European Union

Regional News • Europe
Latvia bans Russian television channel RT
Dmitry Kiselyov (touching the screen) with Vladimir Putin
Dmitry Kiselyov (touching the screen) with Vladimir Putin Credit: Пресс-служба Президента России (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

Latvian National Electronic Mass Media Council announced it has banned the state-controlled Russian television channel RT. The ban will be valid for as long as Dmitry Kiselyov, network executive, remains on the list of sanctioned persons of the European Union’s.

The Council banned seven distinct channels belonging to the multilingual network operated by RT from being broadcast in the country, accusing RT of attempting to present Latvia as a failed state.

About 30 per cent of the country's population speaks Russian as a first language, with most of them being ethnic Russians.

Regional News • Americas • South America
Uruguay is the only Latin American country in EU's Covid-19 'safe list'
Munich International Airport passport control
Munich International Airport passport control Credit: Vasyatka1 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The European Union has named 14 countries whose citizens are deemed "safe" to be let in from July 1, and the only Latin American country is Uruguay.

As infection rates in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia are still high, their nationals will face travel restrictions.

The current list is formed by Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

Climate & Environment
Germany and Netherlands to ban disposable plastic in 2021
Germany and Netherlands to ban disposable plastic in 2021
Credit: Twentyfirstidentity (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The State Secretary Van Veldhoven of the Netherlands has announced that the country will ban disposable plastic such as cups and cutlery from July 3, 2021.

The ban is part of a directive by the European Union which requires all EU countries to put similar measures in place to reduce plastic waste. Germany had already announced similar measures.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
EU member states discuss entry restrictions from multiple countries
EU member states discuss entry restrictions from multiple countries
Credit: / Christian Lue

According to CNN politics, the different member states of the European Union are discussing entry restrictions for travelers from countries "where the virus is circulating most actively" as the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions are being eased across Europe while the first Covid-19 wave is still active in various countries around the world. The European Commission is set to make recommendations to the EU member states on which countries to restrict travel from with the criteria being " focused on circulation of the virus".

Science • Physics & Engineering
CERN approves plans for a €21 billion, 100km long super-collider
View of the LHC tunnel
View of the LHC tunnel Credit: Maximilien Brice, CERN (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

CERN has approved plans to build the Future Circular Collider (FCC), a €21 billion super-collider 100 km in circumference. The new collider would smash particles together with over 100 TeV of energy to create more of the elusive Higgs bosons first detected by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2012.

In a press release, the CERN council said: "Such a machine would produce copious amounts of Higgs bosons in a very clean environment, would make dramatic progress in mapping the diverse interactions of the Higgs boson with other particles and [allow] measurements of extremely high precision".

CERN’s strategy envisions 2038 as the beginning of construction for the new collider. Still, before the institution starts building its new machine, it will have to seek new funding beyond the regular budget it receives from European member states. It is expected countries outside of Europe including the United States, China and Japan might need to help fund the project.

Climate & Environment
Spanish government proposes new energy plans, aims for 100% renewable electricity
Spanish government proposes new energy plans, aims for 100% renewable electricity
Credit: Doherty

The Spanish Government has proposed a new energy plan to surpass the efforts made by the European Union. The goal is to cut greenhouse gas reductions by 20 percent compared to 1990, which would be six points higher than the requirement of the European Union. In addition, Spain aims to revoke all fracking permits after 2040, ban the registration for CO2-emitting vehicles by 2040 and in the same year abolish all subsidies for fossil fuel emissions.

Regional News • Europe
AstraZeneca agrees to supply Europe Union members with 400 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine
AstraZeneca Manufacturing
AstraZeneca Manufacturing Credit: AstraZeneca

Europe’s Inclusive Vaccines Alliance (IVA), a group formed by the Netherlands, Germany, France and Italy, concluded a contract with AstraZeneca to provide 400 million doses of a possible vaccine developed by the University of Oxford. If the trial results convince regulators the vaccine is safe and effective, deliveries are expected to start by the end of 2020.

The company reached similar agreements with the United Kingdom and with the United States.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Brexit talks had no 'significant progress'
London Street art
London Street art Credit: Annie Spratt

The latest talks between European Union and United Kingdon on post-Brexit trade seem to have have ended with limited progress.

While the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier stated there were no "significant areas of progress", his UK counterpart, David Frost, claimed that "Progress remains limited but our talks have been positive in tone,".

Regional News • Europe
Prime minister Johnson urges EU workers to come back to the UK
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, September 2019
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, September 2019 Credit: The White House from Washington, DC / Public domain

The prime minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson has urged EU workers to come to the United Kingdom once the retail sector will re-open. This comes after Johnson campaigned before the Brexit referendum vote to reduce the number of as he phrased it "low-skilled workers" in the country. Him now saying "but we want you back" marks a change in policy.

Regional News • Americas • United States
European Union condemns George Floyd murder as 'abuse of power'
Josep Borrell
Josep Borrell Credit: Pool Moncloa/JM Cuadrado

The European Union's top foreign policy official, Josep Borrell, said the bloc is "shocked and appalled" by the killing of George Floyd, describing his death as an "abuse of power."

"Like the people of the United States, we are shocked and appalled by the death of George Floyd ... all societies must remain vigilant against the excessive use of force," Borrell told reports.

Borrell also said: "All lives matter, black lives also matter."

