Europe briefing: Matthew Hedges returns to UK, Trump on Brexit, Ukraine-Russia standoff

Europe briefing: Matthew Hedges returns to UK, Trump on Brexit, Ukraine-Russia standoff
Copyright Reuters
By Emma Beswick with With Reuters
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Here are the top stories from across Europe you need to know about this morning.

1) Matthew Hedges returns to the UK


A flight carrying British academic Matthew Hedges this morning landed at London Heathrow airport from the UAE, according to a Reuters photographer.

The United Arab Emirates on Sunday pardoned Hedges almost a week after a court sentenced him to life in prison for spying.

The 31-year-old had been in custody since May 5 after being arrested at Dubai airport. Emirati authorities accused Hedges of spying, whereas he maintained he was carrying out research for his academic studies.

2) Ukraine & Russia Azov Sea standoff

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Monday signed a decree to introduce martial law for 30 days, a statement said on his website. It came after Russia fired at and captured three Ukrainian vessels, triggering a sharp escalation in tensions between the two countries.

3) Trump on Brexit

US President Donald Trump dealt a major blow to Britain's Theresa May on Monday telling reporters that the draft Brexit deal could prevent the US and the UK from striking out a trade agreement.

Trump told reporters outside the White House that the Withdrawal Agreement — approved by EU leaders on Sunday — "sounds like a great deal for the EU."

Meanwhile, the May was set to visit Wales and Northern Ireland for meetings with agricultural producers, employers and political leaders.

4) Macron announces closure of 14 nuclear reactors

In a long-awaited speech on energy strategy, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday France would reduce its share of nuclear energy in power production to 50% by 2035 from 75% today, but he said France would not phase out nuclear entirely.

Macron said 14 of EDF’s 58 nuclear reactors would be closed by 2035.

The French government will not close any of its nuclear reactors besides Fessenheim before the end of the current presidential mandate which runs until 2022, he added.

  1. European consumer groups challenge Google over location tracking

Consumer agencies in the Netherlands, Poland and five other European Union countries on Tuesday asked privacy regulators to take action against Google (GOOGL.O) for allegedly tracking the movements of millions of users in breach of the bloc’s new privacy law.

Google is already facing a lawsuit in the USA for allegedly tracking phone users regardless of privacy settings.

Here's how events unfolded:

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