September 10, 2020 – Spain, Europe - Authorities in Spain's Basque region announced a primary school had been closed after some teachers tested positive for COVID-19. It is the first school in Spain to closed its doors since classes began on Monday. Spain's health emergency chief Fernando Simon is also set to hold a news conference on the coronavirus situation in Spain as the virus surges.
September 04, 2020 - Warsaw, Poland, Europe - Poland's top banks are setting aside hundreds of millions of euros to pay for mortgages mis-sold in Swiss francs, according to filings, after recent court rulings forced them to tackle a problem that plunged thousands of borrowers deeper into debt. The bill will redouble pressure on banks, including international players, in one of Europe's youngest and most promising economies as they grapple with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
September 03, 2020 - Slovakia, Europe - A Slovak court on Thursday found a politically connected businessman not guilty of charges that he ordered the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak, a case that shook the nation and brought down longtime premier Robert Fico.
September 03, 2020 - Paris, France, Europe - French prime minister Jean Castex and finance minister Bruno Le Maire unveil the 100 billion euro economic recovery-stimulus plan.The plan aims to channel billions of euros into green tech investment, public research, the health sector and incentives for relocating industry in France.
September 03, 2020 - Moscow, Russia, Europe - Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has appointed new heads of the KGB security service, the security council and the state control committee amid protests and strikes over a disputed election, the official Belta news agency reported on Thursday.
September 03, 2020 - Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The European Union hopes it will get 30 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year, the first batch in a deal struck with British drugmaker AstraZeneca, a European Commission official said on Thursday.
August 31, 2020 - Spain, Europe - The Spanish economy has been growing at a rate of more than 10% so far in the third quarter following a record drop in the preceding quarter due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Economy Minister Nadia Calvino said on Monday.
August 28, 2020 - BERLIN/BRUSSELS - The European Union is preparing sanctions against Turkey that could be discussed at the bloc's next summit on Sept. 24 in response to the eastern Mediterranean dispute with Greece, the EU's top diplomat said on Friday.
The measures, meant to limit Turkey's ability to explore for natural gas in contested waters, could affect individuals, ships or the use of European ports, Josep Borrell said. The EU would focus on everything related to "activities we consider illegal", he added.
Borrell spoke in Berlin where EU foreign ministers met to discuss support for Greece after Athens ratified a pact on its maritime boundaries to counter Turkey's claims to energy resources in the region.
In a fresh sign of tensions, Turkey's Defence Ministry said Turkish F-16 jets on Thursday prevented six Greek F-16 jets which took off from the island of Crete from entering an area where Ankara is conducting maritime activity.
Greek media reported that Turkish fighter aircraft had harassed Greek jets which were returning to base on Crete. Accusations and counter accusations on military issues are common between the two NATO allies.
In Berlin, Borrell said the bloc was ready to sanction Turkish vessels, block their access to EU ports and cut off supplies.
"We can go to measures related to sectoral activities ... where the Turkish economy is related to the European economy," Borrell told a news conference, referring to possible sanctions.
Turkey's foreign ministry said the EU had no basis for its stance and rejected Greek maritime claims. President Tayyip Erdogan told NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg Turkey will continue to protect its rights and interests everywhere.
"Our President told him NATO must fulfill its responsibility against unilateral steps which disregard international law and harm regional peace," Erdogan's office said in a statement.
France has notably taken a tough stance on Turkey's actions in the eastern Mediterranean and French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday this was to set red lines because Ankara respects actions not words.
Borrell and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the EU first wanted to give dialogue a chance to cool tensions.
Turkey is a formal candidate to join the EU, although its candidacy is at risk and could be withdrawn as a type of sanction, diplomats have said.
Two senior EU diplomats told VSBCnews sources that foreign ministers agreed to leave any decision to EU government leaders, who are set to meet for a two-day summit from Sept. 24.
"Nothing will be decided before the September European Council," a senior diplomat said, although the envoy added that Turkey could also be rewarded with greater access to the EU's market of 450 million consumers if it curtailed its drilling.
August 28, 2020 – PARIS - French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that he had taken a tough stance over the summer with regard to Turkey's actions in the eastern Mediterranean, setting red lines because Ankara respects actions not words.
Relations between France and Turkey have soured in recent months over Ankara's role in NATO, Libya and the Mediterranean.
Macron has called for the EU to show solidarity with Greece and Cyprus in the dispute over natural gas reserves off Cyprus and the extent of their continental shelves and has pushed for further sanctions at EU level, although there are divisions in the bloc over the issue.
"When it comes to Mediterranean sovereignty, I have to be consistent in deeds and words," Macron told reporters at a news conference.
"I can tell you that the Turks only consider and respect that. If you say words that are not followed by acts...What France did this summer was important: it's a red line policy. I did it in Syria," he said referring to French air strikes against suspected chemical weapons sites in Syria.
France this week joined military exercises with Italy, Greece and Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean as the dispute between Turkey and Greece escalated after Ankara sent its Oruc Reis survey vessel to disputed waters this month, a move Athens has called illegal.
Macron said he had been firm, but restrained.
"It was proportionate. We didn't send an armada," he said.
Macron has repeatedly demanded further EU sanctions against Turkey and the two NATO allies almost came to blows in June after a French warship attempted to inspect a Turkish vessel as part of a U.N. arms embargo for Libya.
"I don't consider that in recent years Turkey's strategy is the strategy of a NATO ally ... when you have a country which attacks the exclusive economic zones or the sovereignty of two members of the European Union," he said, describing Turkey's actions as provocations.
"What would our credibility be in handling Belarus if we did not react to attacks on the sovereignty of our own members?"
Germany has sought a less confrontational approach, attempting to mediate between Ankara and Athens.
On Tuesday their respective foreign ministers said they wanted to solve the matter through dialogue following talks with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. However, each warned that they would continue to defend their rights in the region.
"Germany and other partners are beginning to agree with us that Turkey's agenda is problematic today," Macron said. "When six months ago people were saying France is the only one blaming Turkey for things, everyone now sees that there is a problem."
August 27, 2020 - Geneva, Switzerland, Europe - The World Health Organization (WHO) reiterated its advice on Thursday that resources permitting, people exposed to the novel coronavirus should be tested even if they do not show immediate symptoms of infection. World Health Organization holds briefing on the latest worldwide developments of the coronavirus outbreak.