In the wake of an internal dispute in the Five Star Movement over arms deliveries to Ukraine, Italy's Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio has quit the party to form a new parliamentary group with around 60 MPs. The row started because he supports Prime Minister Mario Draghi's policy of delivering arms to Ukraine while party leader Giuseppe Conte opposes it. Before the split the Five Star Movement was the strongest group in the Italian parliament. Is this the end of the line for the party - and perhaps even for the country's fragile government?
Since last week the amount of gas flowing to Western Europe through the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline has dwindled significantly - due to technical problems, the Kremlin claims. To reduce their dependence on Russian gas, several countries are increasingly turning to environmentally harmful alternatives such as coal-fired plants. Europe's press follows the developments with a critical eye.
In the UK, around 40,000 railway workers have gone on strike this Tuesday for higher wages and against job cuts. This is the country's biggest walkout in 30 years and is expected to paralyse large sections of the national rail network. With the prospect of other public sector employees joining the strike, fears of a "summer of discontent" are growing.
Spain's largest fishing company Nueva Pescanova has announced plans to breed octopus for commercial consumption starting next year. Animal welfare organisations are incensed, arguing that the cephalopod's intelligence makes this "unethical and questionable". Commentators in Greece, where octopus is a standard ingredient of the national cuisine, take different views on the consumption of this complex sea creature.
In 2018 Vienna decided to reduce family benefits for all workers whose children live abroad, lowering them to the level of the country of origin. Now the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that this 'indexation' mechanism breaches EU law, leaving Austria facing hefty back payments. Observers see this as punishment for the populism that prevailed when Sebastian Kurz was the country's chanellor.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis sent a clear message of solidarity with Ukraine during their visit to Kyiv, vowing to support the nation as long as needed. President Voldymyr Zelensky spoke of a "historic day" for his country. Commentators say more must be done, however.
As many regions in Europe struggle with a heat wave, Russia is reducing its gas supplies, leaving the continent facing the prospect of a cold winter. Germany and Italy, which under normal circumstances would be filling up their gas storage facilities in preparation for the cold season, are currently the worst affected. The shortages have caused a 30-percent rise in gas prices. Media in Central and Eastern Europe are concerned for consumers.
Eurozone finance ministers on Thursday approved a recommendation by the EU Commission to end the enhanced economic surveillance of Greece, noting that the country had successfully fulfilled most of its obligations. This closes a chapter that began in 2010 in the wake of the financial and economic crisis. The national press nonetheless sees little reason to celebrate.
Brussels is launching legal proceedings against the bill with which the British government aims to circumvent the Northern Ireland Protocol. EU Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič has called the plans illegal and announced two new infringement proceedings as well as the reopening of a previous lawsuit. For London this could mean having to appear before the European Court of Justice and pay a fine.
The ECB's Governing Council has held an emergency meeting just one week after announcing an interest rate hike. The monetary watchdog is concerned about the rise in yields on government bonds which followed the announcement and which poses a problem for highly indebted countries like Italy. Among other measures, the ECB plans to help these countries by reinvesting redemptions from maturing bonds.