EU: Syrian refugees’ claim for compensation against Frontex rejected

Brussels (AFP) – On Wednesday, the European Court of Justice rejected a claim for compensation brought against Frontex by a family of Syrians after they were turned back from Greece to Turkey, ruling that the EU’s border guard agency was not liable for their damages.

This is the first time that the European courts have ruled on such a claim, while the practice of illegally turning back migrants at the EU’s external borders is regularly denounced by international organisations and reported in the media. The Kurdish family from Syria with four young children, now living in Iraq, had arrived on a Greek island in 2016.

They were sent back to Turkey on a flight organised jointly by the Greek state and Frontex, even though, according to their lawyers, their asylum application had not yet been processed. They were claiming more than 96,000 euros for material and 40,000 euros for non-material damages. (6 September 2023)

European Commission requires six major technology companies to comply with antitrust law

Brussels (EFE) – This Wednesday, the European Commission (EC) ruled to force Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta and Microsoft to comply with the Digital Markets Act, the new antitrust regulation of the European Union (EU) aimed at controlling the market power of big technology companies.

All of the six companies meet the requirements of being covered by the law: they operate in at least three EU countries and either had a turnover in Europe of at least 7.5 billion euros in the last three years, or a market value of 75 billion in the last financial year, or at least 45 million active users and more than 10,000 business users per year. The EC therefore believes that they have sufficient power to distort the market, so in the next six months they will have to meet the criteria established by the EU with the aim of guaranteeing free competition in the digital economy.

Specifically, 22 of the services offered by the companies will have to comply with the criteria. These include social networks Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn, messaging systems WhatsApp and Messenger, video platform YouTube, search engine Google Search and browsers Chrome and Safari. Also affected are operating systems iOS, Android and Windows, services Google Play and Google Shopping, Amazon Marketplace, Meta Marketplace, the mobile app shops of Apple (App Store) and Google (Google Play) as well as the online advertising tools of Google, Amazon and Meta. (6 September)

Ursula von der Leyen (CDU), Präsidentin der Europäischen Kommission, steht im Gebäude des Europäischen Parlaments und spricht. (zu dpa «Von der Leyen besucht Katastrophengebiete in Slowenien»)
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. Photo: Philipp von Ditfurth/dpa

Von der Leyen wants Africa as ally at UN climate conference

Brussels/Nairobi (Belga) – Europe and Africa should attend the UN climate conference COP28 in Dubai at the end of November as allies with common interests. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for this joint stance at the first African climate summit in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Tuesday.

“I’m here not only to listen to you, but also to make the European offer to be your ally at COP28 and work together on all issues on the agenda,” von der Leyen said. “No matter how different our continents may look, we share the same interests when it comes to climate action.”

No matter how different our continents may look, we share the same interests when it comes to climate action

Ursula von der Leyen

For example, von der Leyen wants to defend, together with African negotiators, a proposal for global carbon taxes and goals for the green energy transition. The Commission President also wants to reach out to Africans to develop green bond markets on the continent.

These were all levers to help attract private capital for green investments in Africa, von der Leyen argued. In her speech, she presented the green transition as an engine for economic development on the African continent with its enormous potential for renewable and green hydrogen and a wealth of crucial raw materials.

According to von der Leyen, this would also be a good thing for Europe. That is why the European Union, through its international investment program Global Gateway, is pumping billions into the green transition in Africa. For example, von der Leyen announced 12 million euros for the development of green hydrogen in the host country Kenya on Tuesday on the sidelines of the summit.

Belgian MEP Kathleen Van Brempt (Vooruit) agreed with von der Leyen that an alliance with Africa was crucial in the fight against climate change. The MEP said she was also satisfied that von der Leyen emphasised reciprocal partnerships, but “this also requires clear commitments on our part.”

Van Brempt recalled that rich countries had failed to live up to their financial commitments in the past. “The promised climate support is lagging behind. A clear strategy on how to share our technology with African countries is also missing. Both are crucial elements in that approach. The Commission must work on that.”

COP28 will take place in Dubai from November 30 to December 12.

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.