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Thousands protest in Lisbon for animal rights amid constitutional dispute

Portugal's public prosecutors asked the constitutional court to declare unconstitutional a law that criminalises with a fine or jail time those who mistreat their pets. According to public prosecutors, the court has already made decisions that pointed to the alleged unconstitutionality of the legislation. After being criticised for not speaking up about the issue, Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said in a statement that a law punishing those who mistreat animals was an "indisputable requirement".

Source: Reuters


Brussels unveils plan to boost returns of irregular migrants

The European Commission presented "a new operation strategy" to increase the return of irregular migrants. Only 21% of migrants who irregularly enter the European Union go back to their countries of origin, even if they receive a negative decision on their asylum request by a member state, according to the Commission. Ylva Johansson, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, said that the proposals aim to boost these numbers.

Source: Euronews 


New plans coming to fight ‘overwhelming’ racism in France

With reports of racist incidents on the rise in France and elsewhere in Europe since 2018, a French ministerial delegation is set to publish a new National Plan against Racism and Anti-Semitism. In France in 2021, some 12,500 offences of a ‘racist, xenophobic or anti-religious nature’ were officially recorded. The French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights described the situation as “alarming”.

Source: Euractiv


Massive EU support for petition against animal testing

The European Commission has validated a petition against animal experiments after more than a million signatures were collected across 22 EU countries. The petition, titled "Save Cruelty-Free Cosmetics – Commit to a Europe without Animal Testing ", has become the ninth most successful European Citizens Initiative. Although the EU has a ban on cosmetic animal testing, the petition states that "the promise has been broken", adding that many "authorities still demand animal tests on ingredients used in cosmetics."

Source: The Brussels Times


Hungary seen as most corrupt country in the EU

Hungary is perceived as having the worst public sector corruption record in the EU, according to Transparency International’s latest report. With scores ranging from 42 to 46 out of 100, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania are far behind the EU’s Scandinavian top three, with Denmark crowned as best in class (90), followed by Finland (87) and Sweden (83), in the anti-corruption NGO’s 2022 Corruption Perceptions index.

Source: Politico


Russia bans the country’s largest independent media organisation

Russia named independent news outlet Meduza an “undesirable” organisation, effectively banning its work in the country. Meduza has the biggest audience of any independent media source, attracting tens of millions of readers to its site every month.

Source: The Bell


Court in Italy rules in favour of children who do not want to see grandparents

Italy’s top court has ruled that children are under no obligation to see their grandparents if they do not wish to do so. The ruling from the supreme court of cassation relates to an appeal by the parents of two children against the decision of a lower court which had forced the youngsters to spend time with their paternal grandparents.

Source: The Guardian


Greece faces possible court over ‘prison-like’ EU-funded migration centres

A European Commission threat to take Greece to court over asylum violations may involve EU-funded centres. Although details of the individual cases remains under wraps, Greek media is reporting that the violations deal with detention at those centres, as well as access to social benefits for recognised refugees. The European Commission declined to provide any insights into the cases, when pressed. But five of the centres are located on the Greek islands, while another three are on the Greek mainland, including one near the Evros land border with Turkey.

Source: EU Observer


Spanish government backpedals over sexual consent law

Coalition partners at odds over law that has resulted in more than 200 convicted sex offenders having their sentences reduced. The Guarantee of Sexual Freedom law — also known as the “Only yes means yes law” — means that it is no longer necessary to show that violence or intimidation were used in a sexual assault. Introduced in October, it aims to favor victims of such attacks and ensure consent in sexual relations. However, the legislation has led to more than 200 convicted sex offenders having their jail sentences reduced, and many of them being released, because a broader definition of sexual assault introduced in the law has meant that minimum sentences have been lowered.

Source: Politico