EU activates the Civil Protection Mechanism for Slovenia

Brussels (STA) – The Civil Protection Mechanism (CPM) has been activated in Brussels at the request of Slovenia, which has been facing catastrophic floods since Friday, European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič announced on Sunday. The list of needs, which mainly includes requests for heavy machinery, has already been forwarded to the EU Member States.

“The first list of needs has already been dispatched to our member states, asking for mostly heavy machinery and engineering units to operate them,” Lenarčič announced. Slovenia has requested a total of 40 working machines – such as excavators – and 30 specialised watercourse management vehicles, both with engineering teams, as well as 20 prefabricated bridges through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. It has also requested satellite mapping to help national authorities assess the full extent of the damage.

In addition, the Slovenian government has requested assistance through the NATO mechanism and will submit an application to the European Commission for assistance from the EU Solidarity Fund, which provides grants to member states in the event of natural disasters.

Commissioner Lenarčič added that Slovenia could also obtain assistance from other EU funds, including the European agricultural crisis reserve, which could provide support to cover the destruction of crops and farm machinery, as well as cohesion funds, the European Regional Development Fund and the Recovery and Resilience Facility. (6 August)

Niger: EU “strongly” condemns the suspension of France 24 and RFI

Brussels (AFP) – The European Union “strongly” condemned the blocking of French media broadcasts from France 24 and RFI in Niger, where last week’s coup sparked protests against the country’s former colonial ruler.

Radio France Internationale (RFI) and the France 24 channel have been inaccessible since Thursday in Niger, where a military coup overthrew the elected president Mohamed Bazoum. (4 August)

“This step is a serious violation of the right to information and freedom of expression. The EU strongly condemns these violations of fundamental freedoms,” EU spokeswoman Nabila Massrali said on Twiter, which has recently been renamed “X”.

TikTok adapts policy to meet EU requirements

Brussels (Belga) – TikTok is to make changes to comply with strict new EU rules. European users will now have the option to no longer be sent what critics say are addictive personalised videos.

TikTok announced on Friday that it will now give users in Europe the option to turn off the ‘For You’ feature, which allows people to watch videos based on their personal interests. They will instead be shown videos that are popular globally or domestically.

TikTok also announced that it will now be easier for European users to report illegal content. Users under 17 in Europe will also no longer see ads.

The new EU legislation is intended to better safeguard users’ privacy and provide better protection against disinformation, advertising and harmful content. European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton had given the Chinese company until September to adjust its policy. Last month, he urged TikTok to move faster.

Thanks to algorithms powered by artificial intelligence, TikTok is very popular among young people and has more than a billion users now. In Europe, TikTok is viewed suspiciously because the app is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company.

ByteDance has always emphasised that it is not under the control the Beijing government Companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, X (formerly Twitter) and Wikipedia will also have to comply with European Digital Services Act (DSA) rules by September. (4 August)

Bulgarian project from Gabrovo is among the finalists in the RegioStars 2023 competition

Gabrovo (BTA) – The CINEMA project of the Bulgarian municipality of Gabrovo for the development of its Sixth District has been selected among the 30 finalists of the RegioStars 2023 competition organised by the European Commission, local government expert Miglena Vuglenova said.

Gabrovo made its entry in the “A Europe closer to the citizens” section. CINEMA (Creative Industries For New Urban Economies In The Danube Region) involves 22 regional and municipal institutions from Europe. The project helps eight cities in the Danube region to regenerate abandoned urban centres or empty spaces through the potential of creative industries and local traditions.

In Gabrovo, the activities focused on the old part of the Sixth District. Through a series of initiatives, a mechanism is being sought to make it a preferred place for tourists, business and interesting art events. The project was implemented under the transnational cooperation programme Interreg Danube 2014-2020 within 30 months – from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2022.

The Sixth District is the oldest part of Gabrovo, where the first city street was laid out, reminiscent of the spirit of life in the 18th century.

Online voting for the People’s Choice Award will be open from 14 September to 14 November. The finalists will publicly present their projects in Brussels on 11 October during the European Week of Regions and Cities. The awards ceremony is expected to take place on 16 November in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

The winners in each category will receive a communication campaign to promote the winning activities. (3 August)

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