Political Briefing #16/2016


Hungary – EU law: Voucher system

The European Court of Justice declared that some elements of the Hungarian SZEP leisure card and Erzsébet food-voucher system are incompatible with Union law. These vouchers allow Hungarian employers to apply reduced tax benefits to their employees. Five features characterising this system appear to be in contrast with EU law. Among these, is the fact that Hungarian divisions of companies established in other EU member states cannot release any SZEP card.

Source: Bbj, 23/02/2016

Bulgaria – EU Members: Serbian integration

Bulgaria has declared to fully support Serbia’s European Union accession. According to the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Serbia has made enormous progresses, and for this reason he not only recognizes the constructive dialogue between the two countries but also promotes Serbia’s entrance in the Union by explaining how their collaboration is extremely important for guaranteeing the safety of supplies to southeastern Europe.

Source: Novinite, 23/02/2016

EU – Economy: Stress tests

European banks will undergo another stress test this week in order to check finances and understand whether they would be flexible enough in case of a new crisis. The test follows a recent period of turbulence, during which markets’ worries concerning slowing global growth and low interest rates has had important consequences on banking stocks. The Italian bank Monte dei Paschi si Siena is among the institutions most in trouble

Source: Times of Malta, 24/02/2016


“Europe today is facing a series of grave security challenges, from instability in the Middle East and the rise of Daesh [Isis], to resurgent Russian nationalism and aggression. Britain will have to confront these challenges, whether it is inside or outside the EU. But within the EU, we are stronger. Inside it, we can continue to collaborate closely with our European allies, just as we did when we helped to force the Iranians to the negotiating table through EU-wide sanctions, or made sure that Putin would pay a price for his aggression in Ukraine”.

Letter signed by ex-services chiefs of the Former Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, including former chiefs of defense Lord Bramall and Lord Guthrie

Source: The Guardian, 24/02/2016



The percentage of exports that The Netherlands risks losing if Britain leaves the EU.

Source: Dutchnews, 23/02/2016


The percentage by which minimum wage of unskilled workers was raised at the end of 2015 in Hungary.

Source: Bbj, 24/02/2016

Photo credits CC: Oremus Westminster Cathedral

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