The government in Budapest has had the statue of Imre Nagy removed from its place in front of the Hungarian parliament. Nagy, who was Prime Minister of Hungary in 1956, was executed for his role at the head of the Hungarian Uprising against the Soviets and buried anonymously following a secret trial. Opposition media criticise the government for riding roughshod over Hungary's historical legacy.
Right before the New Year holidays, the conscription offices of Moscow recruited young men to the army in the course of one day. Human rigths defenders note that one-day conscription is illegal, which has already been pointed out multiple times by the Military Prosecutor's Office. Nevertheless, this practice repeats every year.
A coordinated online campaign by far-right activists pressured mainstream European parties to drop support for a U.N. migration pact that was years in the making, analysis of social media activity shows.
For the first time Latvia has published documents left in the country by the former Russian secret service, the KGB. Just before Christmas the national archive published documents that had been kept under wraps for over 25 years on a website set up specifically for this purpose.
The EU has again approved the introduction of significantly tougher limits for CO2 emissions by 2030. The emissions levels of new cars are to be 37.5 percent lower in 2030 compared to 2021. The car industry has criticised the new rules. Commentators see the manufacturers' complaints about the move as the usual lobbying, but also call for more financial incentives for eco-friendly vehicles.
The British government has plans for a new immigration law to apply after Brexit. Visas for work migrants would be limited to one year unless they earn more than 30,000 pounds (roughly 33,000 euros), in which case they would receive a five-year visa. Some commentators say the legislation would increase exploitation of foreign workers. Others see the plans as a step towards a fairer system.
The EU has agreed on a law that would ban single-use plastic products starting 2021. Negotiators from the EU Commission, the EU Parliament and the EU states have agreed on the details of the legislation with the help of which cotton buds, plastic utensils and straws are to be banned. For commentators the law is a step in the right direction.