Browsing: European News

‘Former Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos suffered burns to his hands and legs in a bomb attack in his car, according to reports. His driver was also injured in the Athens blast.

Local media outlets reported on social media that the bomb was contained in an envelope, however this has not been confirmed by officials.

Police said the explosion occurred when the car was travelling between Patission and Marnis Street in central Athens at 6:30pm local time, reported Ekathimerini.

Local media didn’t confirm if anyone else was travelling in the car along with Papademos and his driver.’

Read more: Former Greek PM Lucas Papademos hurt in Athens bomb attack

French President Emmanuel Macron has requested that parliament extend the state of emergency until November 1. The president also called for the introduction of legislation to boost security in the face of the terrorist threat.

“The President of the Republic has decided that the [French] Parliament should extend the state of emergency until 1 November,” an Elysee statement said on Wednesday, after Macron’s meeting with the Defense and National Security Council.

Macron also demanded that the government prepare a “legislative text” which proposes strengthening security amid “the terrorist threat outside a state of emergency,” the statement added.’

Read more: France to extend state of emergency, vows new security laws after Manchester bombing

‘Former Anglo Irish Bank Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick, famously described by RT’s Max Keiser as a “financial terrorist,” is in the clear after being acquitted of all charges in a long-running multi-million euro loans case.

Fitzpatrick served as chief executive of the now-defunct Anglo Irish Bank for almost 20 years before taking up the position of chairman from 2005 until 2008. He resigned amid emerging details of secret loans he had taken out with the bank.

On Tuesday Judge John Aylmer at Dublin Circuit Court in Ireland acquitted Fitzpatrick of 27 charges of misleading the bank’s auditors and furnishing false information about multi-million euro loans to him and to people connected to him between 2002 and 2007.’

Read more: ‘Financial terrorist’: Former bank boss acquitted of all charges despite blowing up Irish economy

More than six million asylum seekers are waiting to cross into Europe, a leaked intelligence report warns.

There has been a huge increase in the number of migrants hoping to reach EU countries, it says – contradicting claims from Brussels that the situation is under control.

The confidential report, leaked to German newspaper Bild, claims 6.6million migrants are waiting in countries around the Mediterranean sea to cross into Europe, including 2.5million in war-torn North Africa.

This year has already seen record numbers of African migrants making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, with Italy the frontline of the crisis.

The surge has led to more than 1,200 deaths so far this year as smuggling gangs, largely operating in lawless Libya, resort to increasingly ruthless tactics. Charities have warned there could be even higher numbers making the crossing in the coming months.’

Read more: Nearly seven million migrants are ‘waiting to cross into Europe’: Leaked report warns of new crisis but Brussels insists the situation is under control

‘European Union ministers have approved plans to force social media companies to combat hate speech on their platforms. It comes a day after Facebook’s internal guide for tackling such behavior was leaked.

The proposals, approved by ministers on Tuesday, mark the first attempt at legislating at EU level on the issue of hate speech across social media, according to Reuters. However, the plans still need to be ratified by the European Parliament before becoming law.

If the proposals are passed, social media companies including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube would be forced to take measures to prevent hate speech, incitement to hatred, and content justifying terrorism.

“We need to take into account new ways of watching videos, and find the right balance to encourage innovative services, promote European films, protect children and tackle hate speech in a better way,” Andrus Ansip, EU Commission Vice-President for the digital single market, said on Tuesday, as quoted by Reuters.’

Read more: EU ministers approve plans to force social media companies to tackle hate speech

‘Newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron is preparing a historic assault on jobs, wages and labor legislation, to be rammed through by presidential decree in the face of overwhelming public opposition.

Details of Macron’s plans emerged Monday in the run-up to his meetings Tuesday with trade union and business representatives at the Elysée Palace.
After next month’s legislative elections, Macron will demand an enabling act from parliament authorizing the president to decree changes in French labor law.

“The reform of the Labor Code has been well planned,” incoming Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told the Journal du Dimanche. “We will now discuss it to enrich it and explain it. This means discussions with the trade unions, which are indispensable, and a parliamentary discussion which will take place during the vote on the enabling act that will allow the government to impose decrees in a context defined by the parliament.”’

Read more: Macron prepares enabling act to slash contracts, labour rights in France

‘France’s powerful Israel lobby group CRIF has forced another candidate to quit next month’s parliamentary elections.

CRIF, a strongly pro-Israel Jewish communal organization, announced that William Tchamaha has been dropped by President Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche party due to an “anti-Zionist” tweet.

He’s the second candidate forced out for expressing support for Palestinian rights and international law.

CRIF had demanded that Macron’s party drop Tchamaha, who was running for a seat in the Seine-Maritime region, because of a tweet he posted on 8 February calling for Israel to be held accountable for its violations of international law.’

Read more: Israel lobby forces second candidate out of French legislative election

‘Catalonia’s government has reportedly drafted a secret independence bill to break away from Spain, regardless of whether or not the country holds a referendum.

The pro-independence Catalan government, known as the Generalitat, is currently locked in a battle with Madrid over its demands for an independence vote.

According to reports in Spain’s El Pais, the Generalitat’s bill indicates its intention to move towards independence even if the Spanish government forbids it from holding a referendum.

Catalan’s ruling coalition promised a vote on the matter would be held no later than September this year.’

Read more: Spain in Crisis as Catalonia says it will declare independence WITHOUT referendum

‘The International Monetary Fund, European finance ministers, and Greek authorities have fallen short of securing more debt relief for Greece, according to EU officials.

The parties postponed a final decision on a release of further bailout funds for Athens until their next meeting, scheduled for June 15.

“At this point, we have not reached an overall agreement. It looks like the formal conclusion of the second review is very close,” said Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem after Monday’s meeting.

Greece needs more emergency cash to avoid a default in July when the country faces debt repayments of nearly €7.3 billion.

To get a new installment of bailout funds, Athens has already approved tax rises and additional pension cuts.

However, the EU ministers concluded that the country has not made enough progress on that front and still needs to take further measures.’

Read more: Greece fails to reach bailout deal with eurozone finance ministers

‘France has called for further political ties with Iran as it has an “important role in the pacification” of the region.

Foreign Minister “Jean-Yves Le Drian will work towards developing political dialogue that should be part of a constructive approach with regard to solving regional crises,” said the French Foreign Ministry on Monday.

France’s stance is contradictory to comments made by US President Donald Trump, who accused Tehran of funding terrorism and stoking the fires of sectarian conflict in the region, and called on all nations to work towards isolating Iran.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi has reacted to Trump’s remarks, and urged US to stop supplying arms to Saudi Arabia, which is one of the “main sponsors of terrorism.”’

Read more: France gainsays Trump, highlights Iran’s role in Mideast peace