Berlin (UPI) Jan 6, 2011
Because of its controversial media and tax policies, Hungary has clashed with the European Union just as Budapest is at the helm of the 27-member body.
The center-right government led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban shocked observers across Europe when it introduced a media law that many say curtails press freedom. A few days later, more than a dozen Western European companies complained they're being discriminated against by a new Hungarian crisis tax.
The European Commission has since said it would investigate the tax and the body is likely to closely scrutinize what Budapest is doing -- Hungary since Jan. 1 has taken over the rotating six-month presidency of the EU.
"Especially the media law casts a cloud on the Hungarian presidency," Kai-Olaf Lang, a Hungary expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, a Berlin think tank, told United Press International in a telephone interview Wednesday. "The EU will now very closely watch Orban's future domestic policies and its performance at the helm of the EU."
Orban became prime minister last April after his Fidesz party won the elections in a landslide. He has since embarked on a sort of "conservative revolution" that is aimed at restoring the economic and political clout of Hungary, a nation of 10 million that has been plagued with a recession and a budget crisis.
Yet the conservative revolution has worried critics who say Orban is steering a too nationalist course, amassing too much political control and pursuing policies that go against the EU's values.
The new regulatory authority, for example, can impose heavy fines on media outlets and tries to turn state-owned news agency MTI into a public loudspeaker, Lang said.
The so-called crisis tax, imposed on the telecommunications, retail and energy sectors, has infuriated large Western companies. A group of them, including German utilities RWE and Eon, telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom and Dutch bank IN in an open letter complained that the tax was drawn up to milk large foreign corporations while sparing domestic firms.
The two recent policies and Orban's general strategy of power consolidation has launched a conflict with the EU -- and at the worst possible time, Lang said.
"The EU is interested in having a presidency that's capable of acting but at the same time it wants one that honors key values of European integration -- and press freedom is one of those," Lang told UPI. "While there won't be any short-term reactions, the EU will definitely loot out options for sanctions."
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
US, China pledge cooperation
Washington (AFP) Jan 5, 2011
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi vowed Wednesday that their countries would cooperate closely despite differences on China's currency and other issues. "We are preparing diligently for the upcoming state visit by (Chinese) President Hu Jintao," scheduled for January 19, Clinton said as she posed for photographs with Yang at the State Department. ... read more
Iron Dome delayed again amid war fears|
LM Missile Defense Programs Led Ballistic Missile Defense Efforts In 2010
Israel Nears Completion Of New Missile Alert System
U.S. may cut Israel missile shield funds
Russian Missile Maker To Build Two Plants, Expand Exports
JAGM Completes Flying Qualities Tests On Navy's Super Hornet
Taiwan will not deploy advanced rockets near China: report
France to sell HOT missile to Lebanon
Northrop Grumman Awarded Unmanned Surface Vessel Contract From DARPA
Iran Shoots Down Many Western Drones
US drone strikes kill 15 militants in Pakistan: officials
US to deploy new intelligence drone in Afghanistan: report
JICO Support System Receives Production Approval
Northrop Grumman Demonstrates MR-TCDL Capabilities
IBCS Completes Warfighter-Centered Design Exercises
Arianespace Will Orbit Sicral 2 Milcomms Satellites
Taiwan keeps close watch on Chinese stealth fighter
Accomplishments Of The Contractor-Operated Counter-Rocket, Artillery And MortarTask Order
New Helmet Enables Typhoon Pilots To Look, Lock-On And Fire
Next-Gen Long-Range Surveillance Radar Demonstrations Completed
Pentagon programs come under budget squeeze
France buys heavy trucks, missiles
India requests possible Apache sale
Iran says ready to export defense systems
US cannot accept China military power: state media
EU presidency on conflict course with EU
Outside View: Vietnam redux
US, China pledge cooperation
Navy test fires electromagnetic cannon
Joint High Power Solid State Laser Keeps Lasing And Lasing
Boeing Installing Beam Control System On HEL Laser Demonstrator
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|