Europe briefing: 7 stories to know about today

Europe briefing: 7 stories to know about today
Copyright Reuters
By Pascale Davies
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All you need to know from Europe on Friday, August 17.

1. Barcelona twin terror attack anniversary


Commemorations are underway in Barcelona one year after 14 people were killed in an attack on Las Ramblas.

Nine hours after the Barcelona attack, five men drove a car into pedestrians in Cambrils, 120 kilometres south of Barcelona, killing one woman and injuring six others.

The King of Spain attended in a slightly awkward visit amid the crisis in Catalonia following the region's declaration of independence in October.

2. Italy bridge collapse

Preparations are underway for the funerals on Saturday for some of the 38 killed after a bridge in Genoa collapsed earlier this week.

The government has offered to pay for the funerals, but some families have rejected the help as anger mounts.

Some 600 people living in the area have been evacuated due to fears other parts of the bridge could collapse.

Meanwhile, a row with the EU has ensued after Itay's populist government suggested EU spending limits could have been responsible for the disaster.

But a spokesman for the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters on Thursday the EU had formally told Italy to improve its infrastructure and had given it billions in development funds.

Read more here.

3. Turkey currency crisis

The US warned it could impose more tariffs on Turkey unless it frees the American pastor Andrew Brunson. The pastor is on trial on terrorism charges and is accused of being linked to political groups allegedly involved in the 2016 failed coup.

The dispute has seen the two Nato allies impose sanctions on each other's goods this week.

The stand-off has contributed to Turkey's collapsing currency which has weakened 35% against the dollar this year and hit record lows earlier this week.

On Thursday, Qatar gave Turkey a $15 billion lifeline investment, but the US' new threat sent the lira down to 5.86 against the dollar in early trading on Friday.

4. Greek bailout comes to an end

Greece is set to exit the last of its three bailouts on Monday and is hoping to borrow again in international markets. The country has been in a debt crisis for nearly nine years and in that time, has seen four successive governments that have fought to keep bankruptcy at bay.

The country has borrowed more than 260 billion euros from the International Monetary Fund and Greece's euro zone partners.

Though Greece is on the right path, the IMF is sceptical about a full recovery and said: "external and domestic risks are tilted to the downside".

Read the full story here.

5. The Vatican breaks silence over US sex report abuse

The Vatican has expressed "shame and sorrow" over revelations that Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania allegedly sexually abused about 1,000 people over seven decades.


The Vatican has vowed to hold abusers and those who protected them to account, it said on Thursday.

A spokesman said Pope Francis understands how "these crimes can shake the faith and spirit of believers" and that the pontiff wanted to "root out this tragic horror."

Is the Pope's reaction to Pennsylvania child sex abuse adequate? Euronews answers here.

6. A Brexit no-deal would be a 'mistake'

The UK's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said a no-deal Brexit "would be a mistake we would regret for generations" but said he believed that other countries wanted to "engage seriously" to try to get a "pragmatic outcome".

Hunt made the comments to ITV News as Brexit talks resumed in Brussels between UK and EU officials.


However, on Friday, the Danish finance minister echoed mounting sceptecism that the chance of a no-deal Brexitis 50-50.

7. Swedish Muslim wins compensation after job interview

A Swedish Muslim woman won compensation after her job interview ended after she refused a handshake.

The 24-year-old, Farah Alhajeh, was applying for a job as an interpreter when she declined to shake the hand of a male interviewer for religious reasons.

She instead placed her hand over her heart as a greeting.

The Swedish labour court ruled the company had to pay her 40,000 kronor (3,800 euros) in compensation.


Scroll to see what else happened in the world on Friday morning.

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