Europe Daily Briefing: UK's Spain quarantine, Hungary's battle for press freedom, Neo-Nazis target German public figures

27 July: Your round-up of the issues leading today's agenda

Verfasst am Monday, July 27th 2020
Europe Daily Briefing: UK's Spain quarantine, Hungary's battle for press freedom, Neo-Nazis target German public figures
  • The British government has imposed a quarantine on anyone arriving from Spain, after a spike in Covid-19 cases there, The New York Times reports. The speed brought disarray to thousands of Britons, blindsiding those who have already gone to Spain and embarrassing Britain’s transportation secretary, Grant Shapps. He is responsible for aviation policy but learned of the quarantine while on his own vacation in Spain. The abrupt decision means that Shapps, like others who left Britain assuming that they could return without restrictions will be required to isolate themselves for 14 days. Many who were about to depart Britain have been forced to rethink their plans. Some flights to Spain were canceled. And even those planning to head elsewhere were reminded that quarantine rules can change overnight.

  • More than 70 journalists and staff at Hungary's top news site Index have resigned, accusing the government of launching a bid to destroy or tame their website, the BBC says. Index is the last of Hungary's key independent media and editor in chief Szabolcs Dull was fired on Tuesday. Its journalists said the sacking was "clear interference" and an attempt to apply pressure on the site. Hours later protesters gathered in Budapest to rally for media freedom. Over the past decade, supporters of nationalist and conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban have gradually taken control of Hungary's independent media. Hungary is ranked 89th out of 180 countries on the Reporters without Borders World Press Freedom Index.


  • When German comedian Idil Baydar heard last week that investigators suspect police may have been involved in sending her neo-Nazi death threats, she was aghast, The Washington Post reports. She was especially distressed to learn that a police link had been known for at least nine months and she had not been told. Instead, she had been informed that the investigation into the hate-filled text messages she received throughout 2019 was closed. “I don’t know who to trust or believe anymore,” said the 45-year-old actress. “I am completely in shock.” Baydar is one of more than two dozen German public figures threatened over the past two years in missives signed with references to Nazi or neo-Nazi groups.

  • Euro zone business activity grew in July for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit, as more parts of the economy that were locked down to curtail its spread reopened and people emerged from their homes to work and spend money, Reuters says. Across the world almost 15.5 million people have been infected by the coronavirus but as the rate of infections has eased across much of Europe, governments have loosened some restrictions. That unleashing of pent-up demand pushed IHS Markit’s flash Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), seen as a good indicator of the bloc’s economic health, to 54.8 in July from June’s final reading of 48.5, its highest since mid-2018 and well ahead of the 51.1 forecast in a Reuters poll.