Orbán has begun taking steps to preserve his power

With barely a year until what looks to be a tight election in Hungary, the government is shifting considerable amounts of public assets away from the state and into foundations. The goal could be to sustain Viktor Orbán’s “System of National Cooperation” (NER) should he lose the 2022 election. EURACTIV’s media partner Telex takes a closer look.

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Briefing – Sino-Japanese controversy over the Senkaku/Diaoyu/Diaoyutai Islands: An imminent flashpoint in the Indo-Pacific? – 30-07-2021

The 50-year-old controversy between Japan, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan over the sovereignty of a group of tiny, uninhabited islets and rocks in the East China Sea, administered by Japan and referred to as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, as the Diaoyu Islands in the PRC and as the Diaoyutai Islands in Taiwan has become a proxy battlefield in the growing Sino-US great power competition in the Indo-Pacific, against the backdrop of a widening Sino-Japanese power gap. Since 1971, when the PRC and Taiwan laid claim to the contested islets and rocks for the first time, challenging Japan’s position of having incorporated them into Japanese territory as terra nullius in 1895, possible avenues for settling the controversy have either been unsuccessful or remained unexplored. The PRC’s meteoric economic rise and rapid military modernisation has gradually shifted the Sino-Japanese power balance, nourishing the PRC leadership’s more assertive, albeit failed, push for Japan to recognise the existence of a dispute. Two incidents in the 2010s, perceived by the PRC as consolidating Japan’s administrative control, led to the PRC starting to conduct grey-zone operations in the waters surrounding the islets and rocks with increasing frequency and duration, to reassert its claims and change the status quo in its favour without prompting a war. The EU has held a position of principled neutrality as regards the legal title to the disputed islands. However, the risk of unintended incidents, miscalculation and military conflict arising from the unresolved dispute poses a challenge to regional peace and stability and to the EU’s economic and security interests. The EU’s 2021 Indo-Pacific strategy takes a cooperative and inclusive approach, to promote a rules-based international order and respect for international law. This may include a greater Indo-Pacific naval presence under the strategy’s maritime security dimension.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Briefing – Artificial Intelligence and public services – 22-07-2021

AI has become a key enabling technology in public services and its use has increased over the past two years.Ensuring explainabilty of AI systems in public services is crucial but difficult to achieve in case of black-box algorithms. In AI applications in public services, focus is on law enforcement, surveillance and process optimisation. AI for front-end public services seems less of a priority. There is a growing public concern over the development and use of AI in society. With the increase of its use, the potential for errors and harms also increases.The public sector should lead the way in creating trustworthy AI. Regulatory sandboxing and pre-procurement are key for creating trustworthy AI for public services.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Highlights – Budget 2022: committee debate. Sustainable and smart mobility: vote – Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

Image Samira Rafaela standing behind the lectern
The Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality will go over its opinion on the EU Budget for 2022, on 12 July. Amongst other things, the draft asks for an increase in the European Institute for Gender Equality’s budget and an independent budget line to the objective dedicated to promoting gender equality in the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme. The Committee will then vote on its opinion on the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, on 13 July.

The latter highlights the need to tackle the underrepresentation of women as transport workers and the link with the gender gap in STEM and new technologies sectors.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

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