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EU summit, Strasbourg shooter, COP24: Europe briefing

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EU summit, Strasbourg shooter, COP24: Europe briefing
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Reuters
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1. EU leaders continue meeting, as May comes under fire

EU leaders continued their meeting in Brussels for the last council summit of the year on Friday, as British Prime Minister Theresa May sought "legal and political reassurances" on the Irish backstop issue.

You can follow our updates from the summit on this page.

On Thursday EU chiefs said the Brexit withdrawal agreement was “not open for renegotiation”, while adding that they would seek to agree on a new deal by 2021 so the contentious Irish backstop is never triggered.

May came under fire from the opposition Labour Party, who said she had failed to win “meaningful changes” to her Brexit deal.

She was due to give a press conference later on Friday.

2. Prosecutor discloses details of Strasbourg shooter’s death

Suspected Strasbourg shooter Cherif Chekatt was shot dead by police on Thursday.

Chekatt, 29, killed three people and injured around a dozen more after he opened fire at a Christmas market in Strasbourg on Tuesday evening.

Speaking on Friday, Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz gave details of how Chekatt was identified and killed.

He said a police patrol spotted Chekatt at around 21h CET on Thursday, pretending to walk into a building to which he was unable to open the door. When the officers identified themselves as police, the suspect opened fire.

The three police officers retaliated, shooting at the suspect several times and killing him, Heitz said.

3. Sweden snap election looms amid political standoff, says parliament speaker

Sweden faces a snap election unless political parties can end a standoff that has left the country without a new government since September’s election, parliament speaker Andreas Norlen said in a statement.

"The parties are pushing Sweden towards a snap election," Norlen said. "I have therefore decided that I should start to take steps in order to prepare for that."

The comments came after parliament voted against giving Social Democrat Stefan Lofven's centre-left coalition a second term in office.

September's election produced a hung parliament and the centre-left and centre-right blocs have since been unable to reach a deal on a new government.

4. Russia dismisses US calls to release Ukraine sailors and ships

The Kremlin said on Friday that a US call to release Ukrainian sailors and ships seized near Crimea could not take precedence over Russia's own justice system.

However, it said Moscow remained interested in a top bilateral meeting with the US.

The comments came after Washington said on Thursday that a meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, couldn’t happen until Moscow released the vessels.

Russia seized the three Ukrainian navy vessels and their combined crew of 24 last month, accusing them of illegally entering Russian waters.

Ukraine has accused Moscow of military aggression.

5. Hungarians protest controversial ‘slave law’

People in the Hungarian capital Budapest have been protesting new legislation, dubbed the “slave law”, with protesters clashing with police for a second night on Thursday.

The “slave law” allows employers to ask staff to work up to 400 extra hours per year of overtime instead of 250.

Critics point out that it could amount to another eight hours a week for some workers, or the equivalent of an extra working day.

6. COP24 climate summit enters final day

The COP24 climate talks in Poland entered their final day on Friday, with concerns that a common rulebook to tackle global warming would not be agreed on.

"There can be no doubt that this is a moment of truth, to waste this opportunity...would compromise our last, best chance to stop runaway climate change," said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Euronews spoke to people at the event about how confident they were that a deal would be reached.

"Maybe by tomorrow things will fall into place but right now it's a bit complicated," one said.

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