Orban is getting lost in his own maze of lies


18119458_1650478691632977_620250196622999725_nAfter the letter sent by Fidesz MEPs to EPP members trying to whitewash Orban’s anti-European actions, the Hungarian PM was summoned to explain himself in front of members of the EPP family. Orban has brought shame to Hungary and has been trapped in his own maze of lies. He does now know anymore what to advertise on billboards and what to say behind closed doors. Infringement procedures following the Fidesz-government’s aggressive actions will not fade into oblivion without consequences.
Orban has lost the battle and capitulated once again. If we are tired of being collectively punished as a people because of the actions of Orban’s illiberal system, we must change the Fidesz-government that is effectively Putin’s puppet regime. To do just this at the 2018 elections, Laszlo Botka represents our best and only chance.

MEP Istvan Ujhelyi
Vice-President of the Hungarian Socialist Party

Watch the magic, see the truth! – A social video-campaign for traditional circuses


DSC02319Today we celebrate both in Europe and globally the 8th World Circus Day, held on the third Saturday of April every year – originally an initiative of the Férédation Mondiale du Circe led by the Princess Stéphanie of Monaco.
This year, together with Princess Stéphanie and the International Circus Federation we are launching a Europe-wide social media video campaign for traditional circuses. Traditional circuses – soon celebrating their 250th anniversary – have been the subject of many falsely generalizing attacks in recent times, mainly due to the sustainability of animal shows, circus conditions and traditional circus elements. However, it is unfair to label every single representative of a 250-year old artistic form, just because a handful of them do not respect the rules and occasionally engage in truly repellent behaviour. We need to be able to differentiate between those exemplary circuses who follow written and unwritten rules and those who break them consciously. Therefore we have established a special quality assurance system, the “Big Top Label” that will guarantee both the acknowledgement of contemporary social demands and traditional values of circus art as well.
Circus art is an integral part of European culture and economy that provides millions of people with quality entertainment and thousands with their livelihood. Beyond the obvious cultural and economic merits it also has a strong social value; the circus shows an example of respect for traditions, cooperation, trust, partnership, internationality, and intercultural dialogue. Our video-campaign presented today on the World Circus Day further emphasizes this message: “Watch the magic, see the truth!”

István Ujhelyi,
MEP, responsible for tourism in the European Parliament

József Richter Jr.
Golden Pierrot-awarded Hungarian artiste, director of the Hungarian National Circus

15.04.2017, Budapest

Ryanair Supports EU ‘European Capital Of Tourism’ Project & Warns Of Brexit & Airport Charge Threats To Regional Tourism


ryan4Ryanair, Europe’s No.1 airline, today (11 Apr) hosted a round table discussion in the European Parliament aligning tourism and aviation policy agendas, where it announced its support for the ‘European Capital of Tourism’ initiative, a programme designed to boost tourism across the continent.

The event was sponsored by MEPs Istvan Ujhelyi (S&D, Hungary), Salvo Pogliese (EPP, Italy) and Claudia Tapardel (S&D, Romania) and was addressed by Ryanair’s Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs, who emphasised that low cost aviation is a key driver of regional tourism and job growth, and outlined how dynamic and original aviation marketing can support tourism diversification.
Ryanair Chief Commercial Officer, David O’Brien highlighted the positive impact of low cost airline travel to and between Europe’s Regions for tourism, employment and social mobility, and how monopoly airport regimes and government passenger taxes distort markets to the Regions’ disadvantage. While Amar Breckenridge from Frontier Economics demonstrated the enormous potential impact of Brexit on tourism, with UK travel typically accounting for between 10% and 40% of total EU travel for Member States, the urgent need for clarity of air access post Brexit was highlighted.
Ryanair welcomed the European Capital of Tourism initiative, a pan-European programme modelled on the successful European Capital of Culture concept, which has been allocated a budget of €2.5m over the next three years, which will see cities and regions bidding for funding by submitting progressive and innovative tourism development programmes to the European Commission.

