Hungary’s parliament has to consider a draft law named the ‘Enabling Act’ that would allow Viktor Orbán’s government to rule by decree while the country is in a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decrees would stay in force until further notice. The opposition is against this law because of its indefinite duration and the powers it would grant to the government.
As a measure to slow the spread of coronavirus, Germany has put on hold indefinitely its refugee deal with Turkey. Germany will no longer accept refugees from any country but it will still accept refugee children in need from camps.
Planned border closures in Poland and the country’s abortion rules, which are among the harshest in Europe, are creating serious complications for Polish women who wish to have an abortion. Many Polish women rely on help and treatment abroad.
The European Court of Justice has rejected a complaint by Polish judges about the legality of judicial reforms introduced by Poland’s Law and Justice Party in 2017. The reforms in question define appropriate behaviour for Polish judges and the kind of disciplinary actions that can be taken against them if they criticise or question the legality of certain newly appointed judges.
Through a leaked document from Russia’s Economic Development Ministry containing four possible scenarios for dealing with climate issues, it has become clear that Russia does not currently have a plan that involves reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. This goes against the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published in a 2018 special report.
The Hungarian government still wishes to launch its controversial new school curriculum in September, despite the existing poor conditions of the country’s school system triggered by the coronavirus crisis. The proposed new school curriculum is raising an increasing amount of criticism because it would rewrite history textbooks, for instance by presenting Hungarian legends and myths as historical facts, and it would make anti-Semitic authors mandatory reading.
The coronavirus pandemic has led several countries in Europe, such as Poland, Italy and the United Kingdom, to use data to try to slow the virus’ spread, at the risk of or by reducing digital privacy. Other countries could or are already planning to use the same strategy. This raises many questions about the trade-off between privacy and public health, as well as the manner in which the new measures are being implemented.
A study is being prepared in Germany to test the pandemic’s progress and see how many people are already immune to the Covid-19 virus. The study would help German authorities decide which people can safely go back to work, and when and where schools could reopen. Some workers could be given "immunity passports"; the same procedure could be used in other countries, such as the United Kingdom.
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