Western Europe

Politics 15-01-2021

Belgium rolls out opening of vaccination centres

While the vaccination of residential care centres is currently underway, Belgium is consolidating the locations for nationwide vaccination centres, which according to government information should be ready by March. From Monday (18 January), the vaccination of hospital staff will start,...
Politics 15-01-2021

France to strengthen border controls, extend curfew

France will adopt a 6pm nationwide curfew “for at least 15 days” as of Saturday, “tighten the conditions of entry into the national territory and strengthen border controls,” Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Thursday evening while listing France’s new...
Politics 14-01-2021

Riots in Brussels after death of black man in police custody

Hundreds of people rioted in Brussels on Wednesday night over the death a 23-year-old man in police custody at the weekend. Police said about 500 people gathered Wednesday close to Brussels-North police station over the death of a person identified...
Politics 14-01-2021

Castex faces angry Senate over slow vaccination strategy

French Prime Minister Jean Castex attempted on Wednesday to defend the government’s vaccination strategy before an angry Senate that was highly critical of its slowness. “Don’t try to judge our vaccination strategy, which will take several months, you know that...
Politics 14-01-2021

Group of CDU leaders comes out in support of Laschet

After suffering in recent opinion polls, North Rhine-Westphalian leader Armin Laschet gained a boost in the race for the CDU helm on Wednesday, after receiving endorsements from five CDU parliamentary group leaders from the country’s eastern and western states. “We...
Politics 13-01-2021

France pledges to protect 30% of its territory by 2022

France’s ecological transition ministry unveiled on Tuesday its new national protected areas strategy, which aims to protect 30% of its areas by 2022. Fulfilling such a goal should not be too difficult, since 29.5% of France’s land area is already...
Politics 13-01-2021

Söder starts debate over mandatory vaccinations for healthcare workers

Bavarian leader Markus Söder (CSU) kicked off a debate on Tuesday, after suggesting that Germany’s healthcare workers, particularly those in nursing homes, should be required to get immunised against the virus, the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported. Given the increased...
Politics 12-01-2021

Returning travellers cause infection spike in Brussels

As the number of COVID-19 infections has been increasing over the past week in the Brussels region due to travellers returning from abroad, experts are now calling for border closures. According to the Brussels Health Inspectorate, an average of 1,816...
Politics 12-01-2021

France receives first batch of Moderna vaccines

The areas most impacted by the pandemic in France will receive doses from the first batch of Moderna vaccines authorised by the EU last Wednesday and delivered to France on Monday. More than 50,000 additional doses of vaccine will be...
Politics 12-01-2021

Merkel calls Trump Twitter ban ‘problematic’

The recent permanent suspension of US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account for risk of further incitement of violence was described as “problematic” by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday. Determining restrictions on free speech to handle things like hate speech...
Politics 11-01-2021

Austrian labour minister steps down after plagiarism affair

Following accusations of plagiarism, Austrian Labour and Families Minister Christine Aschbacher (ÖVP) announced her decision to leave the government, saying “media and political companions” had judged her prematurely. The now-former labour minister faced accusations of plagiarism regarding her diploma thesis...
Politics 11-01-2021

Belgium asks for ‘fair share’ of vaccines

Belgium will apply for ten million additional Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccines, Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke announced over the weekend. At the same time, there is still no official database on vaccination efforts. “We’re asking for a fair share,” Vandenbroucke said on...
Politics 11-01-2021

France doing everything to avoid ‘catastrophic’ situation

“We are doing everything we can to prevent the spread of this variant,” Health Minister Olivier Véran told Europe 1/CNews/Les Échos on Sunday morning in reference to the new coronavirus variant that recently emerged in the UK. Eight more departments...
Politics 11-01-2021

Heightened security at the Bundestag

Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble has organised an increase in security for the German parliament building according to a report in the Bild am Sonntag. The move comes after lawmakers made the call late last week to increase security around the...
Politics 18-12-2020

Germany under fire from China and Russia at UN

During a recent UN Security Council meeting, Germany exchanged heated words with Russia and China over humanitarian aid to Syria. During the heated meeting on Wednesday, representatives of Moscow and Beijing questioned Germany’s suitability for a permanent seat on the...
Coronavirus 17-12-2020

Vaccine logistics: the tough part is just beginning

The European Medicine’s Agency is expected to approve Pfizer’s vaccine at an extraordinary meeting on 21 December and then, within three days, the European Commission is set to give its final green light. As for the vaccination process, in practice, everything depends on the readiness of EU countries, especially when it comes to logistics.
Politics 16-12-2020

As France lifts lockdown measures, culture sector remains closed

Various actors from the world of entertainment and culture in France protested on Tuesday, calling on the government to “lift the lockdown on culture” after it decided to lift the country’s second lockdown as of Tuesday but announced that venues...
Politics 16-12-2020

Belgium could start vaccinating earlier than 5 January

After the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it will meet next Monday to assess the approval of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said Belgium could be ready to start vaccination sooner if the first...
Politics 16-12-2020

Germany’s CDU takes shot at public broadcasting

The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) could be taking aim at Germany’s public broadcasting networks ahead of the 2021 election, following a proposal from the party’s “Federal Committee of Experts on the Economy, Jobs, Taxes”, calling for their privatisation – a...
Politics 15-12-2020

France launches mass COVID screening, targets a few areas

The French government’s mass COVID-19 screening strategy to better control the pandemic was launched in the cities of Le Havre and Charleville-Mézières on Monday – the day before the second lockdown came to an end in France on Tuesday, AFP...
Politics 15-12-2020

CDU party conference to go fully digital

After delays and debates around the format, the Christian Democrat Union (CDU) party will meet entirely virtually to decide on a new leader in mid-January, following a formal decision from the party’s executive committee on Monday. Also read: German leadership...
Politics 14-12-2020

Majority of Belgians in favour of strict COVID-19 rules

A majority of Belgians support the containment measures, will respect social rules during the Christmas holidays and are aligned with confinement measures, according to a new country-wide survey. A large majority of Belgians (78%) say they will respect the rules...
Politics 14-12-2020

Germany to go into full lockdown starting Wednesday

In the face of rising infections, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany’s 16 state leaders have agreed to implement a stricter lockdown starting Wednesday, forcing all stores – except for those selling necessities – to close until 10 January, and most...
Politics 11-12-2020

Wallonia threatens to veto Brexit deal

Minister-President of the Walloon Region, Elio Di Rupo (PS), said he does not rule out blocking future trade agreements, such as a previous regional Walloon government did a few years ago with CETA. “We’ve been living according to Boris Johnson’s...
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