This Week in Europe: Protests in Catalonia, Dutch government formed and more

, by Radu Dumitrescu, Věra Dvořáková

This Week in Europe: Protests in Catalonia, Dutch government formed and more
Design by Samuel Mork Bednarz.

Members of the TNF team recount big events from Europe from the past week, and point attention to news that may have passed notice. What did we miss? Comment on our Facebook page at http://facebook.com/thenewfederalist.eu !

Pro-unity protests in Catalonia precede the signing but immediate suspension of independence

People in Catalonia protested in opposition to the independence referendum organized in October. Police in Barcelona estimated that 350,000 protesters attended, while organizers put the turnout at 930,000. On Tuesday, the independence of the region was signed but immediately suspended. Later in the week the European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, rejected EU mediation in the Catalonian problem.

Germany limits migration to 200,000 a year

The decision to limit the number of refugees accepted by Germany was reached after discussions between Angela Merkel’s CDU and the Bavarian CSU party. The move comes in contrast with the Chancellor’s previous open-door policy.

Dutch ruling coalition formed 208 days after the election, keeping Rutte as PM

Prime-minister Mark Rutte’s VVD party, the progressive D66 party, the Christian Democrat (CDA) and Christian Union party will be forming the governing coalition of the Netherlands, keeping Rutte in office once more.

Calls for a reform of EU cohesion funds

Respect for the rule of law may become a prerequisite for recipients of EU’s cohesion funds after a new push to reform led by German officials. At the same time, French president Macron would like to tie a minimum tax rate to the same funds. Both proposals are feared to engender more separation between the West and East of Europe, with Hungary and Poland being obvious targets of the new policy. At the moment, cohesion funds can only be suspended by a qualified majority vote in the Council, and only in case of excessive public deficit.

Turkey determined to maintain EU accession process after all

Turkish government has announced that it is determined to continue its efforts to join the EU despite the current tensions with the bloc after the prosecution of the government’s critics. On 19 October, EU leaders will discuss its worsening ties with Turkey in a two-day summit. Nevertheless, according to Merkel, the summit will probably not make a final decision on Turkey’s accession.

Spain celebrates its national day with a large military parade

On Thursday, Spain celebrated its national day, commemorating the Christian reconquest of Spain and Christopher Columbus’s first arrival in the Americas in 1492 with a military parade attended by the Royal family. In Barcelona, supporters of Spanish unity rallied with the occasion.

Former French culture minister chosen at the helm of UNESCO

the United Nations educational and cultural agency will be led by Audrey Azoulay, former culture minister in the government of Francois Hollande. Her election is however overshadowed by the withdrawal of the United States from agency by the end of next year.

Visegrad countries call for EU enlargement in Western Balkans

At their two-day summit in Szekszárd, Hungary, the presidents of the Visegrad countries have strongly supported the enlargement of the EU in the Western Balkans. They have also discussed topics such as digital society and the transition to circular economy.

Wedding in the Serbian royal family

Prince Philip of Serbia married fiancée Danica Marinkovic in a grand ceremony held in Belgrad. Other European royals also attended the grand event, including Queen Sofia of Spain and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. Philip is the second oldest child of Crown Prince Alexander’s sons.

Europe is running out of butter

The wholesale price of butter has nearly doubled due to increase in global demand. The retail price increased nearly by 20 % in June so the consumers pay more as well. There are several factors which have influenced the growth of prices – butter consumption is growing due to higher global demand and the production in Europe has decreased. Moreover, people are returning to butter as it is seen as healthier and less processed than margarine.

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