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Lockdown: EU officials lobbied by WhatsApp and Skype

Some lobbyists are "burning the phones" to EU officials in Brussels as industry reacts to the pandemic shutdown.

Activity is less intense than in national capitals, where the big bailout money is coming up for grabs.

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2020-04-03 08:17 open_in_new
Slovak army deployed to quarantine Roma settlements

Slovakia is to deploy the army to prevent a potential Covid-19 infection spreading in and out of its Roma settlements.

The government has launched mass testing and intends possible lockdowns of whole communities, as the epidemic is likely to grow much faster in localities with poor ...

2020-04-03 08:17 open_in_new
EU: Athens can handle Covid outbreak at Greek camp

The European Commission says Greece will be able to manage a Covid-19 outbreak at a refugee camp near Athens.

"I think they can manage," Ylva Johansson, the European Commissioner for home affairs, told MEPs on Thursday (2 April).

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2020-04-03 08:17 open_in_new
New push to kick Orban's party out of centre-right EPP

Thirteen centre-right parties, from 11 countries, from Europe' largest political alliance - the European People's Party (EPP) - on Thursday (2 April) called for Hungary's ruling Fidesz party to be kicked out of the centre-right family.

The letter signifies a new push by parties for an ...

2020-04-03 08:17 open_in_new
EU launches €100bn worker support scheme

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced on Thursday (2 April) "a new solidarity instrument" of €100bn in financial assistance, in the form of loans, to support workers affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

This unemployment reinsurance mechanism ...

2020-04-03 08:17 open_in_new
EU's 'Irini' Libya mission: Europe's Operation Cassandra

With a typically forceful announcement by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on 31 March, the EU marked the launch of its new naval mission to Libya.

Codenamed Operation Irini, the Greek word for peace, it probably should have been called Cassandra after the mythical Trojan girl gifted ...

2020-04-03 08:17 open_in_new
Court: Three countries broke EU law on migrant relocation

The EU's top court ruled on Thursday (2 April) that Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic broke EU law by refusing to take in their share of asylum seekers in 2015.

"By refusing to comply with the temporary mechanism for the relocation of applicants for international protection, Poland, ...

2020-04-02 15:29 open_in_new
Journalism hit hard by corona crisis

While Europeans might currently feel overwhelmed by news, journalism itself has been hit with a double blow by the coronavirus outbreak.

Journalists themselves are constrained in their movements, with highly-limited access to events, officials, politicians and information. ...

2020-04-02 08:08 open_in_new
EU fighting shortages and faulty medical supplies

The European Commission announced on Wednesday (1 April) new "control material" that will allow laboratories to check the correct functioning of coronavirus testing kits and avoid false negatives, after a series of reports about faulty rapid tests from China.

A total of 3,000 samples of ...

2020-04-02 08:08 open_in_new
New EU navy operation to keep migrant details secret

The EU's new 'Irini' naval operation, off the Libyan coast, will not disclose how member states decide where to send any migrants rescued at sea.

This issue had previously rankled with Austria and Hungary who had threatened to derail Irini, an operation whose primary objective is to ...

2020-04-02 08:08 open_in_new
MEP: Constituents are our window into this tragedy

Constituents are our window into the tragic disruption of coronavirus.

Nurses left without protective equipment, lorry drivers stranded at borders, young gig workers fearing eviction, struggling small businesses ‒ all reach out to me with a single question: Can Europe do something? ...

2020-04-02 08:08 open_in_new
Without European patriotism, EU decline is inevitable

On 26 March, an utterly divided EU emerged from the European Council dedicated to European measures aimed at managing the severest crisis since 1929.

The coronavirus pandemic and the transpiring economic and social crises present Europe with an extraordinary opportunity: to decide to move ...

2020-04-01 15:20 open_in_new
Trying to think straight about coronavirus

"The corona crisis will be the end of globalisation."

"The euro and Schengen are doomed."

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2020-04-01 09:02 open_in_new
A coronavirus 'Marshall Plan' alone won't be nearly enough

Senior figures across Europe, from the presidents of the European Council and the European Parliament to the prime minister of Spain and the head of the OECD have all called for a "Marshall Plan" to deal with the enormous human and economic costs of the Covid-19 crisis.

The Marshall Plan ...

2020-04-01 09:02 open_in_new
Von der Leyen criticises Hungary, but fails to mention it

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen warned member state governments on Tuesday (31 March) not to weaken fundamental rights and democratic values in their fight against the coronavirus.

But the commission chief did not name Hungary in her statement, where on Monday prime minister ...

2020-04-01 09:02 open_in_new
Air pollution drops in Europe, but how long will last?

A new set of satellite images reveal that air pollution has dramatically decreased across Europe following the coronavirus lockdown measures, which have massively curtailed flights, the movement of people and the production levels of factories.

Yet experts warned that weather conditions, ...

2020-04-01 09:02 open_in_new
Human rights abusers don't wait for virus, MEPs tell EU

The EU should press ahead with new human rights sanctions despite the virus crisis, a group of MEPs has said.

"While we are focused today on the Covid-19 pandemic, we cannot forget the ongoing human rights abuses taking place around the world at the hands of dictators and kleptocrats," ...

2020-04-01 09:02 open_in_new
EU cancels April Fool's 'fake news'

The EU has urged media not to publish April Fool's 'fake news' stories this year to help combat Russian state lies.

"Protecting our democratic processes and institutions from Russian disinformation has become a major challenge in the modern era," the European Commission said in a ...

2020-04-01 09:02 open_in_new
Berlin ready to airlift Greek island refugees

German activists have collected funds to start airlifting refugees and asylum seekers from the Greek islands to Berlin.

"If the governments say yes, we can start immediately. It is a matter of organisation with a flight broker, which means it could take two days," Axel Steier of the German ...

2020-04-01 09:02 open_in_new
EU states urged to share sick patients

EU states should take in sick people from Italy and Spain for treatment in a public demonstration of solidarity, a group of MEPs has urged.

The EU should "massively" increase aid "foremost to the most severely affected [member states] like Italy, Spain, [and] some regions in France" the ...

2020-03-31 13:05 open_in_new
Věra Jourová on surveillance and Covid-19

Věra Jourová is the Czech politician who is vice-president for values and transparency at the European Commission, the body that proposes and enforces laws across the European Union.

She was listed among the 100 most influential people of 2019 by Time magazine for helping pass ...

2020-03-31 08:53 open_in_new