This Week in Europe: Migration, Orban and new parties

, by Radu Dumitrescu, Samuel Mork Bednarz

This Week in Europe: Migration, Orban and new parties

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 !

Governor of Latvian central bank arrested

On Sunday, Ilmars Rimsevics, the governor of the Latvian central bank, was arrested by the Corruption Prevention Bureau (KNAB). He had been detained on Saturday and questioned for 7 hours before being moved and his residence and offices raided. Latvian PM Maris Kucinskis stressed that the arrest meant no danger to the country’s financial system.

Juncker’s chief of staff appointed Secretary-General

On Wednesday, the College of Commissioners appointed Martin Selmayr as the new Secretary-General, the Commission’s top civil servant. In practice, this means that Selmayr will become the most powerful figure in the politics of Brussels throughout the 2019 elections, steering the administration and implementing Juncker’s legacy for the next 20 months. Supported by Juncker himself, Selmayr has been a staunch defender of the Commission and its policies in front of the member-states.

Spanish police captures comedian dressed as Puigdemont

On Thursday, comedian Joaquin Reyes was apprehended in Madrid by six Spanish policemen. Reyes was appearing dressed as Puigdemont on the TV comedy sketch show “El Intermedio” when the police appeared. Reyes added that the officers laughed when they realized the mistake.

Merkel: Link funds to integration of migrants

On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the distribution of EU funds should be linked to countries’ willingness to accept and integrate migrants. “Solidarity cannot be a one-way street,” Merkel said. The statement comes as the bloc looks to set the budget for the 2021-2027 period, after the departure of the United Kingdom. The Chancellor also mentioned that the EU’s border protection agency, Frontex, needs to be “massively improved” through funding.

Suicide bombing on U.S. embassy in Montenegro

On Wednesday night, a man throw a hand grenade at the U.S. Embassy in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, then killed himself with a second explosion. The blast caused no major damage to the building. The embassy has been open since 2006, the year when Montenegro decided to strengthen ties with the United States and other Western states. On June 5th 2017, the country also became a member of NATO.

Orbán: EU should reimburse Hungary for border

On Friday, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban said in a video posted on his Facebook page that his country spent over €1 billion for border security. “We’re not only protecting ourselves, but Europe as well”, said Orban, who then asked for at least half of the sum to be reimbursed. A vocal opponent of the bloc’s migration policy, Orban refused to take in any refugees and said he would propose the increasing of the role of national parliaments in EU decision-making by allowing them to “stop debates in Europe” if the talks threaten a country’s national interests.

En Marche-inspired anti-Brexit party launches in U.K.

On Monday, a party inspired by French president Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche launched in the United Kingdom, where the two largest parties - the Conservatives and the Labour Party - back the country’s withdrawal from the European Union. Entitled Renew, the party was formed by independent anti-Brexit candidates in London, and now has more than 450 applications of candidates for the House of Commons.

Turkish citizens seek asylum in the EU

On Monday, 17 Turkish citizens reached the Greek island of Oinousses and asked for asylum, citing persecution at home. Crossing the Aegean Sea from Izmir, the asylum-seekers are reported to be civil servants and judges, the prime targets of the Erdogan regime following the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. It is the 5th incident involving Turkish asylum seekers in Greece since the crackdown of the Turkish authorities on suspected opponents. All 17 asylum seekers were transferred to the Piraeus port awaying the asylum procedure.

EU moves to restrict surveillance tech

A leaked working paper shows that a proposal by Commission to introduce export controls on products that could harm human rights is backed by 11 member-states - Germany, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. The move comes after it was revelead that European firms sold tech to Middle East governments that wanted to spy on Arab Spring protesters.

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