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Swiss photographer not responsible for Hong Kong protest assault: lawyers

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Doors slamming shut in Hungary for asylum seekers

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Mutating terror threat still looms over Europe

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US, Slovenia to 'exclude untrusted vendors' from 5G

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Beleaguered Belarus opposition finds Baltic refuge

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EU, UK denounce Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai's arrest

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Biden rules out in-person appearance at Democratic convention

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EU sanctions on Russian, Chinese 'cyber attackers'

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'Alarm' at Poland's plan to leave treaty protecting women

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Latest News

Swiss photographer not responsible for Hong Kong protest assault: lawyers

Swiss photographer not responsible for Hong Kong protest assault: lawyers Swiss photographer not responsible for Hong Kong protest assault: lawyers
A Swiss photographer who closed a door on a Chinese mainlander moments before he was assaulted during last year's Hong Kong democracy protests...
Read More...

Turkey debates dropping landmark women's treaty

Turkey debates dropping landmark women's treaty Turkey debates dropping landmark women's treaty
Just as Turkey began debating leaving the world's first treaty prosecuting femicide and domestic abuse, a jealous killer set a woman's body...
Read More...

Doors slamming shut in Hungary for asylum seekers

Doors slamming shut in Hungary for asylum seekers Doors slamming shut in Hungary for asylum seekers
"It's difficult in a new way for us. There is hardly anyone left to talk to," Karzan Mohamed Sharif Amin, an Iraqi Kurd, told AFP at a government-run...
Read More...

Mutating terror threat still looms over Europe

Mutating terror threat still looms over Europe Mutating terror threat still looms over Europe
The terrorist threat against Europe has mutated in the last half-decade as jihadist groups have seen their Middle East sanctuaries eroded,...
Read More...

US, Slovenia to 'exclude untrusted vendors' from 5G

US, Slovenia to 'exclude untrusted vendors' from 5G US, Slovenia to 'exclude untrusted vendors' from 5G
The US and Slovenia signed a declaration Thursday to "exclude untrusted vendors" from 5G networks as the Trump administration continues its...
Read More...

Beleaguered Belarus opposition finds Baltic refuge

Beleaguered Belarus opposition finds Baltic refuge Beleaguered Belarus opposition finds Baltic refuge
Waves of repression in Belarus have turned its EU neighbours into places of refuge for pro-democracy Belarusians, with presidential challenger...
Read More...

EU, UK denounce Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai's arrest

EU, UK denounce Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai's arrest EU, UK denounce Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai's arrest
The European Union on Monday (Aug 10) accused China of using Hong Kong's new security law to crack down on media freedom, after the arrest...
Read More...

Biden rules out in-person appearance at Democratic convention

Biden rules out in-person appearance at Democratic convention Biden rules out in-person appearance at Democratic convention
Joe Biden will not attend the Democratic convention to accept the party's nomination to be its presidential election candidate after the event...
Read More...

EU sanctions on Russian, Chinese 'cyber attackers'

EU sanctions on Russian, Chinese 'cyber attackers' EU sanctions on Russian, Chinese 'cyber attackers'
The European Union imposed its first ever sanctions against alleged cyber attackers on Thursday, targeting Russian and Chinese individuals...
Read More...

'Alarm' at Poland's plan to leave treaty protecting women

'Alarm' at Poland's plan to leave treaty protecting women 'Alarm' at Poland's plan to leave treaty protecting women
The EU and the Council of Europe on Sunday voiced regret and alarm over the Polish right-wing government's move to withdraw from a landmark...
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The European Commission will on Wednesday consider how to craft a plan to ease the bloc out of a virus lockdown that has dealt a body blow to the

economies of EU members.

Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will hold an "orientation debate" with commissioners by videoconference, after some EU countries announced they were already planning to relax measures.

Both Austria and Denmark have said they will start phasing out restrictions from next week, while still keeping social-distancing rules and frequent hand washing instructions in place.

Initially, a commission spokesman announced the meeting would set out guidelines for a bloc-wide strategy.

But, just hours later, this was downgraded in a terse statement to become a debate on a "roadmap to exit the restrictive measures", amid concern about sending mixed messages about the pandemic.

"The timing is delicate because member states are at different stages of the pandemic," a European source told AFP.

"The commission doesn't want to risk sending a signal of relaxing (restrictions) which could be misunderstood by some member states. Better to wait until after Easter."

Earlier, spokesman Eric Mamer said the commission felt it was important that EU countries lift their lockdown rules in a coordinated way.

The early days of the crisis in Europe were marked by some countries taking unilateral measures, including banning the export of medical equipment even within the bloc, before Brussels intervened.

Later this month the EU's national leaders will hold a video conference on the pandemic.

Mamer said Austria and Denmark had informed the Commission and all member states of their decisions. 

"We understand that these strategies are very gradual will be implemented step-by-step, which is indeed one important element that we will certainly be highlighting as well," he said.

- Struggle to coordinate -

The European Union and neighbouring countries including Britain and Norway have recorded more than 600,000 cases of COVID-19, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Officials have reported more than 51,000 deaths, most of them in Italy and Spain.

Lockdowns have been introduced to varying degrees across the bloc, ranging from enforced stay-at-home orders in places like northern Italy to far less restrictive advice in Sweden, where people have been allowed to gather in small numbers and freely move about.

The European Commission has struggled to arrange a common EU approach, reflecting its lack of say over member states' health and policing policies. 

But it has managed to soften some strict border measures by states such as Austria and Poland that for a time badly crimped the flow of road freight. 

EU leaders are becoming increasingly alarmed at the economic damage wreaked by the lockdowns. France has warned it is facing the deepest recession since the end of World War II.

At the leaders' last video conference on March 10, one participant said: "We have just slid into lockdown. We really need to find a way to get out of it." 

But the conundrum they face is that there is still no effective treatment or vaccine for the novel coronavirus. That, one EU official said, poses a problem if member states start to end their lockdowns "willy-nilly".afp

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