Tuesday, 28 September 2021: Google and EU head to court, Dutch PM given extra security amid fears of drug gang attack, Berlin gets first elected female mayor


Google and EU head to court: A new chapter in the legal fight between Google and the European Union began on Monday as the tech giant headed to Luxembourg to appeal the record-breaking €4.34 billion fine for anti-competitive behaviour. Brussels slapped Google with the headline-making penalty back in 2018, claiming the company had imposed illegal restrictions on devices operated with its own Android system in order to cement its dominant position in the market.

Poland seeks to extend state of emergency on Belarus border: Poland will seek an extension of the state of emergency in force along its border with Belarus as authorities in Warsaw accused Belarus of provocative actions and alleged that some migrants detained on the border have ties to terrorist groups. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has denied bearing any responsibility for the death on Sunday of an 11-year-old who had been living in a migrant shelter in Lithuania, having crossed the border from Belarus two months ago.
apnews.com, dpa-international.com

Belarus protest leader Kolesnikova wins Vaclav Havel prize: The annual Vaclav Havel Human Rights Award was given Monday to the jailed Belarusian protest leader Maria Kolesnikova by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) at a ceremony in Strasbourg. Kolesnikova was unable to attend due to her conviction and sentencing last month to 11 years in jail for leading demonstrations against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko following the disputed August 2020 election.

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End to freedom of movement behind UK fuel crisis, says Merkel’s likely successor: Olaf Scholz, the centre-left politician in pole position to replace Angela Merkel as German chancellor, has pinpointed the decision to end freedom of movement with Europe after Brexit as the reason for Britain’s petrol crisis. Scholz said he hoped British Prime Minister Boris Johnson would be able to deal with the consequences of the UK’s exit from the EU.

French opposition reopens NATO exit debate after submarine row: Many opposition leaders on the left and the right have recalled their position in favour of France withdrawing from the NATO alliance. This discourse is a result of the spat between the country and the US following Australia’s announcement it was scrapping a submarine deal with France in favour of a US and UK one. France and Greece will sign a major defence deal on Tuesday — a signal Paris is cementing military ties within Europe after the diplomatic falling out with Australia and the US over the cancelled submarine contract.
euractiv.com, politico.eu

EU regulators assessing Moderna vaccine booster: The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is evaluating using a booster shot of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for anyone over 12 years old. The booster would be given six months after the first two doses.

Wiretapping, police violence, corruption: Member of European Parliament wants Bulgarian cops watched dw.com
EU Parliament: Budget Control Committee asks for part of Frontex budget to be frozen europarl.europa.eu
Outlook: EU research ministers to meet this Tuesday consilium.europa.eu
Sustainable business: EU lawmakers reject attempts to block green investment rules reuters.com
Future of Europe: Europeans discuss economy, jobs, education in Strasbourg europarl.europa.eu
Taliban: International Criminal Court under fire for seeking Afghanistan probe without US focus dw.com


Effective and fair prosecution remains one of the most pressing problems in Bulgaria. Prosecuting high-level corruption remains problematic.
At a press conference in Sofia recently, Sophie in’t Veld, the chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, accused Bulgarian Prosecutor General Ivan Zhev of invoking „extraordinary powers“ to target the opposition.


Dutch PM given extra security amid fears of drug gang attack: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has reportedly been given extra personal security in response to raised fears of a kidnapping or attack by organised crime. The decision was made after “spotters” were seen scoping out Rutte’s movements, raising concerns about a possible move by one of the country’s drug gangs.

NATO patrols Kosovo-Serbia border as tensions soar: NATO forces in Kosovo have increased their patrols on the northern border near Serbia. It comes after Serbia deployed armoured vehicles by a border crossing and ethnic Serbs in Kosovo protested a decision by Kosovo’s government concerning license plates. Serbia does not recognise Kosovo nor its license plates and has required drivers from Kosovo to remove them and purchase temporary ones while driving through Serbia. Likewise, Kosovo opted to impose a similar measure. Ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo reacted with fury last week, blocking roads and the two border crossings to Serbia while Serbia deployed armoured vehicles and military aircraft flew over the border. The result has been the worst regional tensions in a decade.

More Polish regions revoke anti-LGBT declarations over EU funds withdrawal: Three more Polish regions have revoked anti-LGBT declarations over the threat of losing funds from the EU. Councillors in the southern region of Malopolska confirmed on Monday that they had repealed their opposition to the LGBT „ideology.“ Authorities in the southeastern provinces of Lublin and Podkarpackie also abandoned the resolutions, according to the Polish PAP news agency.

Berlin gets first elected female mayor: Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) scored a bonus election win in the city-state of Berlin on top of their slim victory in the nationwide election, provisional results showed Monday. In a closely fought race, Franziska Giffey, the SPD candidate to be the mayor of the German capital, won 21.4% of the vote, beating rival candidates from the Green party, Bettina Jarasch, on 18.9%, and the conservative Christian Democrat (CDU) option, Kai Wegner, on 18.1%.

Salvini’s social media mastermind faces drug dealing investigation: Luca Morisi, the influential social media guru credited with the surge in support for the Italian far-right League party, has been placed under investigation for the alleged possession and sale of drugs.

Moldovan reforms will be for voters, not EU, says country’s new PM: Moldova’s new pro-European Prime Minister says any national reforms will be for the country’s voters, not for the EU. Earlier this year, Brussels announced it would mobilise up to €600 million in financial assistance, grants and investments for Chișinău to help with its recovery from the pandemic. But the money has come with strict conditions, including economic reforms, as well as stepping up the fight against corruption.

Lava from the La Palma volcano is approaching the Atlantic Ocean: Residents along the eastern shore of Spain’s La Palma island were ordered into lockdown Monday as lava flowing from the Cumbre Vieja volcano nears the sea. The 1,250 Celsius degree lava may touch the Atlantic Ocean in the hours ahead, likely causing explosions and sending clouds of toxic gases over the island, Canary Islands emergency services warned on Monday morning.

Earthquake on Crete kills one person: One man has died and nine people have been injured following a strong earthquake that shook the Greek island of Crete on Monday, Greece’s General Secretariat for Civil Protection confirmed to CNN. The earthquake, which hit at 9.17 a.m. local time, had a magnitude of 5.8, according to the Athens Geodynamic Institute.

Germany: After a tight election, Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats come out just in front economist.com
Portugal: Ruling Socialists lead in local elections but lose Lisbon reuters.com
Hungary accuses Ukraine of meddling as it signs Russia gas pact reuters.com
Italy: Bronze statue of scantily dressed woman sparks sexism row theguardian.com
France: Centre-right party to hold presidential primary in December ft.com
Austria: Party of Covid vaccine sceptics wins seats in regional parliament ft.com
Ex-Catalan leader Puigdemont back in Brussels after Italy arrest news.yahoo.com


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French President Macron hit by egg at food fair: A protestor threw an egg at French President Emmanuel Macron as he attended a gastronomy fair in Lyon on Monday. The man who threw the egg shouted “Vive la République,” according to Reuters, and was promptly arrested. French news website LyonMag said the suspect was a 19-year-old, while FranceInfo said he was a far-left activist.


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