More than 40,000 people signed up to run the Brussels 20km yesterday, on a Sunday that was brimming with a great atmosphere and car-free roads. But such late-spring days could be numbered, thanks to the scorching heat.
Running the last 2km of the race along Avenue de Tervueren towards the infuriatingly-far-away Cinquantenaire arch, you couldn’t help but notice the dehydrated bodies of fellow runners littering the home stretch.
It was a hot one. Brussels firemen had done their best to open up water fountains along the route and there were plenty of hydration stations every few kilometres but even some generous cloud cover didn’t stop the mercury rising.
Ahead of the race, a former royal cardiologist had called the 20k an “invitation to misery” and urged the organisers to bring the start time forward in order to try and avoid the worst of the predicted 30 degrees temperatures.
Red Cross Belgium, which dispatched over 400 volunteers and staff to the race route, reported that 200 people had to be treated, including 20 due to heatstroke.
Earth is currently in its 400th consecutive hotter-than-average month and April in Europe was the warmest on record. You don’t have to be a climate scientist (or US President) to realise there’s a trend there.
It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks for EU negotiators, as they try to broker deals on some crucial energy laws, and an even busier summer for the Commission.
A crack team of officials is reportedly going to stay on during the break to ensure a landmark 2050 climate strategy is ready by November.
Climate boss Miguel Arias Cañete is insistent that the plan will aim for net zero emissions by mid-century, backed by falling renewable prices and improved storage tech.
Whether that will be enough to stabilise the climate is another thing but it’s at least encouraging to see that Berlaymont boffins are treating this so seriously that they’re willing to stay in the Bubble ghost town during July and August to crunch the numbers.
A clue for the renewed zeal may lie in the mood in some capitals. “We are really angry about the lack of ambition on climate. I mean, we’re talking about legislation that will govern our lives for the next thirty years,” one EU diplomat told EURACTIV recently.
On a brighter note, it was a great weekend for Wales. First, Gareth Bale proved he’s the only Real Madrid player worthy of silverware, then your humble Brief-writer posted a time faster than sprightly Council boss Donald Tusk. Maybe running for office should be my next move…
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By Alexandra Brzozowski
Italy is at it again: PM-designate Giuseppe Conte is out already as the draft government crumbled after the president vetoed an overly Eurosceptic pick for finance minister. While the country slides towards early elections, a technocrat will now take over the 65th government in 72 years.
We’ll spare you any more Bruxsplaining of Italy’s political system though, as there are too many hot-takes on twitter from suddenly-experts; give this guy a follow instead.
Is immigration a threat or an asset for Europe? As the 2015 migrant crisis caught Europe off guard, we look into the challenges presented by migration in six EU countries: While French law zooms in on solidarity offence, an Romania MEP argues for a proper EU migration budget.
Supporters of the far-right German AfD marched through the streets of Berlin, but were heavily outnumbered by counter-demonstrations. Their secret weapon: a convoy of DJ-carrying trucks to “bass away” the AfD.
Just as the EU seemed to have a united stance on Iran, Poland highlighted the cracks and put itself forward as a mediator between Brussels and Washington.
Compared with the Silicon Valley start-up culture, Europe has long been a laggard in developing new technologies. Berlin and Paris now want to help kick start a “European Google.”
Is there life on Mars? One Italian project is thinking about growing olives on the Red Planet. What seems more like Hollywood sci-fi than a genuine farming prospect could soon come to fruition.
Look out for…
It’s Strasbourg week once again. Look out for the Plenary Session debates tomorrow clashing over the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027 and the never-ending story of posting of workers rules.
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