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Pócs, Balázs

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5 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.

Népszabadság - Hungary | 06/07/2007

Sex for the EU

The EU recently launched an Internet PR campaign using EUtube at Youtube in a bid to win support for its objectives. A commercial advertising the EU's film funding programme has caused a stir because it features a collage of sex scenes from prize-winning European films like "Amélie", "Head-On" and "Goodbye Lenin". Conservative politicians have shown little support and the homosexual scene has elicited criticism from Poland. Balázs Pócs thinks the commercial is wonderful: "The EU's communication department has come out of its long hibernation and discovered how to talk to Europeans. At the beginning of the video a man and woman tear each other's clothes off and then things get really hot... One thing's for sure: many EU measures will soon be forgotten, but this funding programme will stick in people's minds for a long time to come."

Népszabadság - Hungary | 03/07/2007

José Sócrates' challenges ahead

Balázs Pócs examines why after 21 years of EU membership Portugal is still perceived as Europe's poorhouse: "Why hasn't Portugal managed to achieve what Spain and Ireland, who joined later, have accomplished? According to Teixeira dos Santos, Portugal's minister of finance, the problem is that Portugal failed to push through tough reforms in the late 1990s, before the conversion to the euro. "At the time, the Portuguese were under the illusion that the country was well on its way to prosperity. Despite a growing budget deficit, governments neglected to introduce reforms for the sake of maintaining their popularity. Prime Minister José Sócrates is now determined to get the Portuguese economy back on track... This is urgently needed, because the Portuguese are gradually losing their self-confidence. And that's hardly surprising: in the latest ranking of EU countries according to per capita gross domestic product, Portugal was overtaken by two new EU members, the Czech Republic and Slovenia."

Népszabadság - Hungary | 28/06/2007

EU goes YouTube

Balázs Pócs makes fun of the YouTube films with which the European Commission is hoping to reach a younger audience: "Who wants to listen for a whole ten minutes to a report about the advantages of the Galileo navigation system, which is to go into operation later and at a higher price than originally planned? The piece on climate change is also uninspiring: in a mock report that is supposed to be true-to-life, a friendly man recommends using public transport to get to work... The EU's films are reminiscent of the propaganda films that cinemagoers were forced to sit through under socialism. The young people of today can hardly imagine doing this. It's nice of the EU to unintentionally offer us a journey into the past."

Népszabadság - Hungary | 29/08/2006

New EU member states outstripping Portugal

According to a Eurostat study on economic development in the different EU states, several new members now have stronger economies than Portugal. Portugal has been an EU member since 1986, and has received considerably more EU funding than the new EU members in the years since it joined. The daily's Brussels correspondent Balazs Pocs cites Portugal as a negative example of the handling of EU funding. "Opening new roads and buildings is a favourite activity of politicians, and Portugal's politicians are no exception. They don't want to be distracted by statistics according to which the country's productivity is well below the average, its workforce is poorly educated, its old industries are fighting a losing battle with international competitors and its salaries are too low… The Portuguese have only slowly come to realise it makes better sense to spend the millions from Brussels on creating jobs, investing in high-end technologies and creating sustainable value."

Népszabadság - Hungary | 22/08/2006

The EU's battle against alcohol

The EU has published the results of its "Alcohol in Europe" study about the impact of alcohol consumption on health, society and the economy. The paper's Brussels correspondent Balazs Pocs points out that alcohol abuse is a major problem in Hungary, too, and welcomes the EU project aimed at creating a common alcohol policy. "The statistics are worrying. Europe as a continent has the highest per capita alcohol consumption in the world. The trend of getting drunk is spreading fastest among the young, both in northern and in southern Europe. Minors are particularly at risk… The member states decide on a joint European strategy together. If just one member says no to the policy the project will collapse and we'll be left asking: Does this country really not want the EU to interfere in health policy issues or is this just another victory for the alcohol industry lobby?"

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