It’s Eurovision week! Three nights of glitter, glamour and glorious absurdity are celebrated this week across Europe (though the term ‘Europe’ can be interpreted quite loosely).
Just as saxophones and folkloristic dance beats are an inevitable part of the annual song contest, so is the layer of politics to it all.
In this episode, Headline’s researchers Margot and Liesa dive into the question of why Hungary hasn’t participated in the Eurovision Song Contest since 2019.
UK media claimed in 2019 that the Hungarian government under Viktor Orbán withdrew the country from the Eurovision Song Contest because it’s “too gay” (as quoted).
Hungarian media called those reports fake news, stating that no Hungarian government source ever said that and that it wasn’t the reason that the country was no longer participating in Eurovision.
What is behind it all? We checked the facts.
If you would like to learn more about Hungary’s relationship with the rest of Europe, you can check out the very first episode of Headline talks, in which Margot spoke to Sándor Zsíros, a Hungarian EU correspondent for Euronews.
In April all eyes were on Northern Ireland for celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, a historic peace agreement that ended the 30-year period of the Troubles.
With the Stormont Assembly currently in a deadlock over Brexit issues and with local elections coming on the 18th of May, Northern Ireland once again seems at a crossroads.
To shed some light on all this, we met up with Tony Connelly, long-time Europe Editor for the Irish public broadcaster RTÉ in Brussels and the world’s biggest Brexit expert. Tony grew up in Derry under the Troubles and covered the Northern Ireland peace process as an RTE reporter.
Margot and Tony discussed all this, plus Derry Girls themed afternoon tea, a short-lived musical EU summit career and why Tony’s eldest son calls Brexit ‘Voldemort’.
Join Margot as she dives into the complex and ever-evolving world of the Balkans with her guest, Dušan Gajić. As the Europe Correspondent of RTS and Chief Editor of SEETV, Dušan brings unique insights into the region's relationship with the EU and Russia.
He also shares his perspectives on recent tensions in the Western Balkans and the impact of the war in Ukraine.
Tying all this together is Dušan’s recent documentary ‘The Graduates’, which follows the lives of people who graduated from high school in Belgrade in 1989, the year of the fall of the Berlin wall.At the time, their horizons seemed wide open towards Europe and the world, until the Yugoslav wars started.
Widespread protests after the death of a young girl Mahsa Amini made for shock waves in Iran and the world alike.
Liesa and Fariba discussed current events in the country and how Iran’s vast and complex history plays into this. Fariba shared her insights about Iran’s hostage politics, EU-Iranian relationships and the country’s role in the war in Ukraine.
How have Iranian relations with the EU changed and what impact do (new) sanctions really have on the country?
They also touched upon Fariba’s own experiences as an Iranian and female correspondent.
Headline’s journalistic researchers Margot Cassiers and Liesa Pauwels talk about the state of abortion laws in the EU and how those are affected by recent political developments in Europe and the world.
Three months ago, on the 24th of June 2022, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade and thereby ended the federal constitutional right to abortion in the US.
This caused shock waves in the EU, and soon after reports started emerging of American anti-abortion groups funding similar organisations in Europe to try to reverse abortion laws here. At the same time, discourses that promote conservative family values and question existing reproductive rights are becoming more prominent in the European political sphere.
We are delighted to present Headline Talks, our brand new podcast on European news coverage and those at the heart of itFor the first episode, our researcher Margot Cassiers spoke to Sándor Zsíros, a Hungarian EU correspondent for Euronews.
Hungary has played a surprisingly central role in EU sanctions and policies towards Russia since the start of the war in Ukraine.
Margot and Sándor talked on Wednesday 7 September, on a day that Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán was making headlines in Brussels for his threats to block the renewal of EU sanctions against three Russian businessmen, and as the Hungarian Justice Minister was arriving in Brussels to try to negotiate the release of EU funds to Hungary.
Sándor talked about Hungary’s relationship with Russia and the European Commission, and some of the more colourful events he has covered during his time in Brussels.