In the past week, Hungary’s government led by self-styled Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been faced with one of the biggest challenges since his accession to power in 2010. Hundreds of thousands of Hungarians took to the streets on Tuesday and last weekend to protest against the recently announced tax on Internet use – a measure proposed by the Ministry of Economy, but initiated by Orbán himself. The Internet tax would see an introduction of a levy of some 150 forints (0.49 euros) for each downloaded gigabyte. While this is not the first unorthodox measure to shore up Hungary’s stagnating economy, given the size of the revolt that it has generated among Hungarians, it would appear that the Fidesz government has this time shot itself in the foot. However, there are signs that plans for the tax will be dropped, with Orbán stating on radio that he plans to launch a public debate on Internet regulation in January 2015. Continue reading
Desertification and land degradation affect millions of people in the Sahel and the Sahara, home to the world’s poorest populations. In a place where around two-thirds of the land cover consists of drylands and deserts, desertification makes its way – boosted by human pressure, deforestation and climate change. Food security and the livelihood of local communities are at stake.
The will of facing this challenge lies at the core of the Great Green Wall (GGW). This ambitious initiative, which aims to be a game changer in African drylands, was originally conceived as a band of drought-resistant trees stretching from Senegal to Djibouti, and has turned into a patchwork of actions oriented to increase resilience and fuel rural development.
Eulogio Montijano, from the EU Delegation to the African Union and Project Manager of different projects in support of the GGW explains the origins, timeline and objectives. Continue reading
In a move to reach out to UKIP voters and its own backbenchers, the UK Conservative Party has announced its will to adopt its own British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities and transform the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) into an advisory body, a plan which is likely to lead to the UK’s withdrawal from European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). After having reviewed the main tensions between Strasbourg and London, the article analyses the consequences such bold move could have on both the Council of Europe and the European Union before concluding that this state of play proceeds not from a eurosceptic trend but from a British ‘sovereignism creep’. Continue reading
On the 10th October 2014, UKIP achieved a seat in the UK House of Commons. This feat has been the dream, indeed craving, of the party since its earliest years – one which had been denied them, until yesterday. UKIP’s victory in the European elections and its success in entering parliament have far reaching consequences for British politics.