in the coming 72 hours.
The hearing of the new Hungarian foreign minister has passed in a cheerful, easy mode. The questions did not grill Martonyi too much, so he also had time to tell some stories about the past 20 years.
Hungary´s expenditure on investing in research and development (R&D) barely amounts to 1% of GDP today. While Brussels sees boosting research and innovation as a way out of the current crisis, it is the economic downturn itself that is making the target seem over-ambitious.
Réka Matheidesz is the head of a enormously successful micro enterprise. The co-founder of the design-expo WAMP has become the ambassador of the SME-week in 2010. She believes in her business model which is based on win-win situations and therefore she advices all the enterprises to be open to new ideas and views. Success comes through interaction, she told EurActiv Hungary in an interview.
Although according to the Hungarian parties it is a remarkable step that the European Parliament approved the report about the simplification of CAP on Tuesday (18 May), the text is not perfect yet. Representatives of the Hungarian socialists and the civic union (MSZP and Fidesz) handed in a common proposal in order to keep the Hungarian animal husbandry competitive.
Basic knowledge is lacking among the applicants of the EU´s Culture program, EurActiv has learned at the Culture Info Day. The presentations have shown, that most Eastern European countries fall long behind the Western applicants.
Éva Pataki does not believe that the new government of Hungary, led by the conservative Fidesz-KDNP coalition, can realize its’ pledge and create one million jobs. The president of the Alliance of Social Professionals says this is impossible of the short term as the country has much to make up, which needs an innovative behavior. However, the picture of the ‘sinful poor’ who are to blame themselves to be in a miserable situation roots too deep in social and political thinking.
Supporting the integration of Roma is high on the foreign policy agenda of the Obama cabinet, US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton told the Hungarian news agency MTI. The participants of the Roma Symposium in New York emphasized the need of cooperation and the change of best practices among the several minority groups.
Yesterday (27 April) The European Commission launches an online public consultation aimed at unlocking the full potential of Europe´s cultural and creative industries. The consultation is linked to a new Green Paper which highlights the need to improve access to finance, especially for small businesses. The latter is a huge problem for Hungarian SMEs, even though the country has great potentials in creative industries, experts claim.
Europe Day is to celebrate in Hungary. On the 8th May the Budapest, but also the cultural capital of Europe, Pécs will host several cultural events to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration.
Although economic crisis itself is a great last for an EU presidency, the Greek crisis surmounts all of the expectations of Hungarian civil servants. Fidesz hopes however, that it can have a "decent" presidency. The ideas of the new government show in a similar direction than the previous.
The Visegrad countries have common goals for foreign policy, but they all want to achieve them through different ways, experts agreed at a conference in Budapest. Czech, Polish, Hungarian and Slovak experts believe, the four countries still show “post-accession syndromes” that is extremely visible in their no-vision foreign policy. However at EU level, several prosperous areas give opportunity for cooperation and more influence.
Viktor Orbán has presented his new government.
Unprecedented, 110 million euros bail out has been agreed for Greece this weekend. The indebted country assured EU and IMF to take strict measures to diminish public costs and get the budget in line. The steps could also save Hungary from effects of the instability of the eurozone.
Several conservative European leaders, including European politicians hail the overwhelming success that Fidesz has reached at Sunday´s national elections. Large EPP-affiliated countries, like France and Germany still have not welcomed the results.
Twenty years after the change, Hungarians have experienced a historic election yesterday (11. April). The conservative Fidesz-KDNP has not only kicked off the socialist government with a huge vantage, but also two new parties are elected while two older have disappeared.
"It would be a good idea if at least one major event, such as the European Council, was held in the member state holding the rotating presidency." - European Council president Herman Van Rompuy said yesterday. If member states agree, Hungary could be hosting a meeting of the heads of states in 2011.
The crisis management program of the Hungarian government is supposed to be a success according to country's Prime Minister. Gordon Bajnai even said that the economic program of his government could be an example for countries struggeling with similar problems.
Water policy can give the "face" of the Hungarian EU-presidency. Politicians of the center-right opposition party Fidesz, who are expected to win next week's election call for an urgent actualization of the EU's Water Framework Directive. Over the problems of water scarcity and drought, Fidesz also sees a giant possibility in the politics about "blue gold".
Hungary's opposition European People´s Party-affiliated Fidesz will bar foreigners from buying arable land indefinitely if it wins elections next month, party leader Viktor Orban said on 31 March. Fidesz is widely expected to obtain an absolute majority in parliament.
The trio presidency wants to struck a deal until mid 2011 about the reform of the new Common Agriculture Policy, Hungarian minister of agriculture told reporters in Brussels yesterday (29. March).
The European Commission´s new strategy for growth and jobs is on the ropes after EU leaders failed to agree hard targets on education and poverty – two of the five headline goals set out in the original proposal. The Hungarian PM, Gordon Bajnai however was positive about the results.
According to Dr. Andrea Riemer, the director of the Austrian National Defence Academy Obama has narrow scope of action. She thinks that the President has to comply with too much conditions in the United States while he is trying to implement foreign policy.
At the European Danube Strategy expert conference yesterday (19 March), all of the experts emphasized that the key of the success is the cooperation. Towards this they proposed to create an office network to encourage the consultation process.
On Thursday (11 March) the members of the conference in the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs were talking about Central and Eastern European issues. The main point were the chance of the development of the region and the question how Hungary and Central and Eastern Europe can progress with common interests.
After 5 April 2010 the owner of the long-term (more than three months) Schengen visa can travel freely within the territory of the Union. Yesterday (9 March) the Parliament has voted on the issue.
According to the Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner, John Dalli it is important to “bring together Europe again” , and the consumer policy may has a big role in it. The Commissioner said, the aim is to create stronger and conscious consumers. The way to strengthen the consumers’ position is to inform them about the products and services they buy, he added.
Hungarian public yesterday (8th March) also received the possibility to discuss the competivity of Europe. The Europe 2020 strategy received lot of expert critics and also the Hungarian Government would propose some changes in the Commission's text. The latter has great importance for Brussels, as the first revision of the strategy will take place under the Hungarian Presidency.
EU foreign ministers have met last week (5-6. March) to discuss preparatory tasks of the new European External Action Service (EEAS).
Foreign Minister of Hungary, Péter Balázs called the EU countries to fill the Eastern Partnership with 'real content'. The activity of Hungary shows that the country's EU presidency is coming closer and closer, but the Commission is still quite cautios with the eastern dimension of the neighbourhood policy.
The knowledge of the new informatics technologies and the digitalization means the keystones of the Union’s competitiveness in the future. Although computer has revolutionized people’s life in the 21st century, a huge number of people haven’t got convenient basic knowledge about digitalization. Moreover fewer students intend to continue their studies in the informatics sector. The European Committee Enterprise and Industry DG started a long-term program in 2007 to remedy the problems. Each Member States joined to this initiative, and the campaign will be ended by the e-Skills Week (1st-5th March).
The first common V4 representation will open in Capetown next year, announced Foreign Minister Péter Balázs yesterday (2nd March). He underlined the enhanced cooperation of the V4 countries and pointed out future possible steps regarding common foreign policy areas.
Instead of going to Russia, the first visit of the recently elected Ukrainian president, Viktor Janukovich was leading to Brussels on monday (1st March). The step wants to deny all the rumours arbout Janukovich being too Moscow-friendly.
The EU´s new growth strategy, due to be rubber-stamped by the new Barroso Commission on Wednesday (3 March), includes a blueprint for transforming Europe into an "nnovation Union" by 2020.
As presidency of the V4, Hungary will hold a special meeting with the countries of the Eastern Partnership in Budapest. Foreign ministers of Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan will discuss the future cooperation with V4 + EU trio presidency countries.
‘Think global, act local!’ was the motto of the 2006 solar cell project in the Hungarian city of Szeged. The solar cells on the roof of the city Hospital are still collecting the waves of the sun in regard of global thinking, but local efficiency of the implementation is debated.
According to a conference on Friday the new financial perspective and the recovery from the economic crisis will be the main tasks of the Hungarian presidency. Laszló Surján (MEP- EPP) said the lack of a common European notion makes the compromise harder in dealing with the headings of the perspective.
