Western Europe

Politics 23-07-2021

Austrian coalition in disagreement over climate protection

After Austria’s Greens pushed a re-evaluation of the CO2 intensity of various road construction projects through parliament, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has criticised the party’s stance on climate protection. Climate protection should not be “a way back to the stone age,”...
Politics 23-07-2021

Merkel calls on Germans to get vaccine in final press conference

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for Germany’s citizens to get vaccinated in a bid to halt the spread of the Delta variant on Thursday, in what is likely to be her last press conference as chancellor before she steps down...
Politics 22-07-2021

Commission’s rule of law report sparks controversy in Austria

After the European Commission pointed out some worrying developments in Austria in its rule of law report, several politicians and anti-corruption experts voiced their concerns over the deterioration of the country’s performance in some areas of the report. The report “is a...
Politics 22-07-2021

Undocumented migrants suspend hunger strike as deadlock is broken

The undocumented workers on hunger strike in Brussels suspended their hunger strike on Wednesday after agreements were made in principle between the government and representatives of the migrants, EURACTIV’s media partner The Bulletin reported. “There have been meetings with the...
Politics 22-07-2021

France could soon reimpose COVID-19 restrictions as cases soar

As France experienced a new peak of COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, with 18,000 cases detected within 24 hours, Prime Minister Jean Castex has confirmed that new restrictions may be imminent. With the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant now wreaking havoc...
Politics 22-07-2021

Germany buys itself free with Nord Stream 2 agreement

The conflict between Berlin and Washington over the construction of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline bringing Russian gas to Germany has been laid to rest with a joint declaration “in support of Ukraine, European energy security, and our climate...
Politics 21-07-2021

France mulling new COVID-19 restrictions

As France faces an “explosion” of COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant, according to government spokesman Gabriel Attal, the executive seems to be considering new restrictions. New measures may include early closing hours for restaurants, the renewed obligation to...
Politics 21-07-2021

Germany’s flooded areas promised financial relief

Chancellor Angela Merkel and conservative chancellor hopeful Armin Laschet visited flooded areas in western Germany on Tuesday, promising speedy financial aid to the regions. The area “is hit so hard that it really leaves you speechless,” said Merkel in Munstereifel,...
Politics 21-07-2021

EU Commission report slams Austria for attacks on judiciary

A series of worrying trends, including the verbal attacks on the judiciary’s independence, integrity risks of MPs and the high amount of state advertisements, are to be seen in Austria, the European Commission wrote in its second country-specific report on the...
Politics 20-07-2021

French police arrest former member of Italy’s Red Brigades

French police arrested a former member of Italian far-left movement, the Red Brigades, on Monday at the request of the Italian authorities. Maurizio Di Marzio, 61, was the last member of the movement still on the run following the raid...
Politics 20-07-2021

German central bank optimistic about recovery

Germany’s economy is set to accelerate even more than in the second quarter of 2021 if the pandemic does not create “significant setbacks” and if supply shortages can be overcome at least in part, according to the central bank’s monthly...
Politics 20-07-2021

Belgium sets new rules for travel returns from ‘high risk areas’

Travelers returning to Belgium from “high-risk” areas in the EU or Schengen, and who are not fully vaccinated will be required to take a PCR coronavirus test on the first and seventh day after arrival. If the result is positive,...
Politics 20-07-2021

Austria, Romania slam EU forest strategy

Austria and Romania are among 10 EU countries demanding a wide-reacing debate on the EU’s new forest strategy, one of the European Green Deal’s flagship initiatives proposed last week. The two countries said forestry falls under EU member states’ competence and cannot...
Politics 19-07-2021

Record rainfalls and flooding reaches Austria

After Western Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands were hit by hit by unprecedented flash floods on Thursday, record rainfalls also triggered severe floods in Austria during the weekend. Multiple regions were hit by heavy rainfall. In many areas more...
Politics 19-07-2021

Belgium to apply for EU financial aid from relief fund

Belgium will seek several hundred million euros in aid from the EU solidarity fund as the country’s authorities have now confirmed 31 deaths following flash flooding that hit the south-east of the country last week. “There is a lot of...
Politics 19-07-2021

France to ban culling of male chicks in 2022

France will ban the practice of culling male chicks from 2022, a practice that sees 50 million male chicks killed each year, announced Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie. This practice denounced as barbaric by animal welfare groups ensures that only females,...
Politics 19-07-2021

Chancellor hopeful Laschet under fire following deadly floods

Armin Laschet, the conservative pick to replace Angela Merkel as chancellor, has been sharply criticised after he was seen laughing during a speech by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier about devastating flash floods that have left more than 150 people dead....
Politics 16-07-2021

Austrian committee concludes investigation on Ibiza corruption scandal

The Austrian committee investigating corruption in the former ÖVP-FPÖ coalition government concluded its last session on Thursday, with opposition parties criticising Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz’s conservative ÖVP party for misconduct. Green faction leader Nina Tomaselli accused the ÖVP-FPÖ coalition of...
Politics 16-07-2021

At least 42 dead after flash floods hit western Europe

 At least 42 people have died in Western Germany and dozens remained missing on Thursday after unprecedented flooding also hit Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands. Swollen rivers caused by record rainfall across western Europe swept through towns and villages, leaving...
Energy 16-07-2021

France sceptical about extending carbon pricing to buildings, transport

France expressed "reservations" about the social consequences of extending the carbon market to the building and transport sectors, a proposal put forward by the European Commission on Wednesday (14 July). EURACTIV France reports.
Politics 15-07-2021

Austria welcomes Commission’s ‘Fit for 55’ climate package

A number of Austrian politicians have praised the EU climate package for its ambitious goals on emission trading, energy taxation and measures to mitigate the social effects of the green transition. “Our goal as the European Union must be to...
Politics 15-07-2021

Virus case numbers rise 84%, hospital admissions stable

Over the past week, an average of 1,066 new COVID-19 infections has been detected per day in Belgium, an increase of 84% over the previous week. At the same time, however, an average of 17 patients was hospitalised each day,...
Politics 15-07-2021

Thousands rally in France to protest stricter health pass rules

Several protests took place across France on Bastille Day (14 July), two days after President Emmanuel Macron unveiled his strict strategy to tackle rising infections, including the compulsory vaccination for healthcare workers, and a health pass needed to go to...
Politics 15-07-2021

Most Syrian adult refugees in Germany depend on social welfare

Almost two-thirds (65%) of Syrian refugees in Germany of working-age were at least partially dependent on the social welfare scheme Hartz IV in March compared to 43% of Afghan refugees, according to the German labour agency’s June 2021 report. As...