Presidency won’t hold back the Commission

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EUBusiness is reporting that the fact that Hungary is the current holder of the rotating EU Presidency will not hold them back from launching proceedings if the new media law is found to be in breach of Community Law.

“If there’s an infringement of community law, the Commission will launch proceedings and the fact Hungary presides the European Union will have no bearing,” Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly said.

Bailly said EU legal experts would scrutinise the media law once they had received the translation.

“At this stage we are in talks with the Hungarian government and following clear procedures,” he said.

“But either it is in compliance with community law or there are doubts on its compliance and the Commission meets to decide to launch proceedings with a letter of warning,” he added

The entire Commission will be in Budapest on Thursday to meet with the Hungarian government, and more then likely these new media laws will come up either during the meeting or on the side of it.

It will be interesting to see where this will lead. It could definitely drag on through the entire 6 month presidency!

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Hungary Digging in its Heels

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It was has not been a great start to its Presidency, Hungary is now digging its heels in response to criticism of its controversial media law.

“It isn’t necessary to change a Hungarian law just because it is subject to criticism from abroad,” Zoltan Kovacs, state secretary for communication, told national radio.

“Before criticising, let’s wait and see how this law works. We are confident it will be up to the task,” he added.

Source

This and the fact that it hasn’t been fully translated into English are the reasons that the Hungarian Government have not responded to EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes letter from before Christmas.

This is despite criticism from home and abroad of the new law. France stated that the new law was “incompatible with the application of a certain idea of the freedom of the press, endorsed by all the European treaties.”

The largest Daily newspaper in Hungary Nepszabadsag, declared on its front page “The freedom of the press in Hungary comes to an end,” in the 27 languages of the EU.

This issue isn’t going away on the Hungarians, they may want to look at the law again or else find their Presidency being distracted by it.

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