To encourage landowners to create more woods, the government of Flanders, a Belgian region, has launched a campaign offering up to €25,000 per hectare of land and practical support for people taking part in the initiative. The aim is to create, by the end of 2024, an extra 4,000 hectares of woods.
Source: Brussels Times
The Hungarian government used the Pegasus software to illegally spy on critics of Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The Israeli software, supposed to be used only in case of serious criminals and terrorists, can access all of a smartphone's data, and switch on the microphone and camera without being noticed. Represented by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, six people will instigate proceedings in Hungary before the courts and with the country's data protection authority (NAIH), as well as in Israel.
The Polish government has begun the construction of a massive wall (186 kilometres) across its eastern border, concerned about an influx from Belarus of Middle Eastern migrants. It will ruin fragile ecosystems, like UNESCO World Heritage site Białowieża Forest, the continent’s last lowland old-growth forest which has been protected since the 1400s. Moreover, it will block migration routes for many animal species, cause noise and light pollution.
Source: National Geographic
Polish President Andrzej Duda decided to dismantle a controversial disciplinary chamber for judges, in the hope that this would end a dispute over the rule of law with Brussels and unblock funding from the EU. But the Ministry of Justice and judges argued it wouldn't solve the key problems and lead to chaos.
Latvia’s parliament approved legislative amendments that provide for the provision of rehabilitation to asylum-seeking victims of violence. During the state of emergency, it was found that certain groups of people cannot receive state support even if in need of it as the state budget aid is not available for adult victims of violence and foreigners without a residence permit.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle would cease operations in the country and a procedure will be initiated to recognise it as a foreign agent. In addition, people involved in restricting the broadcasting of RT DE will be banned from entering Russia. DW has defined the decision by the Russian authorities as an "overreaction" while the German MFA said the measures represent a new tension for German-Russian relations.
In Russia, transgender people again can change their documents "due to a change of gender" on the governmental e-service “Gosuslugi”. This change has been sought by human rights organisations for more than a year since the service disappeared from the “Gosuslugi” website in 2020.
Source: Novaya Gazeta
The constitutional law, approved by the Italian parliament, says the state must safeguard the environment, biodiversity and the ecosystem and that private economic initiative must not damage the environment. This has been defined "an essential step" to raise green investments to transform the economy under the EU post-coronavirus pandemic recovery fund.
As part of an ongoing crackdown on irregular migration, the EU French presidency is pressing to create legal limbos near its borders where existing human rights standards may be harder to enforce. A proposal would be to classify asylum-seekers arriving at EU borders as technically not yet legally inside the EU in a limbo that could last up to five days. Human rights campaigners warn it could lead to systematic detention of vulnerable migrants and creation of overcrowded ghettos.