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Europe's week: Vaccination drive and flood cleanup continues

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By Euronews
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Anti-vaccine protesters march during a rally in Strasbourg, Saturday, July 17, 2021.
Anti-vaccine protesters march during a rally in Strasbourg, Saturday, July 17, 2021.   -   Copyright  Jean-Francois Badias/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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This week, after a process of catching up, the European Union finally placed itself among the world leaders with its vaccination drive, after hitting its self-prescribed target of having 70% of adults immunised with at least one dose by the end of July.

In addition to this, 57% of adults are now fully vaccinated (two shots).

Announcing these numbers, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urged more people to get the jab.

"We need to keep up the effort. The Delta variant is very dangerous, and I, therefore, call on everyone who has the opportunity to be vaccinated for their own health and to protect others," von der Leyen said on Wednesday.

The announcement came at a time of surging infections, mostly among the unvaccinated.

Some countries like France have now passed stringent laws to curb the rise of the Delta variant, essentially penalising people for not getting vaccinated.

This decision was met by protests across the country, earlier in the week, by people who still refuse to get vaccinated, depicting President Emmanuel Macron as a dictator who would take personal freedoms away from people.

Undeterred, Macron, on a visit to French overseas territories in the South Pacific, lashed out at those protesters.

"What is your freedom worth if you say to me 'I don't want to be vaccinated', but if tomorrow you infect your father, your mother or myself. I am a victim of your freedom when you had the opportunity to have something to protect yourself and me...That's not freedom, that's called irresponsibility - it's called selfishness," Macron said.

Flood cleanup continues

In Belgium the cleanup from the devasting floods continued.

Nearly two weeks later in the town of Verviers, hundreds of homes still remained uninhabitable.

Some have running water, but most are without electricity and gas.

"Now we are waiting because we are not the first, not the last, there are a lot of people like this," local resident Mohammed told Euronews.

202 of the 262 communes in the Wallonia region of Belgium have been told they'll qualify for disaster relief funding from the government, something that will be welcome alongside eventual insurance payouts.