US President Joe Biden has triggered a global debate with his proposal to temporarily lift patent protection for Covid-19 vaccines. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has indicated that the EU is ready to discuss the proposal, but stressed that allowing exports was the key measure for the time being. Europe's commentators also discuss how vaccines can best be distributed fairly.
France and the UK are locked in a major dispute over post-Brexit fishing licences in the English Channel. French fishing boats threatened to blockade the harbour of the Channel island of Jersey. Both countries have deployed naval vessels to the area. Commentators discuss what can be done to prevent such confrontations.
According to a media report, Czech Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček offered to conceal the involvement of Russia's intelligence services in an attack on an ammunition depot in the Czech Republic in exchange for Moscow supplying the country with a million doses of Sputnik V. Hamáček denies the accusation but has not been able to disprove it. Commentators are nonplussed by this latest development in Czech-Russian relations.
The ambulance service in the Estonian capital of Tallinn has given its employees an ultimatum: those who haven't been vaccinated by the middle of May will have their contracts terminated. A member of staff contacted the media to report the new policy. Estonia's press discusses whether mandatory vaccination is justified.
Eight people died in a fire in an unregistered hostel in the centre of Riga at the end of April. The subsequent police investigation brought to light serious problems in this and other illegal hostels in the Latvian capital. The media criticise what appears to be a systemic lack of state supervision.
Europe's press is abuzz after the clear victory of Isabel Díaz Ayuso (PP) in Madrid's regional election. The incumbent regional president scored key points in the election campaign with her opposition to Spain's Covid lockdown policy and belongs to the right wing of her party which would be willing to enter a coalition with the far-right Vox.
A popular initiative aimed at introducing an "opt-out" system for organ donation has been launched in Switzerland. If a corresponding law were passed, the organs of all deceased persons would be available for transplant unless that person had stipulated otherwise. Swiss media are at odds over the moral and practical consequences of the system, which is already used in several countries.
Donald Trump will remain blocked on Facebook for the time being, the company's Oversight Board announced on Wednesday. The suspension, which has been in place since the storming of the Capitol, is to be reviewed within the next six months. Facebook accused the ex-president of inciting violence. Trump has now launched his own blog - and commentators doubt that the Facebook ban will be able to stop him.
Bill and Melinda Gates have filed for divorce after 27 years of marriage. The billionaire couple has made headlines in recent years with their philanthropic donations, although Microsoft founder Gates is often portrayed by conspiracy theorists as an evil string-puller. The news of the divorce has sent shock waves through the media.
Europe's cultural sector has been even harder hit by the pandemic than its tourism sector. According to an Ernst & Young study, its turnover plunged by 31 percent - or almost 200 billion euros - in 2020, and in the performing arts it dropped by as much as 90 percent. Pilot projects have recently been launched in the UK, Spain and other countries in preparation for rebooting the sector, including concerts attended by people who tested negative for the virus.
The Netherlands celebrates Liberation Day - the end of the German wartime occupation in 1945 - on 5 May. This year Angela Merkel will give an online speech to mark the occasion. The speech was to be given last year for the 75th anniversary of the event, but it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Other public figures have also attracted attention with gestures marking the day of remembrance.