In Brussels, Ryanair’s Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs said;
“As the largest airline in Europe, Ryanair is pleased to support the European Capital of Tourism initiative. Some 130m people will fly with Ryanair across the continent this year and we have seen first-hand the regional tourism growth and job creation that low cost aviation brings, especially for Europe’s youth. We are pleased to have the opportunity to work closely with members of the European Parliament and with the European Commission on the European Capital of Tourism project, and we look forward to playing an important role in its development in the coming years. Much like Ryanair’s low fares, this will help put even more of Europe’s cities and regions on the map.”

ryan1In Brussels, Ryanair’s Chief Commercial Officer, David O’Brien said;
“Ryanair now flies to over 200 destinations in 34 countries and the potential for further growth in existing and unexplored markets is vast. However, regional tourism is particularly vulnerable to monopoly airport regimes and passenger taxes which have no relationship with the fare paid by the customer. We welcome the European Commission’s review of the Airport Charges Directive, and call on the governments across Europe to lift the excessive tax burden from regional airports.”

István Ujhelyi, S&D, Chair of the Tourism Task Force said;
“Low cost aviation, together with tourism, could create jobs, sustain growth and enhance regional development. In the face of the current challenges we have in Europe, including Brexit, the 60th anniversary of the European community and the transnational threats we must remain united and voice our common interests. That is why I have prepared a document entitled European ReUnion, where I put forward progressive ideas to reorganise, rebuild, and re-orientate our union.
In this paper, one of the key messages is to find and establish the real decision-making link between the local community and the regions, at European level. I would like to give a bigger role, more responsibilities and political space for the regions and the regional representations in Brussels. The European Capital of Tourism is an excellent project to help this process.”

Claudia Tapardel, S&D, Co-Chair of the Tourism Intergroup said;
“Tourism and aviation are two strategically important sectors that make a strong contribution to the EU economy. As demand for travel increases, aviation can boost tourism by raising the profile of less known, but equally attractive destinations. This diversification of the offer will in turn deliver growth in more regions and therefore achieve the cohesion goals of the EU.In order to preserve Europe’s position as the world’s top touristic destination, it is now vital to ensure that there is a proper coordination between these sectors, and that policy reflects consumers’ expectations.”

Salvo Pogliese, European People’s Party MEP said;
“Low cost airline companies play an essential role in increasing the flow of tourism, leading to a significant growth in demand, the expansion of destinations and encouraging the seasonal adjustment. Therefore, the new European aviation and tourism agendas must take into account the important role played by low-cost airline companies.”

11 Apr 2017

Pittella: Orban’s attack on CEU is unacceptable. How can EPP remain silent? Fidesz must go.


ujhelyipittellaFollowing a draft law from Victor Orban’s government that would effectively ban the globally regarded Central European University (CEU) from operating in Hungary, S&D Group President Gianni Pittella said:
“After the attack on the media autonomy, now Orban is trying to silence another outstanding symbol of the freedom of thought and expression in Hungary: The Central European University. This is completely unacceptable and reinforces our concerns over the decline of democracy in Hungary under Orban’s constant attacks.
“Is the current democratic level acceptable for a full member of the European Union? Are Orban and the current Hungarian leadership respectful of EU’s democratic principles and the rule of law?
“It is an outrage that Fidesz and Orban are still members of the EPP family. I wonder what else should happen in Hungary before someone in the EPP wakes up and finds the courage to finally say something over the worrying situation in Hungary.
“The proposed legislation – if adopted – would make it impossible for the University to continue its operations in Budapest. With this blatant attack on an independent institution of higher education, Orban proves once again that his aim is just to get rid of his political enemies. Every piece of legislation that is targeted and discriminatory must be immediately withdrawn.”
“As the EPP is still silent, the S&D Group calls on the European Commission to monitor this slide from full democracy and finally sanction Orban’s government. Enough is enough.”

István Ujhelyi MEP, Head of the Hungarian delegation in the S&D Group, added:
“What is happening now to the Central European University is more than a mere threat or an act of political vengeance. It is another step towards unbridled authoritarianism akin to that of Erdogan or Putin, where independent institutions are shut down overnight. This is an act of cowardice, a disgraceful action that brings Orban’s illiberal regime to a new, darker chapter. Furthermore it sets a dangerous precedent that might jeopardize the operations of education institutions backed by the Hungarian government abroad.
“Clamping down on universities for political gain is surely not the “pro-European” approach what the EPP-ALDE coalition – counting Orban within its ranks – supposedly champions. The EPP Group’s silence is a painful reminder that the European Parliament’s biggest group is unable to sanction one of its members even if our common European values are at stake. The transformation of a young democracy into illiberal authoritarianism is happening right under our nose here, in Europe. Whoever remains silent, whoever does not stand up for our shared values loses the right to position himself as a guardian of the democratic rights our union is built upon.”