News / Europe

Hungary and EU Attempt to Find Accord in Dispute

A Hungarian protestor covers her mouth with a mask during a protest in support of the largest opposition radio station 'Klub Radio', which recently lost its radio frequency in Budapest, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012.
A Hungarian protestor covers her mouth with a mask during a protest in support of the largest opposition radio station 'Klub Radio', which recently lost its radio frequency in Budapest, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012.
Stefan Bos

About 10,000 people demonstrated in the Hungarian capital in support of an opposition radio station that is being taken off the air by the government, amid a showdown with the European Union. The protest followed a pro-government march that drew 100,000 people a day earlier.

The protesters marched Sunday in Budapest carrying placards saying "Down with censorship."  Opposition station, Klubradio, is due to go off the air March 1, after Hungary's media council, stacked with allies of Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party, pulled its frequency late last year.

Controversial laws setting up the media council drew international criticism, and the European Commission wrote to Hungary last week to express new concerns about press freedom and pluralism, citing the case of Klubradio.

Adding to the pressure the European executive has launched legal action against Hungary over contested reforms of its judiciary, central bank and data protection authority.  Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is to travel Tuesday to Brussels to meet Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to discuss the dispute.

On Saturday about 100,000 supporters of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban marched to the parliament building to protest the EU criticism .  

Some marchers carried pictures of Mr. Orban, others slogans such as "we don't want to be a colony" as well as Hungarian flags.

Among those demonstrators was a somewhat out-of-tune singing artist who had a message to the international community. She said "Hungary stood up against the world, but now we are under attack.

On Friday, before the rally, Mr. Orban pledged to change the contested legislation to avoid deepening the rift with the European Union.  

The Orban government is seeking as much as $26 billion in financial assistance from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, although Mr. Orban tried to play down the request when speaking to reporters.

"But I would like to say clearly that what we need is just precautionary.  It is very important otherwise, you know, [there will be the] accusation which is going on among the European citizens like in [the case of] Greece, that the Germans feel that they finance something, which does not make the necessary efforts to help himself.  You know, I would not like to get that picture on Hungary," he said.

The prime minister adds the loan is aimed to make Hungary strong again on the market, after several rating agencies downgraded the country's debt to “junk” amid concerns over the political and economic situation in the country.

The IMF and European Commission have made clear that talks on assistance may only resume if key Central Bank and other legislation has been changed.

And with European officials also concerned about pressure on media and churches, more debates, and demonstrations, are expected.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs