Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
For now the European Commission is still focused on the main EPP pre-occupation these days, the deficit, which might actually strengthen the Orbán government. The suspension of cohesion fund payments is opposed even by the Hungarian Socialists (a MEP spoke up against it, saying it punishes local governments, regions, enterprises and the population for the mistakes of the national government).

The Venice Commission is much better. It remains to be seen however whether its extensive criticisms (and the one seen by Spiegel is their fourth report on the legal changes if I counted right) will be a basis for a broader Commission action. It is also important whether more EPP MEPs will speak up and voice criticism. At least in Hungary: in recent days, Orbán and his minions again upped the rhetoric about the international leftist conspiracy that is supposed to be behind Hungary's troubles in the EU.

I don't expect Commission action on changes in labour law, of course. On this front, however, the local green party (LMP) launched five referendum initiatives, four of which went through the obligatory vetting and are in a phase of signature collection (I signed at a 10,000-strong protest of the unions on Saturday). The four referendum questions aim to:

  1. restore the right of employees to determine the timing of two thirds of their paid vacations;
  2. restore obligatory education until an age of 18 (the government wants to reduce it to 16);
  3. restore a limit of 100 days for probational employment (the government wants to double the time period for this form of employment with reduced labour rights);
  4. restore unemployment benefit payable for 260 days (the government cut it to just 90 days),

Of course, the LMP referendum initiative isn't opposed by Fidesz media only, but the neoliberals in opposition media, too... at least the party with the most neoliberal programme (that of formerly Socialist former PM Gyurcsány) had enough tactical clout to give its support.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 04:49:13 AM EST
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