The four parties of the Dutch government, lead by prime minister Mark Rutte, have decided to let the government fall. On 17 March, two months from now, there are parliamentary elections in the Netherlands.
The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg made history Thursday by issuing its first-ever opinion in a case heard in the Irish language. It stemmed from a complaint by Peadar Mac Fhlannchadha, who wanted dual-language labels for his dog's medicine, according to his EU rights. Mac Fhlannchadha, an Irish language campaigner, was "delighted", he told the Euronews broadcaster. Ireland joined the EU in 1973. The bloc has 24 official languages.
The Greek parliament approved the purchase of 18 Dassault-made Rafale jets from France for €2.5 billion on Thursday, in a deal due to be signed by the Greek and French defence ministers later this month, the Greek newspaper Ekathimerini writes. Athens agreed to buy fighter jets as it moves ahead with plans to beef up its military capacity during a dispute with neighbouring Turkey over energy resources in the Mediterranean.
France has tightened its nationwide corona-curfew, saying people must stay home between 6PM and 6AM, unless returning from work or school, to curb rising infections. The discovery of a new corona strain in Brazil also prompted the UK to ban flights from Portugal and South American countries. The EU has a mosaic of national and regional lockdown or curfew measures, but some states, such as Bulgaria and Denmark, have neither.
The European Commission has all-but admitted president Ursula von der Leyen was wrong in helping a fellow centre-right politician in national elections in Croatia. "The commission will clarify the practical modalities for the participation of its members in national election campaigns in guidelines," her deputy, Maroš Šefčovič, said in a letter to the EU Ombudsman, published Thursday. Von der Leyen filmed a Croatian election-campaign video, using EU studios, in July.
Romanian schools will reopen next month after being closed for more than three months due to the coronavirus pandemic, president Klaus Iohannis said on Thursday. "From 8 February, when the second semester begins, most schools will reopen, given that the pandemic evolves approximately the same as in recent weeks," he said. However, cities reporting high infection rates over a two-week period will have to continue with online learning, Reuters reported.
The Dutch government will decide on Friday if it is going to step down over a scandal in which thousands of parents were wrongly accused of fraud, plunging many families into debt by ordering them to repay childcare allowances, the Guardian writes. The four ruling parties in prime minister Mark Rutte's coalition are divided and may prefer ending their alliance, rather than risk losing a no-confidence vote next Tuesday.
Just in time to be all over the Italian evening news on Wednesday night, Matteo Renzi withdrew the two ministers of his small party, Italia Viva - making official the political crisis of the Giuseppe Conte government.
The Netherlands on Thursday lost a European Court of Justice case where a 15-year old Guinean boy's request for asylum was denied and was instead issued a return order. Given his age and that Guinea could not properly house him, the Netherlands waited until he turned 18 to carry out the return. The court said , noting that "best interests of the child" must be upheld.
US lawmakers, Wednesday, voted by 292 to 197 to impeach outgoing president Donald Trump for "inciting an insurrection" in the Capitol riot last week. Trump's trial is to begin after president-elect Joe Biden is due to take office on 20 January. Asked if Europe should be scared Trump's far-right followers posed a threat to US stability, Robert Baer, an ex-CIA security expert, said: "Short-run, probably not. Long-run, scared as hell".
Estonia's ruling coalition, including the far-right and anti-EU EKRE party, collapsed Wednesday after the Centre-party prime minister Juri Ratas resigned when senior staff were named as suspects in a corruption inquiry. The Estonian president asked the leader of the centre-right Reform party, Kaja Kallas, to form a new government instead, which is unlikely to include EKRE. The developments scrapped an EKRE-led plan for a referendum on gay marriage.
Belgian King Philippe's car was hit by stones, a police station was set on fire, and streets were vandalised when people rioted near Brussels-North train station Wednesday evening. The events, involving some 500 people, began as a protest against the death, in police custody, of Ibrahima B., a 23-year old, Saturday. The violence was "unacceptable", Belgian interior minister Annelies Verlinden said, while promising to investigate alleged police "misconduct".
The US executed 52-year old Lisa Montgomery, a death row inmate, on Wednesday. Montgomery had committed a gruesome murder but she was also mentally ill. The EU is now demanding the US reverse all pending federal-level executions