How the Orbán Government Dismantles Culture – Report of Hungarian Network of Academics Already in Brussels

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kOpposition MEPs wish to send a copy of the report to all leaders of European institutions. 30 authors have tried on 86 pages to sum up the damage done in the field of culture, education, science, art, cultural heritage and media by the dismantling of the rule of law and the establishment of an authoritarian system in Hungary.

This is what the Hungarian Network of Academics’ (OHA) publication is all about. The authors of ‘Hungary turns its back on Europe’ are all independent researchers, academics, journalists, with expertise and personal experience of the above, said Anna Gács on behalf of OHA at the publication’s presentation in Brussels on Tuesday. The work, also available in English, was intended to be presented to the European public at the press conference, as, according to Gács, the anti-democratic efforts in Hungary are being carried out with the tacit consent of the EU.
The publication is to be sent to all leaders of European institutions, said one of the opposition MEPs attending the press conference, István Ujhelyi of MSZP. Ujhelyi will personally take the volume of studies to the leaders of the European People’s Party (EPP) before the next council meeting, he announced. In his view, they will have to choose between values and interests when deciding whether they will dismiss the Hungarian government or not, considering that by now it is patently obvious that the Orbán government goes against European values.
Katalin Cseh of Momentum also sincerely thanked the contributors. She said they would build their legislative work on such studies that are credible reference points. According to the Cseh, the report perfectly captures the Orbán government’s desire to control students, researchers, teachers and artists by any means, whereas in her view “freedom is a basic experience for the new generation.”
The intellectual resources of the Hungarian people are the greatest asset in the country, but that is exactly what the government is ruining, according to Sándor Róna of DK, who also attended the press conference. He highlighted the position of education among the topics in the volume, pointing out that PISA surveys show that Hungarian students are already the worst in Europe in terms of performance.
The number of students in higher education is steadily declining – particularly of hard-pressed young people who have been denied the opportunity to excel by the government. Róna added that a European education minimum is not too much to demand to ensure that Hungarian youngsters have an equal chance in Europe.
The volume’s authors received no royalties, only translation and printing had costs, Gács said in response to a question. The roughly one million forint budget was raised from private donations and with the help of NGOs.

28-01-2020, Brussels

Why I Pressed a Big Fat NAY to the Brexit-Document

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2016-10-05-1475670108-7560650-brexit1-thumbThe withdrawal of the United Kingdom is an extraordinary and regrettable moment in the life of the European community. That said, the sovereign decision of the majority of British voters must, of course, be respected, regardless of the lies that guided it and the way it all led to this result.
The period since the referendum has fully demonstrated the serious damage that leaving the European Union can cause and will continue to cause to all parties concerned. Although the deal reached with much sweat from the fierce political twists preceding it and the parliamentary document ratifying the deal both tried to prevent and mitigate this damage, they failed to provide a full guarantee. Neither for the Union, nor British anti-Brexit voters, nor EU citizens living in the UK, among them hundreds of thousands of our fellow Hungarian compatriots with much to worry about.
As one committed to the unity of the European idea and the community of the Union, I also have a duty to represent and let the voice of those be heard who, contrary to the majority decision but in similarly large numbers,  wanted and still want to remain part of the European community.
The right-wing conservative British government is strong in propaganda bur rather weak in credibility thus far. For the time being, all that seems certain is that they aim to pick their favourites among European relations of convenience and European citizens in the future. With my vote against the Brexit-document, I wanted to make a loud and clear signal of this.

Brussels – 29-01-2020

Code of Conduct for No-Frills Airlines Ready!

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80872913_3088967931117372_1526077737981181952_oCode of Conduct for No-Frills Airlines Ready! – István Ujhelyi would extend the obligations beyond low-cost companies

At the end of a long consultation process, a code of conduct for low-cost airlines was drawn up and submitted by the initiating Member of the European Parliament, István Ujhelyi to the European Commissioner for Transport by Adina Vălean. The Socialist MEP expects that over time the minimum requirements will be extended to other aviation companies beyond low-cost airlines.
Just over a year ago, Vice-President of the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism István Ujhelyi initiated the drafting of a “Code of Conduct for No-Frills Airlines”, i.e. a document setting out requirements and recommendations pertaining to budget airlines’ passenger management practices.
The MSZP politician then stressed that they did not want to take action against low-cost airlines as they welcomed this “revolutionary business model”, however previous scandals called for a strong consumer protection action plan to protect passengers’ rights.
Not only aviation but also passenger rights organizations and EU experts as well as Hungarian journalists participated in the drafting of the document, which was submitted to the European Commissioner for Transport before the holidays. István Ujhelyi said the reason that the finalization of the proposal took so long was that they tried to involve as many companies concerned as possible, which, however, were rather hostile towards the initiate or” at least varyingly tolerant.”
According to the MEP, Adina Vălean’s openness to the issue is encouraging, so it is possible that they would move forward in the direction of lawmaking over time, moreover, the MSZP’s European politician expects that, over time, the ethical expectations could be extended to the currently shaped, new and  sustainable ‘aviation ecosystem’ as a whole.
Suggestions of the “No-frills Code of Conduct” include guidelines as to how and when to notify passengers of possible flight modifications, how to make re-routing possible, or how long after each passenger on board must have access to drinking water if, for any reason, takeoff is delayed.
Similarly, the Code states that customer service cannot be operated as a premium service at a higher price than the local mobile fees, or that the airline cannot retroactively change the price of an already booked ticket and the availability of related paid services. Also, in the case of a justified claim, the passenger shall be reimbursed within 30 days at the latest.
István Ujhelyi added that the document will be sent to all airlines concerned, hoping that more and more companies will join in complying with it and  shall voluntarily adhere to the minimum ethical standards stated therein. “It is not only in the interest of passengers, but also of the companies that provide the service to them, as they can prove that in addition to a fair profit, the rights and interests of passengers matter them just the same,” added the MSZP MEP.

Brussels – 28-12-2019