On Tuesday, 7 June, the European Parliament and the Council reached a political agreement on a Directive to improve gender balance in large EU companies.
A pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, inflation, an energy crisis, and heated elections in several European countries such as Hungary and France. It does not take an expert to see that these events that have taken place over the past year have severely influenced the overall state of press freedom in Europe. On May 3rd, World Press Freedom Day, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published their yearly World Press Freedom Index.
‘’Our victory is so big you can see it from the moon, let alone from Brussels’’, Viktor Órban says to a cheering crowd in Budapest after winning his fourth consecutive term as Hungary’s prime minister on Sunday. And he turns out to be right. Not only did the bloc see Órbans victory, but they also responded two days after the elections by triggering a new conditionality mechanism that could deprive Hungary of up to 40 billion euros of EU funds.
The Commission is planning on using a new tool called conditionality mechanism against the Hungarian and Polish governments. The tool will allow the EU ‘’to suspend, reduce or restrict access to EU funding in a manner proportionate to the nature, gravity and scope of the breaches.’’ In other words, this mechanism will allow the Commission to freeze funds of member countries that do not comply with the EU’s rule of law standard.
The attack on Dutch journalist Willem Groeneveld is the second one in a short period of time. Over the past years, an increasing number of institutions and individuals have started to ring the alarm regarding the deteriorating state of press freedom in eastern European countries such as Hungary and Poland, and rightfully so. However, an increasingly unsteady media climate is a problem that also impacts Western European countries.
Since 1 June 2021, more than 1,000 migrants have attempted to cross the border from Belarus to Lithuania. Lithuanian prime minister Ingrida Simonyte claimed that, over the past month and a half, more migrants have tried to cross the state borders than in the last four years combined. The Lithuanian State Border Guard Service has declared a state of emergency and has started to build a fence on the almost 700km long border.