While in the past few months increasing attention was drawn to the EU's new macro-regional concept, its' content was not very concrete. While definite steps were not decided yet, an outline of the strategy was agreed in Budapest last Thursday (25 February). The Danube Summit with eight EU-countries seems to show the content, the borders and the financial aspects of the new regional initiative.
Hungarian Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai proposed the construction of an energy triangle, pointing in northern, southern and eastern directions. The strategic gas infrastructure in this triangle should prevent Europe from one sided and incompetitive energy market. The Prime Ministers of the Visegrad Group plus countries of the CEE region met on February 24, 2010 in Budapest.
A burgeoning middle class and expanding green industries make India an attractive proposition for expanding European firms. However, understanding local business culture and laws is the difference between success and failure, Poul Jensen, director of the European Business and Technology Centre in India, told EurActiv in an interview.
Micro-companies could be exempted from having to draw up annual accounts. 5,4 million companies could invest more capital to increase their effectiveness. The measure will have huge impact on boost of economy. The Parliament will vote on the amendment this Thursday (February 25th).
Second after the UK, Hungary could have accepted a Climate Protection Framework yesterday (22 February), but the government backed out from it’s own initiative, after heavy pressure of the industrial lobby.
„Poverty is not just about material income. It is also about lack of opportunities,” said László Andor, commissioner responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. In his speech he gave the main ideas concerning the 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion.
„Europe is a half way house,” says the iconic figure of international relations theory, Immanuel Maurice Wallerstein. The eighty years old professor believes that the EU is an “important structure”, but there are at least two mayor tasks to finish until it can become a strategic player in the global game.
"Moldavia is not in a difficult, but in a complex situation" - said Iurie Leanca, Deputy PM, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova, on Friday (19 February) on his lecture in Central European University. He talked about the chances of the accession to the Union according to the Eastern Partnership, and about short-term and long-term goals of the moldavian government.
In 2007 the downtown of London was the richest and the Bulgarian Severozapaden was the poorest region in Europe, according to a new Eurostat data. Hungarian, Rumanian, Polish and Bulgarian regions dominate the lower side of the list, while Czech and Slovak regions are thriving upwards, with Prague and Bratislava among the 20 richest regions.
'Hungary has taken effective action,' the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) say in their common evaluation about the countries counter-crisis mechanisms.
The environmental committee of the Hungarian Parliament yesterday (15th February) accepted the draft Climate Bill. While critics seemed endless at the two hours meeting, nobody dared to vote against the civil initiative.
The EU"s new strategy for growth and jobs will not succeed unless it maintains structural funds and gives regions real responsibility, according to outgoing Committee of the Regions (CoR) President Luc Van den Brande.
Thursday (11 February) the Parliament approved to enter the new type of microcredits. Union makes a significant opportunity for thousands of entrepreneurs, who have seriously bad conditions to launch out new small enterprises. Moreover it may reduce the measure of unemployment all over Europe in the long run, even the rate of social differences between the Member States.
It would be 'gross simplification' to say that Victor Yanukovich is a stooge of Moscow, says Márton Ugrósdy, analyst of Kitekintő.hu. Ugrósdy believes that the renewed Russian relations will not be enough to fight the economic crisis in Ukraine, so Yanukovich will strive to start free trade negotiations with the EU.
The European Commission decided to allow temporary subsidy for farmers working in the primary agricultural production. Nearly 20 billion euros can be distributed this year for those who suffer from the consequences of the economic crisis.
The European Union holds too many bilateral summits too often, sometimes with unclear agendas. US President Barack Obama decided to skip the 24-25 May EU-US Madrid summit as a result of "excessive summitry", analysts told EurActiv.
Fifty-five countries accounting for almost 80% of world greenhouse gas emissions have pledged varying goals for fighting climate change under a deadline in the "Copenhagen Accord", the United Nations said on Monday.
Similar to other EU citizens, Hungarians see unemployment as the biggest problem in their lives, the latest Eurobarometer survey presented in Budapest on Thursday shows.
Common, but indirect taxation should be introduced after 2014, Sándor Richter, researcher of the Vienna Institute for Internal Economic Studies believes. However, redistribution should work out on national level, he stresses. Specialists from the Visegrad countries doubt that such an idea would be viable, so even without the net contributors, opinions differ a lot. Starting the debate about the new EU financial framework will be a challenging task for the 2011 Hungarian presidency.
