Seven Days in Europe

IMG_4239 (3)MEPs released a statement on the escalating situation in Turkey, stating their concern at the “disproportionate and excessive use of force by Turkish police to break up peaceful and legitimate protests”. A resolution was passed warning against the use of harsh measures against peaceful protesters, and said prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan must take a unifying and conciliatory position. However Erdoğan has said that he does not recognise the EP’s decision as binding over Turkey.

The European Parliament also endorsed rules that introduce common procedures and deadlines for handling asylum applications and basic rights for asylum seekers arriving in the EU, to iron out differences between national asylum procedures. Required minimum reception conditions include a defined shortlist of grounds for detaining asylum seekers, a guarantee of decent detention conditions, and an early assessment of asylum seekers’ medical needs. The rules also allow for Europol to access a database of asylum seekers’ fingerprints.

The Commission, looking to avert an airspace capacity crunch in the next few decades as the number of flights is projected to increase by 50%, proposed to update the “Single European Sky” regulations. Inefficiencies in Europe’s fragmented airspace bring extra costs of close to €5bn a year to airlines and their customers, and the Commission is looking to prioritise safety, improve air traffic management, introduce new procurement rules for support services, and replace the current patchwork of airspace blocks with regional blocks.

It was alleged that Silvio Berlusconi attempted to arrange the assassination of Colonel Gaddafi in 2011. According to the source, a diplomat that was close to Italy’s defence and security department, Berlusconi wanted to prevent damaging revelations about his relationship with the Libyan dictator from coming to light in the event of his capture and subsequent trial. This exposé has been described as “completely false, not credible, absurd and unacceptable” by Berlusconi’s spokesperson.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras decided to pull the plug on the country’s state television station in the middle of the night. A news programme was cut off mid-sentence when the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation was suddenly taken off air. The government explained the measure was to save taxpayers’ money from going to a channel plagued by “excesses”. The move has caused a nationwide strike by journalists and protests by the public. The station has refused to cease production, and is now broadcasting online.

Male Swedish train drivers have taken to wearing skirts as part of their uniform in the hot summer months. Their new employers, Arriva, changed the uniform code to ban the wearing of shorts but have conceded that banning the drivers from wearing skirts would be discriminatory.

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