A PROJECT TO CONTRIBUTE TO CITIZENS’ UNDERSTANDING OF THE UNION, ITS HISTORY AND DIVERSITY
NEWS FROM EASTERN EUROPE
GROWING TENSIONS ON LITHUANIA’S ISTANBUL CONVENTION RATIFICATION
March 24th, 2021 – Vilnius
The President of Lithuania, Gitanas Nauseda, commented on Lithuanian reactions to the ratification of the Istanbul Convention – against gender violence – as a form of ‘inquisition’. Stressing how unacceptable is the behaviour of part of public opinion that thinks it can say anything about those who think differently.
THE HUNGARIAN CRUSADE AGAINST THE MEDIA FREEDOM
March 24th, 2021 – Prague
The Hungarian Media Council decided last September not to renew the broadcast license of Klubradio. KlubRadio was the last independent and opposition radio station in Hungary. The episode is merely the latest instalment in the Hungarian government’s long-running campaign against independent media. Since his re-election in 2010, Viktor Orban’s crusade against free and independent media has become decisive, starting with the establishment of the Media Council, his loyal ally. Through a clutch of supportive oligarchs, the party has seized control of major television and radio stations, news portals, and print media publishers. All independent journalists who had worked in public media had been ousted, and the public broadcaster became a government mouthpiece. An isolated case? No, the Hungarian government has pioneered a trend that is common in the countries we have visited and will visit with our Democracy is Europe project. Moreover, Hungarian oligarchs have themselves been expanding into several Western Balkan countries. In the Czech Republic, businessmen and ministers are buying up television networks with the promise of leaving them independent. Expectations betrayed by the Czech Prime Minister who, after buying outlets, now they have his interests at heart.
FOR A PEACEFUL, PROTECTED, FREE AND DIVERSE EUROPE
March 24th, 2021 – Tallin
The premier Kallas said that pooled sovereignty brings Estonia joint protection by allied forces, a security network in the form of the single currency, access to the world’s best knowledge, a market for the services and goods created by us and support for building state gymnasiums, hospitals and the e-state. “It also rapidly brings Estonia efficient coronavirus vaccines in the amount needed,” she said, adding that for these reasons, it is and always should be in Estonia’s interest to strive towards the core of European policies and joint decisions because this is the strongest guarantee for a small state for being able to determine its own fate and future.Kallas pointed out financial solidarity as a second important pillar. “As a result of the last crisis experience, we’ve strengthened the euro area and the coronavirus has proven that this is an essential security network – this insurance policy works,” she said. “The government supports the European Union’s objective of climate neutrality and the inclusion of it as a legally binding goal in the so-called European climate regulation. Moreover, we also support a similar goal for Estonia and have recently also initiated the drafting of the development plan for the environment,” she said. “Estonian affairs are European affairs and vice versa – strong states make Europe strong and a strong Europe will, in turn, strengthen European states”. “I hope that Estonians won’t stop hoping for and dreaming of a peaceful, protected, free and diverse Europe, because there is no Estonia without Europe and there is no Europe without Estonia.”