The European Parliament calls for the inclusion of the right to abortion in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

Strasbourg (ANSA) – Following the decision of the US Supreme Court, the Strasbourg plenary approved a resolution in which the European Parliament “strongly condemns the regression in the area of women’s rights and sexual health” and proposes to include the right to abortion in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. (July 7)

Protests, riots and incidents following the “French proposal” for  EU negotiations

Skopje (MIA) –Protests with the slogan “Ultimatum-No thank you” against the French proposal for a negotiating framework with the EU have continued in Skopje for five days. Further protests in the capital have been announced for today.

The protests began peacefully on July 2 with a demand to reject the “French proposal”. Demonstrators believe that this proposal for a negotiating framework is balanced against North Macedonia and in favor of Bulgaria. The proposal includes an amendment of the North Macedonian constitution to integrate Bulgarian minority rights.

On July 4, some of the protesters resorted to violence and demolished protective fences in front of the government and parliament buildings. The situation escalated outside Parliament on Tuesday, when protesters and police clashed. According to the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), 47 police officers were injured and 11 protesters detained. Some state property has been damaged.

Yesterday, a violent incident occurred after a verbal altercation between protesters and young people. Firearms were used. The background remains unclear. A suspect, who had fired at the protesters, was arrested in the evening. The government, the president, and the opposition condemned the violence.

The demonstrations have no official organizer but are supported by the right-wing opposition party VMRO-DPMNE. More gatherings were announced for the upcoming days. (July 7)

“Historic” digital laws get green light by the European Parliament

Strasbourg (Belga) – On Tuesday, the European Parliament in Strasbourg adopted two laws with an overwhelming majority. These aim to bring order to the internet jungle, curb the power of the big online players and better protect users. Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, welcomed “the overwhelming vote” as “historic”.

Breton and his colleague Margrethe Vestager had tabled the proposals for a Digital Services Act (DSA) and a Digital Markets Act (DMA) about a year and a half ago. They are intended to adapt European legislation to an era, in which the internet and major digital platforms have taken a prominent place in everyday life.

On the two texts, MEPs reached an agreement with the member states earlier this year. The deal on the DSA was ratified in Strasbourg on Tuesday by 539 votes to 54 with 30 abstentions. This digital services law should provide more protection for users and, among other things, ensure that hate speech and other illegal content is removed more quickly. The basic principle: what is illegal offline must also be illegal online.

Validated by an even larger majority of 588 votes to 11 with 31 abstentions, the DMA focuses more strongly on market organization and should lead to a level playing field between digital companies. The law aims to prevent major search engines, social media, marketplaces and other so-called “gatekeepers” from imposing unfair conditions on companies and consumers. (July 5)

Euro at its lowest since 2002, EU economy worries

London (AFP) – The euro plunged to its lowest in nearly 20 years against the dollar on Tuesday, approaching parity, carried away by tensions on energy in Europe caused by the war in Ukraine.

At less than 1.03 dollars for one euro, the single European currency has reached its lowest levels since the end of 2002., These were its early days, when there were still many uncertainties for the new currency. Now, it is the risks caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resulting soaring gas prices, that weigh on the euro.

“Growing fears of a recession are driving the euro down, while the dollar is soaring”,

commented Fiona Cincotta, analyst at City Index.

Foreign exchange traders are betting that the US central bank (Fed) will continue to raise interest rates aggressively to keep inflation under control, she says. (July 5)

This is a compilation of the European coverage of enr news agencies. It is published Wednesdays and Fridays. The content is an editorial selection based on news by the respective agency.