France and Germany became the latest European countries to reopen their borders as the continent emerges from its three-month Covid-19 lockdown. Speaking on Sunday evening, France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, said the country’s Schengen borders would be open from Monday and its non-EU borders from 1 July. He said that while France could be proud of its response to the pandemic, it needed to reflect on the crisis.
Europe’s coronavirus death toll topped 100,000 on Sunday, according to an NBC News tally, less than 24 hours after protesters took to the streets of several U.S. state capitol buildings this weekend, to demand an end to shutdown orders. A number of state governors have sought to temper regional expectations about lifting lockdowns and have warned about moving too fast in the face of unresolved issues, like a lack of mass testing.
Some European countries have announced plans to ease restrictions on social life, transport and cross-border travel imposed since mid-March to battle the spread of the novel coronavirus. Britain extended its nationwide lockdown on April 16 for at least another three weeks. On April 15, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel announced partial reopening of shops next week and schools, hairdressers from May 4.
Europe is in eye of the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of cases nearing a million, and should move with extreme caution when considering easing lockdowns, the World Health Organization’s regional director said on Thursday. Companies and politicians across the world are worried about the economic impact of a long shutdown, and some countries in Europe are beginning to think about how to ease some societal restrictions.
US President Donald Trump has announced sweeping travel restrictions on 26 European countries in a bid to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The ban applies to travelers from countries which are members of the Schengen border-free travel area. The UK, Ireland and other non-Schengen countries are unaffected. US citizens are also exempt. The EU condemned the measures, which it said were taken “unilaterally and without consultation”.
At least seven people have died across Europe as Storm Ciara moves east, shutting down transport and leaving hundreds of thousands without power. High winds in Poland ripped the roof off a ski rental shop, killing a woman and her two daughters. Their father was injured. One man died after his boat capsized in southern Sweden. One other person on board remains missing.
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.
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.