Former European Commission President Jacques Delors has died at the age of 98. German business sectors are pessimistic about the year ahead. Spain advocates the creation of a special mission in the Red Sea in the face of attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
In 2024, elections will take centre stage – not only domestically but also EU-wide as well as in the USA and Russia. The Union is looking at elections in early June. Many of the present discussions revolving around migration, enlargement or the budget will remain hot-button issues. The beginning of the year is marked by the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union beginning as well as an extraordinary EU Council Summit. What are the individual countries looking at?
In the summer of 2023, Serbia faced an outbreak of African swine fever among domestic pigs, which forced the authorities to euthanise tens of thousands of animals. In late November, Belgrade announced a wave of avian influenza among wild birds. Despite the facts, a false claim circulated on social media in Bulgarian that these and other animal diseases do not exist in Serbia, which is not a member of the European Union. The posts promote a false narrative suggesting that Brussels has concocted fictitious animal diseases and that they are therefore only found in EU countries.
Europe in brief: Highest per capita number of EU asylum applications in Austria, breakthrough in EU asylum reform and agreement to relax EU budgetary rules
According to Eurostat, Austria recorded the highest number of first-time asylum applications per capita in September 2023. The country ranks third in the EU for unaccompanied minors. The European Parliament and the member states have reached an agreement on the sweeping reform of the asylum and migration policy. The EU-27 agreed to relax budgetary rules.
The European Union wants to better protect journalists and media companies from political influence and has agreed on the so-called European Media Freedom Act. While the safeguards offered by the law have been mostly welcomed, it does not come without flaws – and issues across the European media landscape remain.