The European Parliament yesterday (21. January) voted in favour of the Danube strategy. After member states, now MEPs call on the Commission to elaborate a strategy for regional cooperation of the Danube-countries. The idea is a flagship of the 2011 Hungarian EU presidency as well.
Government and opposition party major celebrated together the kick off event of the Pécs, European Capital of Culture 2010 project on sunday (11 January). This rare cooperation in Hungary can be a good sign for the 2011 EU-presidency.
Pervench Beres is the head of the EP committee responsible for employment and social affairs. As she is the one who will head the hearing of Hungarian commissioner candidate, László Andor, EurActiv wanted to know what questions are there to expect.
Because of the financial crisis, the Hungarian commissioner believes to become a heavyweight in the Barroso II. Commission. László Andor, who will likely receive the portfolio for employment and social affairs, believes the crisis has not ended yet and tackling the record-unemployment in Europe will be a crucial part of his future job. He is therefore collecting information, standpoints and proposals.
EurActiv Hungary has asked the Hungarian political and civil organisations to write a wishlist to the European Commission. In our article you can read what topics the Hungarian pubic wants to see on the top of the EU's agenda.
Climate talks are approaching to their ends, but it still seems there is no chance to come to an agreement on a new international treaty. African leaders boycotted the conference yesterday, but the US and China still did not make their standpoints clear regarding their emission reduction targets. Jo Leinen, leader of the EP-delegation is urging these countries to make clear proposals. Csaba Tabajdi, leader of the Hungarian socialist EP-group expressed his concerns about the success of the meeting.
A recent decision to host a new EU energy agency in Slovenia has revived tensions between Budapest and Bratislava, which had hoped to host the agency in the Slovak capital.
Friends of Earth Europe and the Stockholm Environment Institute believes that everithing that Europe has to do to reach its climate goals can be listed in two pages. Moreover, it is possible by only using domestic resources.
There was a bit confusion in the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the European Parlament yesterday (3rd December), when the draft report concerning the modification of the European Union's financing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights worldwide was on the agenda. There was no voting, however, Hungarian MEP and Co-Rapporteur Kinga Gál received a negotiating mandate in the issue.
The European Commission will soon take stock of the H1N1 vaccines available in the member states to see how much of the serum is available in case of urgeny, Andrulla Vassiliou has announced on tuesday (december 1.).
A report by the European Court of Auditors claims, no evidence has been found that European health programs would have any effect on citizens' state of health. As such, the board questions the use of such programs.
Governments across Europe last night triggered national pandemic response plans in the wake of the World Health Organisation's decision to raise the flu pandemic alert level to phase six. This marks the first full-scale global pandemic in 41 years, though the WHO stressed that most of those infected to date have made a swift recovery.
While confirmed cases of swine flu have sparked fears of a worldwide pandemic, the World Health Organisation voted to raise its alert level, but did not think it appropriate to impose travel bans.
The European Commission is pushing EU member states to remove legal barriers to the provision of distance healthcare, potentially a very profitable new niche market for health in Europe.
Commission started school milk campaign las week. Agriculture commissioner Mariann Fischer-Boel started her road show in Cyprus where she tried to boost attention on the healthy effects of drinking milk and consuming milk products. Health commissioner Androulla Vassiliou presented the financial tools available for schools in Europe.
European medicine authorities are growing increasingly alarmed by the number of bogus swine flu remedies being sold over the Internet. The news comes as MEPs gear up to debate new rules covering counterfeit medicines.
Health ministres from the G7 countries, Mexico and the WHO held a special meeting of the Global Health Security Initiative hosted by the European Commission last Friday. A common statement setting out the common approaches against the influenza A (H1N1) virus and the pandemic was adopted by the participants.
60 million people could need the vaccine against H1N1. However, the stocks will not be sufficient, European commissioner for health has warned.
The capacity of the World will not be enough to produce sufficient number of vaccines, WHO chief warned on Tuesday (14. June). Margaret Chan called for the innovative development of health science.