Western Europe

Politics 12-04-2021

Netherlands experiments with mass events

The planned relaxation of the lockdown in the Netherlands will be postponed by one week, a spokesman for the Government Information Service told the ANP news agency. At the same time, the Netherlands is experimenting with the return of mass...
Politics 12-04-2021

Germany’s far-right AfD firms up election strategy with EU exit and anti-lockdown campaign

Germany’s far-right AfD party vowed to campaign for an end to COVID-19 restrictions, a tougher line on migration and an exit from the EU as it finalised its manifesto for the September elections on Sunday (11 April), with the radical...
Politics 02-04-2021

Fake festival in Brussels turns into riots over lockdown measures

An April Fool’s joke festival that got out of hand in Brussels’ Bois de la Cambre park drew a crowd of thousands of people, which were then dispersed by riot police for breaking COVID-19 measures. Some 20,000 people accepted a...
Politics 02-04-2021

Germany awards second round of permits to close hard coal plants

More than 1,500 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired generation will be shut from Dec. 8 this year, Germany’s energy regulator said on Thursday, announcing the results of the second round of auctions designed to cushion the cost of closing polluting plants....
Politics 01-04-2021

France goes into third COVID-19 lockdown

The latest restriction measures, which have been in force since 10 March in 19 French departments, will be extended to the whole country on Saturday for a four-week period. In addition to the 7 pm curfew already in place, non-essential...
Politics 01-04-2021

German official calls for Nord Stream 2 postponement

Germany’s Transatlantic Coordinator Peter Beyer on Wednesday called for a construction moratorium on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in a bid to repair transatlantic relations. “The project is a serious stumbling block for the restart of transatlantic relations,” Beyer told...
Politics 31-03-2021

Belgium to start vaccinating risk groups in April

In the next stage of Belgium’s vaccination campaign, people with an underlying condition between 18 and 65 years old will start receiving their jabs in April. Belgium’s healthcare funds are currently establishing the list of patients at risk on the...
Politics 31-03-2021

Germany against AstraZeneca jabs for under 60 years

Germany will deploy AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine for general use only for over-60-year-olds, the government said Tuesday, imposing restrictions for younger people taking the jab after several severe clotting cases. Under-60s can still decide to take the vaccine but only following...
Politics 30-03-2021

French court dissolves ‘official representation’ of Donetsk Republic

The Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal yesterday dissolved an association providing “official representation” of the Donetsk People’s Republic, a self-proclaimed entity in eastern Ukraine, saying it was “illegal and contrary to the law”, AFP reported. Last September, the Aix-en-Provence high court...
Politics 30-03-2021

First CDU members would choose Söder over Laschet

Eyeing low personal popularity ratings for  Armin Laschet, leader of Germany’s Christian Democrats (CDU), a group of party members have come out in support for Markus Söder, leader of the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, the CSU, as the bloc’s joint...
Politics 29-03-2021

EU countries still puzzled over Russia’s vaccine

EU countries continue to be divided over whether Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine should be added to Europe’s vaccination program. In Italy, some regions want to move on with ordering the vaccine from Moscow, while Germany and France seem not to...
Politics 29-03-2021

Merkel presses German states to get tough with COVID curbs

Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed Germany’s states on Sunday to step up efforts to curb rapidly rising coronavirus infections, and raised the possibility of introducing curfews to try to get a third wave under control. Merkel expressed dissatisfaction that some states...
Politics 26-03-2021

Has Kurz left the Frugals?

The disagreement over the distribution of vaccines at an EU leaders’ teleconference yesterday has dealt a severe blow to the informal “Frugal Four” group (Denmark, Austria, The Netherlands, Sweden), sources have told EURACTIV.com. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has criticised the...
Politics 26-03-2021

German Bundestag approves EU recovery fund

The lower house of parliament approved the legislation for the EU recovery plan on Thursday, with Chancellor Angela Merkel stressing that the EU’s plan to take on joint debt and channel the money to member states worst hit by COVID-19...
Politics 25-03-2021

Merkel rejects calls for vote of confidence over handling of pandemic

German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected on Wednesday demands by the opposition to ask the Bundestag for a vote of confidence in her government over rising discontent with her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following an acrimonious summit between Merkel and...
Politics 25-03-2021

Belgium enters new four-week Easter lockdown

Belgium has announced it will close schools, limit access to non-food stores and hairdressers for four weeks from Saturday, in a strict renewed lockdown designed to contain a rising third wave of COVID-19 infections.
Politics 23-03-2021

EU leaders struggle to solve AstraZeneca-UK equation

EU leaders are puzzled over how to handle delays in the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines produced by Anglo-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca. The issue will be discussed at a teleconference later this week. But whatever path the EU follows will have...
Politics 23-03-2021

COVID-positive French labour minister admitted to hospital

French Labour Minister Elisabeth Borne has been hospitalised after she tweeted on 14 March that she had tested positive for COVID-19, her ministry confirmed on Monday. A statement from the ministry on Monday said Borne “has been placed under medical...
Politics 22-03-2021

Germany poised to tighten COVID-19 restrictions amid case surge

Germany on Monday is set to to tighten lockdown measures into mid-April, after it had progressively began easing restrictions, first reopening schools in late February, before allowing some shops to resume business in March. “Given the current infection dynamics accelerated...
Politics 22-03-2021

Belgium extends travel ban until 18 April

Belgium’s ban on non-essential travel has been extended after the Easter holidays until 18 April. ‘Non-essential trips abroad are prohibited for persons who have their main residence in Belgium,’ the new Ministerial Decree, published on Sunday, confirmed. The travel ban, which...
Politics 19-03-2021

Belgium’s Consultation Committee to discuss potential restrictions

Although the next meeting was planned for the end of March, Belgium’s Consultative Committee will meet this Friday to discuss the alarmingly rapid spike in COVID cases in the country. But instead of relaxation, tougher measures seem to be coming....
Politics 19-03-2021

Germany resumes AstaZeneca vaccinations

Germany will resume administering AstraZeneca’s vaccine today, the country’s health minister Jens Spahn said, after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) stated that its health benefits outweighed any risks it posed. Spahn said on Thursday that suspending the vaccine had been...
Politics 19-03-2021

German MEP: Nord Stream 2 needs a ‘European’ perspective

German EU lawmaker Udo Bullmann has told EURACTIV.com that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline needs a “European” perspective to correct the “mistake” of the past. He also explained the reasons behind Berlin’s logic regarding this controversial pipeline based on foreign...
Politics 18-03-2021

German government approves lobby register law

Germany’s governing coalition has approved the introduction of a transparency register that will require Bundestag members to declare any interests they represent in a public directory and state whether their lobbying work is carried out regularly, is long-term, or is...