Wednesday, 7 October 2020: Hungary’s higher education law violates EU rules, Turkey accuses EU of being blackmailed by Greece and Cyprus, EU states must curb mass spying on data


Hungary’s higher education law violates EU rules: The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on Tuesday that Hungary breached EU law with its reform of higher education rules, which forced the relocation of the Central European University (CEU) founded by American billionaire George Soros. Part of the Hungarian law requires foreign universities operating in Hungary to strike a bilateral agreement between the country’s nationalist government and the universities’ country of origin, and also to offer teaching services in its home country. The ECJ said this infringed on World Trade Organisation (WHO) rules on fair market access and acted contrary to the provisions of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, which protects academic freedom and the freedom to conduct a business.,

Turkey accuses EU of being blackmailed by Greece and Cyprus: Turkey has voiced dissatisfaction with the result of last week’s EU summit. Last Friday EU leaders assuaged concerns raised by Cyprus, which had been pushing for sanctions on Ankara, by assuring it that the bloc would punish Turkey if it continues oil and gas drilling in disputed areas of the eastern Mediterranean. But President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the outcome of last week’s EU summit was not sufficient to overcome the problems in Turkey-EU ties. Erdogan stated that the EU had succumbed to pressure and blackmail from Greek Cypriots and Greece despite Turkey’s good faith.

EU states must curb mass spying on data: The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on Tuesday that unrestrained mass surveillance of phone and internet data is unlawful. The general and indiscriminate retention of such data can only be allowed when governments face a serious threat to national security. The ruling is the result of four cases in France, Belgium and Britain in which governments have called for the extension of surveillance tools for the protection of their citizens.

Chemical weapons watchdog confirms nerve agent used in Navalny poisoning: The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has concluded that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent, the watchdog said Tuesday. The German government had requested the analysis after Berlin’s own toxicology assessment found Novichok had been used in the Navalny case. The German government called on Russia to explain what has happened. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Germany received the OPCW’s report on Monday and was still examining it.,

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Tikhanovskaya asks Merkel for help: Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya appealed for help for her country during a visit to Berlin on Tuesday. “We would like Germany, as one of the most powerful countries in the world to help in the negotiations,” she said ahead of a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The German government has yet to comment on Merkel’s meeting with Tikhanovskaya. Poland and Lithuania have recalled their ambassadors from Belarus, following Friday’s announcement by Belarus that it was recalling its ambassadors from the two countries. The German ambassador to Belarus, Manfred Huterer, has also left the country temporarily.,,

Italy eases immigration laws: The Italian government has revised its laws to ensure greater protection for illegal migrants and refugees. Aid groups helping illegal migrants ashore in Italy can now expect lighter fines of up to 50,000 euros compared to 1 million euros previously if their activity is in violation of official orders. Charity boats acting in accordance with maritime law and in collaboration with authorities will no longer receive fines. Meanwhile, Italy is set to make the use of masks outdoors mandatory nationwide to fight the coronavirus, Health Minister Roberto Speranza has said. (Immigration), (Masks)

Poland reports new record of daily Covid-related deaths: Poland reported a record 58 daily coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday, the health ministry said on Twitter. The ministry said that as of Tuesday there were 263 ventilators and 3,719 hospital beds devoted to Covid-19 patients, compared with 141 and 2,399 respectively a week ago.

Belgium tightens social contact rules as coronavirus cases surge: Belgium will tighten its coronavirus measures for a month starting Friday, limiting groups to a maximum of four people in a bid to stem a sharp rise of Covid-19 infections. Bars will have to close at 11 pm instead of 1 am and only four people will be allowed per table. People can also only have close contact with three people (down from five) outside their household.,

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Von der Leyen ends coronavirus quarantine: EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she would leave quarantine on Tuesday after having been in contact with someone positive for Covid-19 a week earlier, despite EU recommendations of 14 days of self-isolation. Von der Leyen is following Belgium’s rules, which have just been softened.


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