Debating Europe

Labour Party

Two weeks ago I was interviewed over Skype by the organisation Debating Europe.  They asked me a number of very interesting questions posed by students from the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington.

With US-EU relations becoming more prominent with the upcoming negotiation of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Debating Europe I thought it would be interesting to get the American’s perspective on the EU.

Questions were also put to my fellow CULT Committee member Morten Løkkegaard as well as co-president of The Greens–European Free Alliance, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, among others.

I was asked about whether the EU’s image would improve if school children started learning about it from a younger age.  

I’ve included the clip above, but if you would like to see the full page, please follow the link here.

Orban makes his debut in the European Parliament

Labour Party

As I blogged on Tuesday, the Hungarian Presidency of the EU is already creating quite a stir.

Hard on the heels of the European Union disquiet on the media laws recently passed in Hungary, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban yesterday presented the Hungarian Presidency priorities for the next six months. 

Standing confidently and defiantly in the Chamber, Mr Orban opened his country’s first presidency of the Council of Ministers by referring to the 1956 uprising and subsequent Communist repression, underlining the “historic justice” in Hungary, the European country which had “given the most blood for freedom” in  Europe since World War II, now presiding the Council of the EU.

Such rhetoric coupled with Mr Orban’s commanding presence easily saw off the rantings of one-time student revolutionary Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who now leads the Green Group.

Interest, of course, centred around the media controversy with Socialist and Democrat Leader Martin Schulz stressing that the media law was not in line with European rule of law: ” In democracy it’s the media that scrutinises power. What you are doing is that the power is scrutinizing the media”. He said he didn’t want the topic to dominate the Hungarian Presidency saying “withdraw your act and come back with better new balanced one”.

 Orban says he is willing to amend the legislation. Since he has a two-thirds majority in the Hungarian Parliament I think we need to wait and see on this.

 And finally….it could only happen in the EU- the country holding the rotating six month presidency becoming embroiled in a serious controversy at the beginning of its term of office. Would that life were more straightforward.