Tuesday, 27 October 2020: Erdogan called European politicians fascists, EU demands information from Frontex and Athens about pushbacks, Coronavirus forces Council of the EU to reduce meetings to absolute minimum


Erdogan called European politicians fascists: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned European leaders on Monday, claiming that they supported a policy of hostility towards Islam and Muslims. “You are in the truest sense of the word fascists,” Erdogan said at an event in Ankara, insulting them as “links in the chain of the Nazis. Erdogan has been singling out Emmanuel Macron – questioning his mental state and suggesting he needs treatment – after the French president outlined measures which he said would protect his country’s secular values against radical Islam. Erdogan reiterated on Monday that the French president needed “mental checks,” even after his previous similar comments prompted France to recall its envoy to Turkey on Saturday. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas described Erdogan’s verbal attacks against Macron as a new low. He said the German government was standing in solidarity with its European neighbour in the fight against Islamist extremism. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called Erdogan comments unacceptable and urged Turkey to stop this spiral of confrontation. Meanwhile, the German government has confirmed close ties between Erdogan and his ruling party, the AKP, to Islamists. In France, hackers have attacked several websites and placed Islamist messages on them.
dpa-international.com, dw.com, france24.com, n-tv.de, welt.de

EU demands information from Frontex and Athens about pushbacks: The EU Commission has asked the border protection agency Frontex and the Greek government to clear up reports of so-called pushbacks of migrants and refugees. Several media reports have accused Frontex of complicity in illegal and often dangerous pushbacks aimed at preventing migrants and asylum seekers crossing the Aegean Sea. Even as evidence of an aggressive maritime campaign by Greece has emerged, Frontex has denied knowledge of, or involvement in, pushbacks. But new evidence, including video footage showing a Frontex ship manoeuvring dangerously near a crowded dinghy full of people and creating waves that drove them back, appears to contradict the EU agency. An EU Commission spokesman said on Monday that the allegations were being taken very seriously and that both the Greek authorities and Frontex are expected to fully comply with EU law.
theguardian.com, rnd.de

Coronavirus forces Council of the EU to reduce meetings to absolute minimum: Europe needs some serious acceleration in the fight against the coronavirus but the World Health Organisation (WHO) is still optimistic European countries will not need to need to go into national lockdowns, WHO officials said on Monday. “We are still hopeful that countries will not have to go into so-called national lockdowns,” Maria van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical head for Covid-19, told an online briefing, when asked about Europe’s rising case numbers. In the meantime, the Council of the EU will reduce physical expert meetings to the absolute minimum and also limit videoconferences to priority topics in response to rising coronavirus cases, the German presidency said Monday.
reuters.com, politico.eu

Putin offers Nato site inspections to avoid missile buildup: Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed Monday that Nato and Russia should conduct mutual inspections of each other’s military bases to secure a moratorium on the deployment of new missiles in Europe following last year’s demise of a US-Russian nuclear arms pact.

US appeals WTO ruling on its multi-billion tariffs on China: The United States lodged an appeal on Monday against a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling last month that found US tariffs imposed on China in 2018 breached global trade rules, a WTO official said. A three-person panel had ruled that Washington had not justified why the tariffs imposed after a Section 301 investigation against China were a justifiable exception to its obligations.

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Report: EU taps Chinese technology linked to Muslim internment camps in Xinjiang dw.com
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There are also eloquent silences. And these silences, too, will not be forgotten.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said France will remember those who did not condemn the murder of teacher Samuel Paty.


Belarus strike action begins: Factory workers chanted slogans, students and pensioners took to the streets, and police detained at least 235 people on Monday as the Belarusian opposition sought to intensify pressure on veteran leader Alexander Lukashenko with a nationwide strike. Students in several universities refused to attend lectures and marched in Minsk in protest. Hundreds of small private companies declared Monday a non-working day. Meanwhile, shops and cafes closed their doors, with their owners and employees forming human chains all over Minsk.
reuters.com, dw.com

Women’s rights protests block city streets over Poland’s abortion law: Tens of thousands of protesters across almost 50 Polish cities blocked city streets in cars, on bicycles and on foot on Monday on the fifth day of demonstrations against a a supreme court decision to tighten an already strict abortion law in the predominantly Catholic country. Carrying banners reading “Enough,” “hell for women” and “I want choice, not terror”, people gathered across the country. Women’s rights activists in Poland said they would not back down and that more protests were planned for the week.

Spain’s Covid state of emergency faces backlash: The Spanish government faced a backlash on Monday over its plans to put the country, one of Europe’s worst Covid-19 hotspots, under a state of emergency for six months. Opposition parties said that was too long, epidemiologists said the move may be too little too late, and some citizens balked at nightly curfews. Disagreements between the minority central government, regional authorities and the opposition have for months hampered the response to the pandemic in Spain, and the curfew and state of emergency came after much political wrangling.

Spain adds more than 50,000 coronavirus cases over weekend: Spain’s cumulative tally of coronavirus cases rose by 52,188 over the weekend, bringing the total to 1,098,320, health ministry data showed on Monday. French hospitals registered 1,307 new coronavirus patients on Monday in the highest one-day increase since the start of April, which saw 1,607 new patients, as the health system comes under increasing stress from a runaway infection rate. With the number of new coronavirus infections spiking, the Lithuanian government has decided to put Lithuania’s three biggest cities and five other municipalities under quarantine. The Czech government ordered a 9 pm curfew and will limit retail sales on Sundays as part of tighter measures to curb the spread of the virus.
reuters.com (Spain), reuters.com (France), lrt.lt (Lithuania), reuters.com (Czech Republic)

Swiss health minister says new Covid measures likely to last long time: New Swiss restrictions slated to be announced on Wednesday to contain the rapid spread of Covid-19 will likely be in place a long time, Health Minister Alain Berset said on Monday, as new infections hit 17,440 over the weekend. New infections doubled from last weekend, with total recorded cases rising to 121,093 as Switzerland is engulfed in a second wave of infections.

Germany: Merkel plans “lockdown light” to slow infection wave reuters.com
Austria: Chancellor Kurz warns of second lockdown spiegel.de
Slovakia: Politician under fire after accident nachrichten.at


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German government warns Thai king not to conduct politics from Germany: Germany is continuing to look into the behaviour of Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkor, who tends to spend long stretches of time in Bavaria, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday. “We are monitoring this long-term,” Maas said. “It will have immediate consequences if there are things that we assess to be illegal.” In Bangkok, protesters marched to the German embassy on Monday to present a petition to Berlin to investigate the king’s use of his powers while in the European nation. The German government has said it would be unacceptable for him to conduct politics from Germany.


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