Hungary statement veto is met with derision, get out the glitter it’s time for Eurovision, and Commission and press corps on course for collision.
This week Hungary doubled down as the awkward man of Europe.
It was the only EU country not to sign the joint declaration on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
After a videoconference of EU foreign ministers, EU foreign policy chief Borrell confirms Hungary has blocked a common EU position on Israel-Gaza crisis.
— Alexandra von Nahmen (@AlexandravonNah) May 18, 2021
According to Rikard Jozwiak it was already clear during the EU ambassadors’ meeting that there wasn’t any unanimity on Israel and Palestine. There were no written statements from the informal Foreign Affairs Council, only notes taken by High Representative Josep Borrell.
it was clear already from the meeting of EU ambs yesterday that there wasn't any unanimity for EU conclusions/statements on #Israel / #Palestine. there was no written statements whatsoever from the informal FAC today, only notes taken by Borrell to sum up the discussion. #Hungary
— Rikard Jozwiak (@RikardJozwiak) May 18, 2021
Szabolcs Panyi pointed out this is not the first time Orbán’s government has vetoed the Council – it blocked a statement of support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong last year.
19/ Another Hungarian veto, another favor from Orbán’s government to Beijing.
"EU countries have shelved plans to issue a statement of moral support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, due to Hungary's veto."https://t.co/Gtjm1t2vbL
— Szabolcs Panyi (@panyiszabolcs) May 7, 2021
GuntramWolff said the unanimity rule needs to be dropped ASAP. EU foreign policy becomes laughable if not even simple resolutions can be agreed.
The unanimity rule in EU foreign policy needs to be dropped ASAP. #EU foreign policy becomes laughable if not even simple resolutions can be agreed… Borrell calls for Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire, but Hungary blocks joint EU position https://t.co/sk4NLXTEea
— Guntram Wolff (@GuntramWolff) May 19, 2021
Unusually, Borrell was extremely public in saying he can’t understand how one EU country cannot share the views expressed by the other 26. But he added he was satisfied with “general sense of the conversation”.
HR/VP Josep Borrell says Hungary blocked a statement on #Gaza conflict after the #FAC meeting. He says he can't understand how one EU country cannot share the views expressed by the other 26, but adds he's satisfied with "general sense of the conversation".
— Jorge Liboreiro (@JorgeLiboreiro) May 18, 2021
Dave Clarke snarked that it probably won’t mean much to civilians on the front line that, unlike the “real” thing, “informal videoconference” meetings of EU foreign ministers are not required to adopt formal conclusions.
Israeli and Palestinian civilians will be reassured to hear that an informal videoconference of EU foreign ministers is not required to adopt formal conclusions, unlike at a Foreign Affairs Council
— Dave Clark (@DaveClark_AFP) May 18, 2021
And DG Meme offered its own spin: Hungary against joint statement: final text reads “26 of 27 member states like pizza, cute animals, and watching EUROVISION”
— DG MEME 🇪🇺 (@meme_ec) May 18, 2021
And with that… YES, it is Eurovision time again! A bright, glittery ray of light in an otherwise horrible year!
Liora Kern welcomed the break from politics and misery!
— Liora Kern (@liorakern) May 14, 2021
Dave Keating thinks Eurovision is newsworthy every year – we know! – it is after all the most-watched annual live television event in the world. But 2021 it will be the first live international event in the pandemic, with lessons for #EURO2020 & #Olympics.
Personally I think #Eurovision is newsworthy every year – it is after all the most-watched annual live television event in the world (over 200m viewers)
— Dave Keating (@DaveKeating) May 16, 2021
EU Interpreters thought it celebrated Europe’s diversity: Some people love it, some don’t.
And you? Do you follow the show?
Tell us why!
— EU Interpreters (@EUInterpreters) May 19, 2021
And even the EPP Group got in on the act, wishing luck to all the performers.
— EPP Group (@EPPGroup) May 18, 2021
Guys, that’s not how it works! You HAVE to have a favourite!… Like Mikachu here with this entirely correct assessment.
Others will just be baffled by Australia’s entry at all.
And Christians will inevitably protest at some ‘Satanic’ song – this year, step forward Cyprus.
