Featured Image: The Reichstag in Berlin.
This Week in Europe brings you a rundown of the biggest or most interesting stories in Europe from the week, every weekend.
Berlin sees another anti-COVID protest
Local authorities broke up an anti-coronavirus rally in the German capital on Saturday a few hours after it started. The participants weren’t respecting social distancing measures and weren’t wearing masks. Not long after police broke up the demonstration, far-right extremists – waving the flag of the German Reich from 1871-1918 – attempted to storm the Reichstag. Police stopped them from entering the parliament building.
Authorities approved the Berlin demonstration beforehand but broke it up once they saw protesters weren’t respecting COVID-19 measures. As countries across Europe tighten coronavirus standards in public places, protests become more common. Anti-coronavirus demonstrators gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square, protesters marched against compulsory masks in Paris, and Zurich saw protesters calling for less stringent measures as well.
EU Trade Commissioner resigns over ‘Golfgate’
Irish Commissioner Phil Hogan resigned his post with the European Commission on Wednesday amidst a scandal dubbed ‘golfgate.’ Hogan, along with other prominent Irish politicians, attended the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner in county Galway despite coronavirus restrictions banning large public gatherings in Ireland. The news sparked outrage in Ireland. Some of the attendees, like agriculture minister Fianna Fáil resigned shortly after the story broke. Irish citizens and EU commentators called for Hogan’s resignation, which he eventually tendered in the following days. Many saw Hogan as a key figure in Brexit trade talks and wonder if his predecessor will be up to the same challenge.
Protests are ongoing in Belarus
Tens of thousands of people are protesting in the streets of Minsk, calling for President Alexander Lukashenko to step down. The presidential election results on August 9 declared Lukashenko the winner with 80 percent of the vote, which many dispute. International leaders criticized his administration, and numbers of protesters in the capital reached new heights. Lukashenko has said he refuses to step down, exacerbating tensions further. European leaders and U.S. officials aren’t recognizing the elections as free or fair. European leaders are also preparing to slap sanctions on those who were involved with rigging the results.
American policy on Huawei creates headaches for Europe
The U.S. announced that the use of American technology would be banned in Huawei microchips. As a result, Huawei warned that Europe’s consumers might be hit hard. The company didn’t confirm any potential effects on its supply chain, however. While the U.S. has aggressively tempered the Chinese tech giant’s influence, European countries have been more lax. The EU said it would work to reduce dependency on Huawei’s 5G networks but some European countries are moving more quickly than others in phasing Huawei out. Since the Continent still relies heavily on the company’s 4G networks, interruptions to Huawei’s supply chains due to the U.S. ban could have serious repercussions for Europe.
Other Interesting Stories from Europe This Week
Belgium loses 100 square meters after a border post moves
Protesters clashed with police over a far-right Koran-burning rally in Sweden
Messaging app Telegram changed the Belarus flag emoji to show solidarity with protesters
Germany passes new standards for dog owners
Read previous editions of This Week in Europe.