The first EU summit after four months of video diplomacy will deal on Friday and Saturday with the coronavirus recovery fund and the budget. The Commission is proposing that 500 billion euros be allocated as grants and another 250 billion as loans. The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Austria are against this plan. Commentators examine the summit's potential for conflict.
The decision to convert the Hagia Sophia from a museum back into a mosque has drawn international criticism. After a court ruling, President Erdoğan on Friday signed a decree stipulating that the building will be used as a mosque in the future. Unesco has announced plans to re-examine the building's status as a world heritage site. Commentators discuss the ramifications and potential undesirable effects of the decision.
Thousands of Bulgarians have taken to the streets to protest against the government of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in recent days. The protesters accuse the government of having close links to criminal oligarchs. Borisov is refusing to resign, saying that he sees no alternative to his own rule in the coronavirus crisis. The national press doesn't agree.
After an open letter in which more than 150 authors, scientists and activists including Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood and Noam Chomsky complain of an intolerant culture of debate, discussion of the so-called "Cancel Culture" continues. Commentators also take very different views on whether "the free exchange of information and ideas is becoming more restricted every day".
The oldest French nuclear power plant to date, Fessenheim in Alsace, was taken off the grid on June 30. Critics had argued for decades that the nuclear power plant, which went into operation in 1977, posed a major safety risk. German politicians and environmental activists welcomed the decommissioning of the plant, but many employees and residents fiercely opposed it. German and French commentators are also divided.
On 13 July 1920, Italian fascists burned down the Slovene National Hall in Trieste, a prelude to the persecution and assimilation of the Slovene minority under Mussolini. Now Italy has returned the building to Slovene ownership and Presidents Borut Pahor and Sergio Mattarella made a joint visit to nearby monuments. Will this bring the two sides any further in their difficult confrontation with the past?
Andrzej Duda has won Poland's presidential election. In the second round on July 12 the conservative incumbent received 51.03 percent of the vote, narrowly beating his rival Rafał Trzaskowski, the liberal mayor of Warsaw, who secured 48.97 percent. This neck-and-neck race will have major repercussions - even beyond Poland's borders, commentators say.
After considerable wrangling, the UN Security Council has approved an extension of cross-border humanitarian aid to Syria. A 2014 resolution which also allowed aid to be delivered to areas not controlled by the government expired on Saturday. However, due to opposition from Russia and China, who abstained in the last vote and had vetoed all previous proposals, aid can only be brought into the country via a single access point.
The international court of arbitration for sport (Cas) in Lausanne has overturned a two-year ban from European competition for Manchester City. Uefa had excluded the club from European competition for two years in February, but the court ruled that it had not been proven that payments made by the football club's main owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, had been disguised as sponsorship funds. Commentators are disappointed with the decision.
The genocide of Srebrenica was commemorated in Bosnia-Herzegovina and beyond on the weekend. In early July 1995, Bosnian Serb troops surrounded tens of thousands of Bosnian Muslims in the valley of the eastern Bosnian city and then murdered more than 8,000 men and boys while Dutch UN Blue Helmet troops stood by. Commentators take stock and draw lessons for the present.
In the East Siberian city of Khabarovsk tens of thousands of people protested on the weekend against the arrest of regional governor Sergei Furgal on charges of ordering two contract killings in 2005. Spontaneous protests in support of Furgal and against the Kremlin also took place in other cities. What is behind this strong reaction to the arrest of the politician from the far-right LDPR?
After weeks of discussion, wearing a mask became compulsory in Belgian shops, cinemas and other enclosed spaces on Saturday. The decision was taken on Thursday evening by the Council of Ministers, supplemented by regional representatives. In other countries such as France and Switzerland masks must only be worn on public transport - as was previously the case in Belgium. What changes will the new rule bring?