This week, the State of the Union puts us to sleep, Viktor Orban is the EU’s black sheep, and the copyright vote makes free-speech activists weep.
This week we are supported by EFA, the associations looking out for Europe’s allergy and asthma patients. More about them at the end.
This week we were subjected to what could be Jean Claude Juncker’s last ever State of the Union address. In case you weren’t aware, this whole showboating extravaganza was started by previous Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso,
— Elena (@Elena2020) September 7, 2010
and is traditionally marked by massive indifference from anyone not in the EU bubble,
@ktowens WHAT IS SOTEU?! Sounds like a Sardinian surname!
— Aimee Van Vliet (@AimeeVanVliet) September 12, 2012
Eurocrats dusting-off their bullshit bingo cards,
🇪🇺 Commission President @JunckerEU will deliver his #SOTEU address at @Europarl_EN tomorrow, so it's time to play #SOTEUbingo again!
Watch the debate on 12/09 from 9AM CET and share your predictions with us ☑️ pic.twitter.com/g74lgYsZfp
— acumen public affairs (@AcumenPA) September 11, 2018
and in some cases indulging in unwise drinking games (this is Juncker after all),
— Georg von Harrach (@yourmeps) September 12, 2018
and Berlaymonster wheeling out his excruciating “crowd goes mild” joke.
Yes, I say this every year.
But as long as they keep saying the same facile things year in year out, so will I. https://t.co/XX3NlWDuJq
— Berlaymonster (@Berlaymonster) September 12, 2018
The monster says as long as they keep saying the same facile things year in year out, so will he.
Hey, Juncker even wears the same clothes year in year out – as spotted by our very own eagle-eyed Evan Lamos.
— Evan Lamos (@evanlamos) September 12, 2018
However we were spared the “Big on big things. Small on small things” line. Instead the theme was European sovereignty.
— Jean-Claude Juncker (@JunckerEU) September 12, 2018
There was also quite a lot about migration and something about keeping Europe in the Space Race… uh-ok.
But as Marietje Schaake pointed out, very few concrete proposals.
— Marietje Schaake (@MarietjeSchaake) September 13, 2018
Spoof account Martini Seltzermayr asked: which foodstuff will feature in SOTEU and sure enough the response was “fudge.”
POLL: which foodstuff will feature in #SOTEU
— Martini Seltzermayr (@mseltzermayr) September 11, 2018
In more concrete action, two thirds of MEPs voted to punish Hungary for undermining democratic values.
— Peter Murphy (@MurphyPeterN) September 12, 2018
Triggering Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty opens the way for sanctions against the country as well as a loss of voting rights in the European Council.
But increasingly authoritarian leader Viktor Orban seemed blase about the whole affair, sauntering in late, laughing and interrupting MEP Judith Sargentini.
— Nora Hamadi (@NoraHamadi) September 11, 2018
47 EPP parliamentarians voted to defend Orban, the majority from eastern Europe and Berlusconi’s Forza Italia.
British Conservative MEPs also mostly voted with Orbán’s party. Only a few broke ranks to abstain, reported Jennifer Rankin.
British Conservative MEPs mostly voted with Viktor Orbán's party on today's rule of law vote.
A few broke ranks to abstain.https://t.co/CW8APFChCe
— Jennifer Rankin (@JenniferMerode) September 12, 2018
And Filipe Henriques just had to raise the Spitzenkandidat issue again, saying that’s the only reason the vote went the way it did. “Had Manfred Weber not have his eyes on the post, he would have kept his support for Orban.”
And… sorry to say, but the only reason the report was approved yesterday was because of the Spitzenkandidat process. Had Manfred Weber not have his eyes on the post, he would have kept his support for Orban.
Politicization works and makes EU more democratic.
— Filipe Henriques (@FHenriques) September 13, 2018
Orban was not the only big name in Parliament in Strasbourg this week. Global music star Wyclef Jean also put in an appearance ahead of the controversial copyright vote.
The European Parliament in Strasbourg. Where Wyclef Jean and Viktor Orban will be hanging out tomorrow pic.twitter.com/J68JAHAAkN
— Mehreen (@MehreenKhn) September 10, 2018
WIRED called the vote a “bombshell ruling” that could change the web worldwide.
This bombshell ruling could force Instagram, Medium, WordPress, and more to monitor their users' posts for copyright violations. What's more the platforms would be liable. https://t.co/rMgNeo2tWf
— WIRED (@WIRED) September 13, 2018
Right on one bit, wrong on the other. It’s not a “ruling” yet it still needs to be rubber-stamped in trialogue.
That didn’t stop rapporteur Axel Voss celebrating like he’d just won the lottery.
'Catastrophic': EU Passes Copyright Directive Including Internet 'Link Tax' and 'Upload Filter' https://t.co/AKqgUQJlO0
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 13, 2018
I suppose someone had to be happy, but a lot of other people were describing the decision to approve upload filters and a link tax as a catastrophe.
And it seems, according to an interview with Swedish journalist Emanuel Karlsten, that Voss didn’t even realise that the draft will forbid sports fans from taking any pictures or videos of sports events.
LISTEN: Rapporteur Axel Voss is surprised when I tell him he passed the article that forbids people to record or take a picture of football games.
"Oh, it was on today"?
(interview in english) https://t.co/xFz97sMU1j #copyright #uploadfilter #article13 #eupol
— Emanuel Karlsten (@emanuelkarlsten) September 12, 2018
But won’t someone please think of the MEMEs! How are we supposed to keep doing this show without MEMEs!? I think we can all come together to agree, that’s the real tragedy here!
This week’s sponsor EFA is organising an Atopic Eczema Day for the first time ever. Check out the hashtag #AtopicalLives to find out more about the launch event.
For the first time ever we are organising an #AtopicEczemaDay to raise awareness about the great impact #AtopicEczema has in our lives. Join the #AtopicalLives launch event: https://t.co/FB9ZS9XEYf#AtopicDermatitis pic.twitter.com/7uhamjlno0
— EFA Patients (@EFA_Patients) September 11, 2018
And that’s it for this week! Join me again next Friday for more brawls and balls in the Brussels Bubble Twittershpere.