News from Europe and the World, 11 January 2021

Western Europe

Austria: Austrian Labor and Family Minister Christine Aschbacher (ÖVP) has announced her decision to leave the government, saying that the "media and political comrades" have judged her prematurely. The former labor minister faced allegations of plagiarism in connection with her master's thesis.

Belgium: "Belgium will request ten million additional Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccines," announced Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke over the weekend. At the same time, there is still no official database on vaccination efforts. "We are asking for a fair share. If Pfizer delivers a total of 600 million doses to Europe, Belgians are entitled to 15 million," Vandenbroucke said on the Flemish television program De Zevende Dag.

France: Regarding the new coronavirus variant that recently emerged in the UK, Health Minister Olivier Véran said that "we are doing everything we can to prevent the spread of this mutation". Eight more departments in eastern France decided on Sunday to extend the curfew from 6 p.m. So far, it has been in force in fifteen departments.

Ireland: "The outbreak of the recently discovered South African COVID-19 variant has been contained," Irish health officials said. Still, the COVID-19 mutation first identified in the United Kingdom has authorities concerned.

Germany: Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble has decided to increase security at the German parliament building. The decision comes after lawmakers called late last week for increased security around the Bundestag in response to the riots on Capitol Hill.

Visegrad Group

Czech Republic: "The Czech Republic should receive the first 20,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine on Monday," Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told Czech television. The European Medical Agency (EMA) and the European Commission approved the Moderna vaccine on January 6 without specifying exactly when distribution should begin.

Slovakia: Former police chief Milan Lučanský, who in early December was charged with, among other things, corruption in a police operation codenamed "Judas," attempted to commit suicide on December 29 while in pre-trial detention. He died in hospital a day later. Milan Lučanský took the top post in the Slovak police force during the reconstruction of the Smer-SD-led government after the murders of journalists Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírova.


Bosnia and Herzegovina: German MP Stefan Kaufmann (CDU) congratulated the controversial Republika Srpska (RS) Day, which Bosnian Serbs celebrate on January 9 as the day the Bosnian Serb republic was established in 1992. - despite the fact that the Constitutional Court of BiH declared it unconstitutional. Following harsh reactions in Bosnia, Kaufmann apologized on Twitter, explaining that he was "unaware of the negative connotations associated with the day."

Northern Europe

Sweden: The Swedish parliament has passed a law that gives the government the power to tighten measures in the fight against the current pandemic. The law, which took effect on Sunday, allows the government to limit the opening hours of businesses and the number of visitors in stores, restaurants and bars, public transport and sports and cultural venues.




Parliamentary committees

Law and Justice



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