After attending an illegal party and causing a scandal in Brussels, the conservative Hungarian MEP József Szájer has resigned from his post. According to media reports, the co-founder of the Hungarian governing party Fidesz attended an orgy that violated the coronavirus regulations, and he was carrying drugs at the time. How big is the political fallout?
The closer we get to vaccine availability, the more heated the discussion about the right vaccination strategy is becoming. In many European countries, the authorities plan to vaccinate the risk groups first. In France, for example, nursing home residents are likely to be given priority. But opposition to such a strategy is growing louder in the commentary columns.
Officially, the plan is still for Belarus and Latvia to jointly host the Ice Hockey World Championship due to start on 21 May 2021. So far, the International Ice Hockey Federation has only questioned Belarus's suitability as host from the point of view of its lack of coronavirus measures. International commentators call for a clear political statement that cites the allegations of election manipulation and human rights violations.
Like other islands on the EU's external border, the Canary Islands are now also turning into a migration hotspot. More and more people are arriving there from the coast of Africa, and the islands' authorities are having a hard time coping. Commentators call on policymakers to look beyond border security and also focus on diplomacy and integration.
The pandemic is facing politicians with some difficult decisions: how many restrictions can be imposed without destroying the economy, and how much can they be loosened without endangering too many lives? With the prospect of effective vaccines on the horizon, these questions are gaining new relevance. Commentators argue that the economy and public health are not mutually exclusive.
In response to demonstrations and protests even from their own members, France's governing parties plan to revise Article 24 of the new security law. Christophe Castaner, chairman of Macron's party La Republique en marche, announced the move on Twitter. In its current form, the article would prohibit the publication of images in which individual police officers can be clearly identified. Observers say this is by no means the end of the affair.
Ursula von der Leyen's first year in office has turned out very differently than expected. The EU is fighting the coronavirus pandemic and the worst recession in its history. Von der Leyen's prestige project, the Green Deal, seems to have been put on hold for the time being. Observers discuss whether she is up to the job.
The UN is currently looking into whether new talks on the reunification of Cyprus, which has been divided since 1974, are currently feasible. In addition a conference is in planning at which the guarantor powers Turkey, Greece and Britain will also sit at the table. Cypriot media doubt that either side is willing or able to reconcile the Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
France saw more protests and rioting this weekend against a proposed security law aimed at restricting the filming of police in action. Hundreds of thousands of people came together to protest on Saturday, further incensed by a police attack on music producer Michel Zecler in his studio on Thursday that was documented by a surveillance camera.
In Switzerland, the Responsibile Business Initiative was narrowly defeated on Sunday. While 50.7 percent voted for Swiss companies that violate human rights and environmental standards abroad to be held accountable under civil law in their home country, the majority of Swiss cantons (including almost all the German-speaking ones) rejected the initiative.