Regional News • Europe
Hitler's birthplace to be transformed into police station
Adolf Hitler's birthplace in Braunau, Austria
Adolf Hitler's birthplace in Braunau, Austria Credit: Thomas Ledl / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Adolf Hitler's birthplace, a townhouse in Braunau, Austria, will be converted into a police station. Austrian Minister of the Interior Karl Nehammer announced the reconstruction plans in a press conference on Tuesday. Nehammer said the decision to transform "the birthplace of a mass murderer" was "a new chapter in the history of the Second Republic". Architecture firm Marte Marte won the competition which was open for submission to firms across the EU. The townhouse has been a place of pilgrimage for Neonazis.

Regional News • Europe
Council of Europe: Security experts warn of bioterrorism

Security experts from the Council of Europe warn of a potential terrorism scenario that could come to the fore due to the social and economic effects of the corona crisis. Terrorist groups could be motivated to attack with biochemical weapons in the future, as Covid-19 has shown a global vulnerability to a pandemic according to them.

However, German security authorities had no information on an actual threat situation.

Regional News • Europe
Charlemagne-Prize recipient President fuels tension against minorities in his own country

Romania's president, Klaus Iohannis, has mocked the minority Hungarian community and the Social-Democratic Party by accusing them of "giving away in secret" a piece of the state's territory to Hungary.

The president had been nominated for the Charlemagne prize last autumn on the grounds of defending multiculturality, diversity, unity, and democracy, core values of the European Union, values that this statement of his contradicts according to political commentators. They speculate that it was probably just a political maneuver to rally the country's right-wing voters to his party for the upcoming municipal elections and that it shows the biggest flaw of Eastern European EU member states: sacrificing democratic values to strengthen the state, a leftover tradition from the Cold War.

Woman ordered by court to delete Facebook photos of her grandchildren
Facebook homepage
Facebook homepage Credit: Kon Karampelas

A court in the Netherlands ruled that a Grandmother must delete pictures of her three grandchildren that she posted on Facebook and Pinterest without their parents' permission.

The case that ended up in court after a falling-out between the woman and her daughter was within the scope of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Regional News • Europe • European Union
Germany backs France in new EU recovery fund proposal

The Franco-German agreement supports a €500 billion recovery fund to be distributed as grants, not requiring direct repayment from the countries receiving the funds. Recognizing the exceptional nature of the challenges posed by the pandemic, this is the first time Berlin has agreed to a plan based on grants instead of loans. The proposal is now in the hands of the European Commission and would require approval from all EU member states.

Lifestyle • Travel
European Union pushes for a gradual reopening of internal borders to save summer tourist season.
White boat on the sea of Mallorca, Spain
White boat on the sea of Mallorca, Spain Credit: Jacob Meissner

With travel accounting for close to 10 per cent of the bloc, European Union executive Commission urged a return to “unrestricted free movement” within Europe, with plans that include requiring face masks on airplanes and social distancing on trains.

Europen Union's external borders would remain closed for non-essential travel at least until mid-June.

Regional News • Europe
The new ESM's credit line for the covid-19 pandemic

As the Europe is in needing of liquid assets, many people went all-in with the ESM, unluckily the already two existing credit lines were not exactly what the states needed. The Eurogroup then decided to develop a new credit line exceptionally for the pandemic, last night it got definetly approved. This new credit line will be able to make a ten-year loan up to 2% of the state's GDP, with an interest fixed rate at 0,1%. This new credit line will be available from june 2020 until the end of 2022.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Air France-KLM obtain European Union approval for a 7 billion euros bailout
Air France Airbus A380-800, landing on Washington Dulles International Airport
Air France Airbus A380-800, landing on Washington Dulles International Airport Credit: Joe Ravi (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The European Union's competition watchdog on Monday approved French state aid worth 7 billion euros for Air France-KLM.

Conditions for the funding. Include the requirement for the company to be a “good customer” for European planemaker Airbus SE, which is also struggling, and a revamp of loss-making services within France.

“There will be an elimination of domestic routes,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Monday on France-Inter radio, adding that the state aid is tied to “Air France becoming the company that most respects the environment.”

Regional News • Europe • European Union
EU politicians deem Hungary's emergency law "incompatible with EU membership"

Politicians from the liberal group in the European parliament have claimed that the legislation that enables the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban to rule by decree without time limits is incompatible with an active membership in the European Union. The chair of the European parliament's rule of law group, Sophie in’t Veld, who's a Dutch member of parliament and part of the liberal group in the MEP said in a statement that Orban has succeeded with "killing democracy and the rule of law in Hungary".

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Seasonal and harvest workers no longer allowed to enter Germany

The German government is barring entry to seasonal workers from abroad, including other EU countries, in order to stem the coronavirus outbreak. Around 300,000 seasonal workers come to Germany each year to help with harvesting crops such as asparagus and strawberries.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Fashion
H&M prepares to use its capacities to supply EU with protective gear for hospitals

According to Reuters, H&M has agreed to supply the EU with protective gear for hospitals with an emphasis on face masks. After an initial offer by H&M the company and EU representatives had agreed on using the companies global network of suppliers, mainly located in China, India, Bangladesh and Vietnam, to curb the evergrowing demand after protective gear for hospitals. This will in the initial phase come in the form of a donation by the company. Inditex, owner of the brand Zara and a main competitor of H&M, had before made a similiar offer to the country of Spain.