Europe briefing: eight stories to know about today

Europe briefing: eight stories to know about today
Copyright Reuters
Copyright Reuters
By Chris Harris
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In a rush? Here are eight stories from around Europe you need know about this lunchtime.

1. Sea crossings to Europe ‘deadlier than ever’ for migrants


Arriving by sea to Europe is deadlier than ever for migrants, according to a new report from the UN’s refugee agency, even though less are attempting the trip.

UNHCR says NGOs are being put off carrying out rescue missions off the Libya coast and that is contributing to a higher death rate.

It said one-in-18 people died on the central Mediterranean route from Libya to Italy in the first seven months of this year, compared to one-in-42 over the same period last year.

2. Failed asylum seeker convicted of murder in Germany

A failed asylum seeker in Germany has been given an 8-and-a-half-year jail term after being found guilty of stabbing to death his ex-girlfriend, reports DPA.

The high-profile case has been seized upon by the far-right to criticise Angela Merkel's decision to let more than a million migrants into Germany in 2015. It comes amid protests in the eastern city of Chemnitz after another fatal stabbing.

The defendant, identified only as Abdul D, was convicted by a court in Landau on Monday of stabbing to death his 15-year-old ex-girlfriend.

Abdul D, who claims he is from Afghanistan, arrived in Germany in April 2016 and his asylum request was rejected in February 2017, but was not immediately deported.

3. Tony Blair says May’s Brexit plan is ‘doomed to failure’

While for millions today spells a return to school, for others it’s back to Brexit, especially British Prime Minister Theresa May.

She is facing growing criticism of her new plan to quit the EU, which has already seen the resignations of Brexit chief David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s Brexit negotiator, said on Sunday he was “strongly-opposed” to the proposal.

The plan was also criticised by ex-British PM Tony Blair, who, in an exclusive interview with Euronews, said it was “doomed to failure”.

Johnson, writing in the Daily Telegraph on Monday, said May’s change of direction was a ‘fix’ that would only see a win for Brussels.

4. No-deal Brexit will be ‘overwhelmingly negative’ for the UK

A new report by the UK in a Changing Europe has claimed that a no-deal Brexit would be "overwhelmingly negative" for Britain.

It said impacts would be felt significantly in sectors such as agriculture, financial services, air transport and drugs.

Professor Anand Menon, director of The UK in a Changing Europe, said: “Make no mistake, the impact of a no-deal Brexit will be severe. In the short term at least, considerable uncertainty and disruption will result.

“While it is wise to plan for no deal, and indeed attempt to mitigate against the worst aspects of a chaotic Brexit, it makes far more sense to avoid such an outcome altogether.”

5. Major blaze hits art deco building in Liverpool

A major fire has hit one of Liverpool’s most famous landmarks: the iconic Littlewoods Pools building.

It broke out at 21h CET on Sunday and affected 40% of the art deco structure, which was built in 1938.


It came as another fire tore through and devastated Brazil's 200-year-old National Museum in Rio de Janeiro.

6. Wanted: footballers to play for Denmark’s national team

Denmark is looking for players for football games versus Slovakia and Wales this week after contract negotiations with its regular squad broke down.

The dispute is chiefly over the rights of players, including Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen, to make individual sponsorship agreements with companies competing with national team sponsors.

The Danish Football Association (DBU) on Sunday rejected the players' offer to extend their existing contracts for the next two games which would have postponed further negotiations until after those matches.

The team are scheduled to play Slovakia in a friendly on Wednesday and Wales in a Nations League group stage match on Sunday.


If the DBU fails to recruit players for the games, Denmark, who are ninth in the FIFA world rankings and reached the last 16 at this year's World Cup, could face expulsion from the 2020 European Championship.

7. UK and Germany smash solar records amid scorching summer

Europe’s heatwave-heavy summer caused forest fires as far north as the Arctic Circle and hit farmers hard.

But it was good for one sector: the solar power industry.

SolarPower Europe said the heatwave helped records tumble across the continent. In the UK, for example, solar power became the country’s number one energy source between June 21-28. It also hit record levels in Germany.

8. Rapper extradition verdict expected

Belgian authorities are set to decide today whether to extradite Mallorcan rapper Josep Miguel Arenas, better known as Valtonyc.


The 24-year-old was sentenced in Spain of glorifying terrorism and insulting the king in the lyrics of his songs.

Valtonyc, based in Belgium, was then subject of an international arrest warrant.

It comes amid concerns about freedom of expression in Spain. Amnesty International has said new, vaguely-worded counter-terrorism laws are targetting politically controversial song lyrics and jokes.

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