Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen has been narrowly elected president of the EU Commission following a secret ballot among MEPs. The centre-right defence minister will replace Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on 1 November. She has promised to push for the EU to play a bigger role in social welfare, to tackle poverty, and has stressed that she would stand up for women’s rights.
Western Europe is expecting a potentially devastating heat wave that could reach temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In France, this heat wave is being compared to one it experienced almost 16 years ago when thousands died. The European Union’s Emergency Response Coordination Center warned the heat wave is expected to peak by Thursday afternoon, where temperatures can reach more than 96 degrees Fahrenheit and rise above 104 degrees throughout most of the continent.
Russian activist group Pussy Riot member Pyotr Verzilov was flown to Germany on Thursday for treatment after suspected poisoning. Verzilov holds Russian and Canadian citizenship. Two people, including one Russian, got sick while eating in a Salisbury, UK restaurant on Sunday; the city where a previous poisoning occurred. Authorities said it is not clear if a crime was committed.
Thousands of protestors against Britain’s withdrawal from the EU marched in London on Saturday to demand a final vote by citizens on the Brexit deal. One person was killed and four others injured in an attack on a Roma camp in western Ukraine on Saturday night. Seven suspects in the attack have been arrested.
Eurocontrol, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation announced that about half of European flights could be delayed after a system failure on Tuesday. The failure of the ‘Enhanced Tactical Flow Management System’ took place at the Eurocontrol center in Brussels, Belgium. The fault was only the system’s second failure in 20 years.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced a ‘state of social and economic emergency’ on Monday promising to raise the minimum wage and eliminate certain taxes. The changes came in response to widespread violent anti-government protests. Facing almost certain defeat, British Prime Minister Theresa May delayed the Parliament Brexit vote on Monday to ask EU leaders for additional changes to the deal.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they are expecting their first child on Monday. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first child is expected to arrive in the spring. The father of football player Vincent Kompany became the first black mayor in Belgium. Pierre Kompany is now mayor of a town in the Brussels region.
French fishermen on 35 boats were accused of insulting and attacking British rivals on 5 vessels in the English Channel over scallops on Tuesday. The clash took place about 12 miles off the Normandy Coast. While British boats are legally entitled to fishing in the area, the French accuse them of depleting the shellfish stock.
The ‘Beast from the East,’ a cold blast from Siberia continues to make its way across Europe, reaching as far south as the Mediterranean, with flight cancellations, closed roads and schools, and suspended rail service. The World Health Organization issued a warning that the poor, homeless and migrants will be hit hardest by the cold.
While visiting the former Western Front in Verdun, French President Emmanuel Macron said Europeans cannot be protected without a ‘true, European army.’ Macron said the army is necessary to protect the continent against China, Russia, and the US. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has been supportive of a common defense capability.