THIS WEEK IN EUROPE: Women in Power

, by Juuso Järviniemi, Radu Dumitrescu

THIS WEEK IN EUROPE: Women in Power

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 !

Catalan leader seeks refuge in Brussels

Six Catalan leaders, including Carles Puigdemont, unexpectedly flew to Brussels to meet with a human rights activist and an expert in extradition cases. The “trip” occurred on the same day that the Spanish general prosecutor charged members of the Catalan regional government with rebellion, sedition and embezzlement in the aftermath of Catalonia’s unilateral declaration of independence. The Belgian PM denied inviting Puigdemont to Brussels and declared that he will be treated as “any other European citizen.”

French state of emergency

A new law signed on Monday by French president Macron gives police permanent authorization to search suspects’ houses without judge’s approval, as well as surveillance of places of worship that are suspected of preaching hatred, and identity checks in public places. The new law comes to replace the state of emergency in operation since the November 2015 Paris attacks.

European stocks on the rise

Last week saw a two-year surge in the value of European stocks, aided by record earnings in Asia and New York. Despite Catalonia’s independence bid, IBEX (the benchmark stock market index of the Bolsa de Madrid, Spain’s principal stock exchange) went up by 0.5%. The European benchmark is also enjoying its fifth straight day of gains.

Refugees on hunger strike in Greece

Syrian women and children have pitched tents in front of the parliament in Athens, protesting against delays in reuniting with relatives in Germany. Some say they have begun a hunger strike. Greek media reported on an informal deal between Greece and Germany to slow down refugee reunification, even though the Greek executive denied the claim. About 60.000 refugees are still located in Greece after border closures in the Balkans.

Number of asylum seekers decreases

The number of asylum seekers coming to the EU dropped from 125.000 in September 2016 to 60.000 the same month this year, according to the European Asylum Support Office. The largest share of applicants for international protection were Syrians, followed by Iraqi and Afghan nationals.

Hungarian PM declares migrant-free zone

At the 61st anniversary of Hungary’s 1956 uprising, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban criticized the leadership of the EU, denounced globalization and mass migration, and ended by proclaiming Central Europe as the continent’s last “migrant-free zone.”

Smallest gender gap in Nordic countries

According to the World Economic Forum, the smallest gender gap can be found in Iceland, followed by Norway and Finland. Other well-performing EU nations were Slovenia (7), Ireland (8), France (11), and Germany (12), while Hungary ranked lowest in the EU, at spot 103.

Forbes: Merkel and May the world’s most powerful women

German chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minister Theresa May are the two most powerful women in the world, according to annual ranking done by Forbes magazine. The top ten also includes Christine Lagarde, chief of the IMF, and Ana Patricia Botin, head of the Spanish banking group Santander.

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