Tweets of the Week: Hungarian Block, Eurovision, Commission Press Plans

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.

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.

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.

GuntramWolff said the unanimity rule needs to be dropped ASAP. EU foreign policy becomes laughable if not even simple resolutions can be agreed.

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”.

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.

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”

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!

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.

EU Interpreters thought it celebrated Europe’s diversity: Some people love it, some don’t.

And even the EPP Group got in on the act, wishing luck to all the performers.

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.

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.

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.

Finally this week, some Brussels reporters are worried about the European Commission’s post-pandemic press ‘ideas’.

“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.

DG Meme summed it up:

Commission: “We might keep offering remote access to middays”

Brussels journos: “then why are we here” 

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.

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.

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.

Martini Seltzermayr worried that the plan to open midday briefing to more journos could “breach anti-torture convention”.

But American EU Dude thought it more likely that Commissioner Vestager would have to probe Brussels press corps for abuse of a dormant position.

Well done, I see what you did there!

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