Christians protest as Cyprus 'Satanic' Eurovision song gets to final https://t.co/XyTwixbHw2
— euronews (@euronews) May 20, 2021
And since you’re here… I have some thoughts:
Malta will win, Ireland was dire, and I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Iceland were robbed last year.
And in the latest twist can’t even perform this year as one of them has caught Covid.
🙁 Iceland have had to pull out of performing at Eurovision.
Daði og Gagnamagnið will stay in the competition but won't perform live at Wednesday's rehearsal, Thursday's semi-final or the final on Saturday.https://t.co/4iiqCiWzvc
— BBC Newsbeat (@BBCNewsbeat) May 19, 2021
Today’s episode is supported by Gas Infrastructure Europe. Find out more about Decarbonisation in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe by following them online. You can also learn more about gas infrastructure’s role in the EU objectives by following the hashtag #GIEnergyDays.
📣THIS FRIDAY join our Policy Breakfast
⏰From 09:30 – 11:00 CEST
— GIE (@GIEBrussels) May 18, 2021
Finally this week, some Brussels reporters are worried about the European Commission’s post-pandemic press ‘ideas’.
The @EU_Commission has very worrying "ideas" about the role and the future of Brussels' correspondents, indeed. @SarantisMich @LorenzoConsoli
Brussels reporters worried about Commission’s post-pandemic press ‘ideas’ https://t.co/qFddQirwwk
— Maria Aroni (@aronimar) May 17, 2021
“They are treating us as followers, not as journalists,” says former president of the Brussels International Press Association LorenzoConsoli as news emerged that the Commission wants to maintain remote online access to press briefings even after the Covid crisis.
"They are treating us as followers, not as journalists," says @LorenzoConsoli in this report from @SarantisMich on new Commission "ideas" (the air-quotes are from @Euractiv) for opening up access to online press briefingshttps://t.co/lWtjm63U25
— Winneker (@CraigWinneker) May 17, 2021
DG Meme summed it up:
Commission: “We might keep offering remote access to middays”
Brussels journos: “then why are we here”
Commission: "We might keep offering remote access to middays"
Brussels journos: pic.twitter.com/TBzcTQu0fw
— DG MEME 🇪🇺 (@meme_ec) May 17, 2021
Cue an almighty Twitter spat.
Unfortunately people in the Brussels press corps have some very old-school ideas about how reporting works and cling to a model of access journalism. Please, let’s open up EU reporting it would do the Brussels bubble some good said Alexander Fanta.
Unfortunately people in the Brussels press corps have some very old-school ideas about how reporting works and cling to a model of access journalism. Please, let's open up EU reporting to people from everywhere. It would do the Brussels bubble some good.https://t.co/hTAiBiUIMt
— Alexander Fanta (@FantaAlexx) May 17, 2021
But Diego Velaquez argued this is not about access journalism, but about closing down the few remaining zones mixtes, where journalists from everywhere can interact with sources and policy makers.
This is not about access journalism, dear @FantaAlexx, but about closing down the few remaining zones mixtes, where journalists from everywhere can interact with sources and policy makers in an open context. Everything that will limit physical presence should be avoided. https://t.co/BpU5LD4WPm
— diego velazquez (@diego_bxl) May 17, 2021
I’m up for opening it up to journalists not based in Brussels, said Paola Tamma, but it shouldn’t be online only. So much interaction is lost in the work from home reporting era.
I'm up for opening it up to journalists not based in Brussels (frankly don't understand why that hasn't been the case so dar) but it shouldn't be online only. so much interaction is lost in the WFH reporting era.
— Paola Tamma (@paola_tamma) May 17, 2021
Martini Seltzermayr worried that the plan to open midday briefing to more journos could “breach anti-torture convention”.
EU plan to open midday briefing to more journos “breaches anti-torture convention,” campaigners say #fantasyheadlines
— Martini Seltzermayr (@mseltzermayr) May 17, 2021
But American EU Dude thought it more likely that Commissioner Vestager would have to probe Brussels press corps for abuse of a dormant position.
Brussels reporters worried about Commission’s post-pandemic press ‘ideas’ https://t.co/oQNRfcksLi
— American EU Dude 🇺🇸🇪🇺😎 (@AmericanEUDude) May 17, 2021
Well done, I see what you did there!