Browsing: European News

‘Spain’s prime minister has urged Catalonia to end its bid for independence “once and for all,” as thousands protest in the autonomous Spanish region over the detention of regional officials ahead of a banned independence vote.

“Stop this escalation of radicalism and disobedience once and for all,” Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in a televised statement on Wednesday night, adding there was still time to avoid bigger problems.

Earlier, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont had called for a democratic and pacific response by the Catalans to pressure from Madrid and asked them to massively participate in the referendum planned for October 1.

The central government stepped up its operations in Catalonia on Wednesday morning as it ordered the civil guards to raid the ministry buildings of Catalonia’s regional government and detain 14 pro-independence officials in an attempt to block the referendum, which is deemed illegal by Madrid.’

Read more: Madrid urges Catalonia to end ‘disobedience’

‘More than 250,000 people caught up in the Ryanair cancellation chaos will miss out on compensation but boss Michael O’Leary insists he won’t quit and said: ‘It’s not my biggest cock-up’.

The debacle affecting two per cent of the airline’s giant customer base could cost the airline £18million and knocked £500million off the airline’s value yesterday.

During an extraordinary press conference in Dublin Mr O’Leary said: ‘As the largest individual shareholder in Ryanair, I never give a rat’s a** about the share price. I couldn’t care less’.

He added: ‘It’s not my biggest cock-up. I have a litany of cock-ups in Ryanair over the past 25 years’.

The under-fire carrier has revealed the 2,024 routes which will be axed over the next six weeks, leaving the travel plans of up to 400,000 passengers in chaos. ‘

Read more: ‘It’s not even my biggest cock-up’: Ryanair boss insists ‘only 2 per cent of customers’ have been affected by mass flight cancellation as it’s revealed 250,000 passengers WON’T get compensation

‘If Germany votes as expected in Sunday’s election, Angela Merkel will win a fourth term in office and extend her reign at the helm of German politics to 16 years. Rather than seeing a backlash from young people eager for change, Ms Merkel has turned into a popular and even “cool” figurehead.

Her motto “for a Germany in which we want to live well” is a reminder of the feeling of prosperity enjoyed by many Germans during her 12 years as Chancellor. Retaining a commanding lead in the polls with 37 per cent of the votes, Ms Merkel has stifled her opposition by modernising her party and moving into the political centre ground.

Her open-door refugee policy in 2015, which saw Germany welcome more than a million migrants, challenged the traditional political line of her conservative alliance but resonated positively among many younger voters.’

Read more: German election 2017: How Angela Merkel became the ‘cool’ option for young voters (who don’t know what is REALLY going on)

‘Around 3,000 anti-fascist protesters marched through Athens on Saturday to pay tribute to activist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, killed by a far-right supporter in 2013. Police used tear gas in response to some demonstrators who threw petrol bombs at them.

Anti-fascist groups, representatives of unions, and migrants took part in the protest. People shouted “Pavlos is alive! Crush the Nazis!” Some carried banners demanding Golden Dawn members to be jailed.

The demonstrators, who gathered at Syntagma Square, passed the US Embassy and headed to the headquarters of the far-right, anti-immigrant Golden Dawn, calling for the offices of the party, which holds 17 seats in the Greek parliament, to be shut down.

Clashes erupted after dozens of hooded demonstrators broke off from the peaceful march, according to Reuters. The hooded youths set fire to several cars, damaged an ATM, and threw Molotov cocktails at riot police.

The violence was timed with the end of the main rally, Amna news agency reported. Eight people were detained after protesters hurled petrol bombs towards officers near the main offices of the Golden Dawn late Saturday, Amna said.’

Read more: Petrol bombs & tear gas in Athens at anniversary of Antifa rapper’s murder

‘European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has sparked anger by unveiling plans to merge the Commission and Council leaders creating “one powerful president”.

The shock idea was part of Mr Juncker’s pitch for the future of Europe in his State of the European Union speech this morning.

Mr Juncker told the European Parliament in Strasbourg: “Europe would function better if we were to merge the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council.

“Europe would be easier to understand if one captain was steering the ship.”

His proposal would mean consolidating the leadership of the EU Commission, the bloc’s executive branch, with the relatively new position of Council president, who serves as the convenor and coordinator of the bloc’s 28 heads of state and government.’

Read more: ‘One powerful president for WHOLE of EU’ Fury at Juncker plot to merge major roles

‘The Prime Minister is gearing up to offer the EU a ‘divorce payment’ worth up to £30billion in a bid to break the deadlock on a post-Brexit trade deal.

Senior Tories believe Theresa May will use a speech in Florence on Friday to confirm that the UK is willing to continue contributing to the EU budget during a two-year transition period.

A source said the Cabinet was ‘almost unanimous’ in its support for the proposal, with only Boris Johnson arguing for a shorter transition and lower payments.

The Foreign Secretary is said to be unhappy at any deal that would pay Brussels more than £10billion. But the EU has tabled demands for as much as £90billion.’

Read more: Theresa May will offer the EU £30billion in ‘divorce payment’ to break deadlock on post-Brexit trade deal

‘The European Union has been accused of paying African migrant smugglers thousands – to encourage them to quit the illegal trade and set up their own businesses instead.

According to an investigation by the BBC’s Panorama programme, traffickers are getting up to £6,000 a time to move into new employment, such as training to become a mechanic, or help to set up a farm or shop.

An EU spokesman has denied that any cash was given to individuals, but an unnamed EU official told the programme off-camera that ex-smugglers were being given money via third parties and that the vetting system to decide who received help was ‘flawed’.

In one project, in Niger, the EU said it had ‘invested’ 687,000 euros or £604,000 in a pilot project designed to help former traffickers in the past 12 months alone.

The West African state is seen as the gateway to Libya and on to the Mediterranean for refugees seeking a better life in Europe.’

Read more: ‘EU grants’ for migrant smugglers: Traffickers ‘receive up to £6,000 EACH to give up the life of crime and move into new employment’

‘A Danish Muslim woman has been deported to Tunisia for refusing to remove her religious veil while going through security at Brussels Airport, Belgium’s State Secretary for Asylum and Migration has said.

The woman landed at Brussels Zaventem Airport on Wednesday on a flight from Tunis, Tunisia.

In a post on Facebook, immigration minister Theo Francken said that the woman had refused to show her face in Tunis and again refused to do so in Belgium.

“After she refused to make her face visible in Tunis, she refused to do so in Zaventem. Our border police then refused her access to the Schengen area. Without identity checks, no access to our territory,” he said.

The woman was deported to Tunisia on Friday.’

Read more: Danish woman deported to Tunisia for refusing to remove niqab at Belgian airport

‘Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has taken to Twitter to explain how voters can use proxies to access the referendum instruction website ahead of the controversial vote on October 1.

The official website for the Catalonia independence referendum was blocked in Spain on Wednesday following a Barcelona court order amid the Spanish government’s ongoing efforts to stop what it calls an“illegal” ballot.

Puigdemont defiantly announced a new domain name for the site after telecommunication operators were ordered to shut down access.

He insisted that the campaign would continue, tweeting: “It’s impossible to stem the tide,” and sharing details of how users could circumvent the blockade.’

Read more: Catalan president gives instructions on Twitter after referendum website blocked