Europe

EU court forces France to end use of ‘bee killer’ insecticide

Europe

French agriculture minister Marc Fesneau has announced the end of a controversial exemption granted to sugar beet producers to use a family of insecticides dubbed “bee killers” and which were banned by the European Union in 2018. The move follows a ruling last week by the European Court of Justice, the EU’s supreme court, which outlaws member states from any further use of a legal loophole which allowed for "emergency" dispensation from the ban on neonicotinoids, which scientific studies have linked to a collapse of colonies of honey bees and other pollinators, and also bird populations. Amélie Poinssot reports.

Judge leading EU parliament corruption probe warns of the growing power of 'dirty money'

Europe — Interview

Belgian judge Michel Claise is leading the investigation into the snowballing corruption scandal rocking the European Parliament in Brussels, and which has already led to the downfall and imprisonment of a now former vice president of the chamber. In this interview with Mediapart, the veteran investigating magistrate, specialised in financial crime, details the extent to which corruption and organised crime are out of control in Europe, and slams the lack of resources to fight it. “When you touch on dirty money, and when that involves the political world, people become transformed into wild animals,” he says.

France pitches massive ‘Made in Europe’ strategy

France — Link

The idea from Paris comes as EU debates how to respond to a recent Unites States subsidy push.

EU parliament scandal: Morocco spared by MEPs but probe closes in

Europe

Revelations in the so-called “Qatargate” corruption scandal engulfing the European Parliament this month, involving past and present members of the chamber, including its former vice-president, are snowballing. While the Belgian authorities continue investigations into those implicated in an alleged Qatari slush-fund used to buy favours from EU lawmakers, MEPs have suspended all legislative work in connection with Qatar, and withdrawn access to the institution by the Gulf State’s representatives. But they shied from including Morocco in the sanctions, despite growing evidence of its involvement in the influence peddling. Mediapart's European affairs correspondent Ludovic Lamant reports.  

Mykolaiv and Dnipro: a tale of two cities under attack

Europe — Report

The true toll of civilian casualties in the war in Ukraine remains unclear, with estimates ranging from 17,000 dead and wounded (according to UN figures) to more than 40,000 dead (according to the US military). Following Ukraine’s recapture earlier this month of the southern city of Kherson, Russia has intensified its missile strikes across the country, many of them landing on civilian areas. Mediapart’s Mathilde Goanec reports here from two cities targeted by the attacks: Mykolaiv, in the south-east, close to the Black Sea, and Dnipro, in the centre-south.

How France has lagged behind allies over military aid for Ukraine

International

On Monday October 10th the Élysée announced “new measures to support Ukraine militarily”. Two days later President Emmanuel Macron said France would be sending air-defence systems to the country after the recent Russian missile attacks. Up to now the French government has concealed exactly how much military support it has given to Kyiv since Russia's invasion in February, justifying this on the grounds of operational secrecy. However, a think tank has now detailed the military aid that all countries have given to Ukraine, and these figures show that France trails behind other key allies. Justine Brabant and Donatien Huet report.

The growing evidence that agroecology could and should replace intensive farming

International

The post-war development in Europe of productivity-driven intensive farming, with its environmentally harmful use of synthetic pesticides, vast fields of monoculture, and industrial animal-rearing, could be feasibly replaced by large-scale organic farming, capable of feeding the continent’s populations under an agricultural umbrella system called agroecology. That is the conclusion of a large and growing body of international scientific research, and the subject of several recent studies published in France. Amélie Poinssot examines the evidence.

Why SPD election victory in Germany is no new dawn for Europe’s social democrats

International — Analysis

Germany’s social democrat SPD party came first in the country’s parliamentary elections on September 26th, garnering just more than a quarter of votes cast. It places the centre-left party in prime position to form a new coalition government, which would see Olaf Scholz, the party’s candidate for chancellor, succeed the outgoing Angela Merkel. But, writes Fabien Escalona in this analysis of the wider implications of the election, the knife-edge victory of the once moribund SPD is very much a relative one, and is far from auguring a resurgence of the social democrat movement in Europe, despite similarly fragile recent wins in Nordic countries.

Hundreds arrested after French police crack criminals' chat network

International — Link

Police forces across Europe have carried out hundreds of arrests, seizing cash, drugs and weapons after listening in on an encrypted communications network used by criminal gangs which was cracked by French police in 2017.  

The rising threat of Europe’s ultra-right as it eyes military and police

International

The suspect arrested for the deadly attacks last Wednesday on a synagogue and Turkish restaurant in the German city of Halle has said his acts were driven by far-right ideology and a hatred of Jews. The shooting and bombing rampage followed a series of attacks around Europe by ultra-right groups, prompting the EU police agency Europol, in a recent confidential report, to urge increased cooperation to contain the problem. But Europol also gave a chilling warning that the extremists “are attempting to win over members from the military and security services” in order to build “combat skills”.

France vows to bar Facebook digital currency Libra in Europe

International — Link

French economy and finance minister Bruno Le Maire has said France will seek to prevent Facebook's digital currency Libra from rolling out in Europe, arguing that it represents 'risks of abuse of dominant position, risks to sovereignty and risks for consumers and for companies'.

France braced for week-long heatwave starting Monday

France — Link

A heatwave unusually intense for June is due to hit France next week, when temperatures across most of the country are forecast to reach up to 40° Celsius for several days, and when emergency services are to be placed on high alert.

EU must learn from Brexit and reform, says President Macron

France — Link

The French president has set out wide-ranging plans to overhaul the EU in response to UK’s vote to leave.

How a French radio station kept hidden files on listeners

France — Investigation

For nearly 20 years the privately-owned French radio station Europe 1 kept files and stored information on more than half a million listeners, sometimes with their details accompanied by insulting comments. This was detailed in a 2017 report by the French data watchdog the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) which has remained confidential but which has been seen by Mediapart. As a result of the report the radio station was given an official warning but the matter was never referred to the prosecution authorities, nor did Europe 1 have to pay a fine. Lou Syrah reports.

Macron hails German coalition vote as 'good news for Europe'

International — Link

French president congratulated Chancellor Angela Merkel and acting SPD leader Olaf Scholz after Social Democrats voted for new coalition.