Belgium

222 MEPs call on Egypt’s Sisi to release political prisoners

22 Oct 2020; MEMO: Two hundred twenty-two members of the European Parliament (MEPs) sent an open letter to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on 21 October to voice their: “Deep concern about the ongoing detention of prisoners of conscience in Egypt.” The MEPs also called on him to end reprisals against human rights activists, according to German website DW.

EU signs contract with pharmaceutical giant J&J to purchase COVID-19 vaccines

BRUSSELS, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- The European Commission has signed contract with pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson (J&J), which will enable European Union (EU) member states to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for up to 400 million people, a spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Spokesperson Stefan de Keersmaecker told a press briefing that the contract with J&J was the third one signed by the commission on behalf of the whole EU.

EU negotiators expect to resume trade talks with UK, EU sources say

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Negotiators from the European Union are expected to travel to London on Thursday to resume talks with Britain, two EU sources said, a move, that if confirmed, would mark a new push to protect billions of dollars worth of trade.

Both the EU and Britain have spent days calling on the other side to offer more concessions in talks, which have been all but deadlocked since the summer, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson walked away from the negotiations last week.

Son of Iraq refugee takes office as migration and asylum minister in Belgium

20 Oct 2020; MEMO: The son of an Iraqi refugee who emigrated to Belgium in 1970 has become the country’s new minister for migration and asylum.

Sammy Mahdi, 32 of the Flemish Christian democrats has served as the leader of the Young Christian Democrats and nearly became Flemish Christian democrat leader last year.

Mr. Mahdi said in statements to local media that he intends to increase the number of deportations of asylum seekers whose files had been rejected by the Belgian authorities.

EU hails US plan to remove Sudan from terror blacklist

BRUSSELS, Oct 20 (NNN-AGENCIES) — The EU’s diplomatic chief welcomed President Donald Trump’s announcement that he is ready to remove Sudan from a US blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism.

The move, a major boost for Sudan’s civilian-backed government after decades as an international pariah, came after Khartoum agreed to a $335 million compensation package for victims and relatives of past attacks, Trump wrote on Twitter.

Brexit brinkmanship: UK tells EU door still open for deal

LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain said on Monday the door was still open if the European Union wanted to make some small concessions to save Brexit trade talks, but that unless the bloc budged there would be a no-deal exit in 10 weeks.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday there was no point in continuing talks and it was time to prepare for a no-deal departure when Britain’s informal EU membership - known as the transition period - ends on Dec. 31.

Europe telecoms group denounces bans on Chinese equipment vendors

BRUSSELS, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- A pan-European telecoms association has warned against banning Chinese equipment vendors, saying that the consequences would be costs increase and delay of 5G networks deployment.

In a recent statement, the European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA) said it "denounces any bans of Chinese 5G suppliers for geopolitical reasons and emphasizes that such decisions can only be justified on the basis of well-established facts."

Belgium fears virus “tsunami” as virus cases keep soaring

BRUSSELS (AP) — Bars and restaurants across Belgium shut down for a month and a night-time curfew took effect Monday as health authorities warned of a possible “tsunami” of new virus cases in the hard-hit nation that host the European Union’s headquarters.

The new measures aim to limit social interactions to slow down the exponential growth of the pandemic in the nation of 11.5 million people. The new surge of coronavirus cases has already prompted several hospitals to delay non-essential operations to focus on treating COVID-19 cases.

Russia-EU relations hit lowest point after sanctions over Navalny incident - diplomat

BRUSSELS, October 17. /TASS/: Relations between Russia and the European Union have reached their lowest level in recent years after sanctions in connection with the incident with opposition blogger Alexey Navalny, Russia's Permanent Representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov told reporters on Saturday.

"This decision [of the Council of the EU] confirmed our worst fears that relations between Russia and the EU will be brought to their lowest level in recent years," he said, noting that currently there is "little left" of Russia’s trust in the EU.

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