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Europe briefing: France braces for more protests and CDU votes on Merkel’s replacement

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Europe briefing: France braces for more protests and CDU votes on Merkel’s replacement

Europe briefing: France braces for more protests and CDU votes on Merkel’s replacement
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1) French government braces for more 'gilets jaunes' protests

France is stepping up its security ahead of a planned 'gilets jaunes' ('yellow vests') protest on Saturday.

Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said 89,000 members of the security forces would be deployed across the country ahead of the demonstration, including 8,000 in Paris. Museums and the Eiffel Tower will be closed.

Students protesting against education reforms have also declared their support for the gilets jaunes movement.

A video showing students kneeling with their hands over their heads while police monitor them has sparked outrage.

2) Aquarius migrant ship ends rescue operations

The Aquarius migrant ship will end its search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, Doctors Without Borders and SOS Méditerranée announced.

For the past two months, the ship has been docked in port due to "smear campaigns" by the Italian government, according to the NGOs.

Head of emergencies at MSF, Karline Kleijer, told Euronews there were other accusations such as smuggling and illegal waste disposal that made it impossible for them to carry on with the rescue operations.

3) Christian Democrats gather to choose a new party leader

A new era begins as Angela Merkel steps down as leader of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany party.

The party will decide on Friday who will replace Merkel.

The future leader will be put on track to become the next chancellor of the country in 2021. The main frontrunners are Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Friedrich Merz — who lost to Merkel on 2002.

4) Switzerland decides whether to further align with the EU

The Swiss government will decide on Friday whether to accept an agreement to move closer to EU regulations, despite not being a member.

Its seven-member cabinet will decide if they accept a "new institutional framework" agreement with Brussels in which the Swiss would be made to adopt some EU rules automatically.

5) 'Europe should be worried about Huawei' says EU's tech commissioner

EU tech commissioner Andrus Ansip warned on Friday that the EU should be "worried" about Chinese technology company Huawei because of security risks they might pose to the bloc.

"We have to be worried about these companies," Ansip said at a news conference in Brussels, a day after a top executive at Huawei was arrested in Canada as part of an investigation on bank fraud.