Jourová: Commission unable to act on Orbán-ally Hungarian media giant

On the occasion of EURACTIV's launch of its new 'Digital & Media' hub, Editor Samuel Stolton caught up with the Commission's Vice President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, to discuss the wide range of issues currently impacting the European media landscape. 

The Commission's Vice President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová. [Shutterstock]

KESMA, an Orbán-ally conglomerate comprising nearly 500 media groups, was in financial terms too small for intervention as competition law was designed for bigger mergers, European Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová told Euronews on Monday (3 May).

In 2016, a complaint was filed on the alleged excessive funding of public broadcast media in Hungary, with concerns raised by former MEP Benedek Jávor, the news platform Klubrádió, and the Budapest media policy think tank Mérték.

In 2019, a separate complaint was issued by the contingent, on the subject of state aid being offered to media organisations in the country in the form of public advertising.

“This frustration that we can not do anything through competition rules leads us [to] think about better rules,” Jourova added.

Commission still assessing 2016 complaint into Hungarian media state aid

An investigation into state aid for Hungary’s media sector is still being investigated by the European Commission four years after the complaint was first submitted, the EU executive confirmed today (27 July).

Reacting to the Commissioner’s comments, Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga said Jourova “says she would have the appetite to punish Hungary but rules don’t let them do it.”

“So ‘sad’ rules prevent politically driven acts by Eurocrats,” she wrote on Twitter.

(Vlagyiszlav Makszimov | EURACTIV.com)

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