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Europe briefing: Six stories to know about today

A French police officer, Hungarian protesters, Belgian PM Charles Michel
A French police officer, Hungarian protesters, Belgian PM Charles Michel   -   Copyright  REUTERS
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1. Top Italian architect to oversee Genoa bridge reconstruction

Renowned architect Renzo Piano will oversee the reconstruction of a bridge in Genoa, which collapsed earlier this year, killing 43 people.

The project is expected to cost €200 million and take around a year to complete. The new bridge will include 43 illuminated posts in the shape of ships' sails in remembrance of each victim of the disaster.

Architect Piano, who is from Genoa, is responsible for many famous buildings, including the London Shard, the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Whitney Museum in New York.

An animation of the new Genoa bridge can be seen here.

2. Verhofstadt calls on Facebook to remove 'false video' after Euronews debunk

MEP Guy Verhofstadt wrote to Facebook on Tuesday calling on the platform to remove a "false news video, sponsored by the Hungarian Government".

"I have reported this video, as it clearly misrepresents a statement I gave on migration in 2014," Verhofstadt wrote in his letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Verhofstadt cited Euronews' work in making viewers aware of how his statement was manipulated.

Read more about this story and see the Euronews debunk here.

3. Santander UK fined €36m for failing to process funds of dead customers

Santander UK has been fined €36 million for failing to correctly process the funds of its deceased customers, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said on Wednesday.

The inadequately processed funds totalled €203m and more than 40,000 customers were affected.

The FCA said some cases found beneficiaries were unable to access the funds for several years and that Santander was too slow to address the issues involved in the process.

4. Estonia makes first arrests of suspects involved in Danske Bank scandal

Estonia has arrested ten people in connection with a money laundering scandal allegedly administered through a branch of Denmark's Danske Bank, the state prosecutor said on Wednesday.

An international investigation, involving Denmark, Estonia, the UK and the US, has been looking into payments made over a nine-year period, totalling €200 billion.

The arrests announced on Wednesday are the first in the investigation of a case described as Europe's "biggest scandal" by the European Commission.

5. Belgium's prime minister Charles Michel offers to resign

Charles Michel, Belgium's prime minister, has told parliament that he will resign.

The biggest party in Michel's coalition, the Flemish N-VA, quit a week ago in a dispute over signing the UN migration pact.

"I have decided to resign and will immediately go to see the king," Michel told parliament.

Belgium's King Philippe has suspended his decision.

6. 'Gilets bleus' protests in France

First it was the "gilets jaunes" ("yellow vests"), now it's time for the "gilets bleus" ("blue vests").

After five weekends of working to maintain order during protests against President Emmanuel Macron and a new fuel tax, French police are holding a demonstration of their own.

They say they're exhausted, overworked and underpaid, and demand better compensation and working conditions.

On Wednesday police across France will hit the streets to protest and have called themselves the "gilets bleus".

7. 'Slave law' protests: Opposition parties and media have a fair voice in Hungary, says government

Hungary's government has used an interview with Euronews to downplay the scale of protests in the country and suggested western media coverage is biased.

About 10,000 people demonstrated in Budapest on Sunday in the largest of four protests held since last Wednesday, according to Reuters.

Opposition parties, students groups, trade unions and civilians joined a demonstration against new labour legislation.

Watch the interview with Euronews here.

As it happened on Wednesday, December 19

This is how we covered key developments this morning: