News Snippets from the European Press

New Snippets from European Press

EEMSLIFT ELLEN: Tight fit for the Netherlands-registered ship Credit: Freya Njord

Denmark: Close shave A video released on social media by the sailing boat Freya Njord on May 5 showed the 4,200-ton heavy-lift Eemslift Ellen scraping the side of a bascule bridge while crossing the Hadsund Strait.  The bridge was practically undamaged, while the Dutch-registered vessel managed to avoid the Freya Njord at the last moment.

Norway Back to school The government backtracked on plans to save 515 million kroner (€43.93 million) by cutting subsidies for 150 private schools announced in the 2024 Budget. After the centres warned they would have to close, the government has now pledged 484 million kroner (€41.30 million) which will be distributed “more evenly” than before.

Cash haul The Customs Authority confiscated a record 4.2 million Swedish krona (€358,536) which they found after stopping a Norwegian-registered car with two occupants at a border crossing in eastern Norway.   Officials said they believed that the plastic bags filled with banknotes belonged to an organised crime network.

Italy: Join in Welcoming a new group of young Swiss Guards, Pope Francis urged them to “ditch their phones” and to get out and about in Rome.  Rather than spend their spare time looking at phone and computer screens, the pope encouraged the 34 newest members of the world’s smallest army to become part of the local community.

Clan war A teacher in Ostia who was attacked by the mother of a pupil she had scolded, called the 118 medical emergency number once the woman left but was later refused treatment.  Her assailant belonged to the Spada family which, despite police efforts, has been responsible for extortion, illegal loans and drugs in Ostia for decades.

Belgium: No drinking Brussels city hall approved transport authority MIVB’s new rules for bus, metro and tram passengers.   Amongst other innovations, the amended regulations bar them from drinking alcohol or using drugs while they are on public transport, unlike the previous stipulation that passengers should not be “visibly intoxicated.”

EV surfeit Belgian ports are swamped by imported Chinese electric vehicles (EVs), some of which have been parked for a year or longer.  Between 600,000 and one million more vehicles are expected to arrive at Antwerp-Bruges throughout 2024, as manufacturers take advantage of the EV subsidies offered by most EU governments.


Germany: Campaign risks Social Democrat politician Matthias Ecke is recovering from a broken cheekbone and eye socket inflicted when he was attacked while putting up campaign posters in Dresden for the European elections.  Politicians from all parties said they increasingly encountered unprovoked insults, threats and intimidation.

Day off Tesla closed its Grunheide factory near Berlin on May 10 following days of protests against a planned extension. The management had already decided to halt the assembly line on May 10, following the May 9 national holiday, and a Tesla spokesperson said it was later decided it would wiser for all employees to stay home.

Netherlands: Piece of cake A Tilburg woman must repay the €17,500 she received in welfare benefits over the past five years as she had baked hundreds of cake during that time. Although she insisted that she baked cakes for people as a hobby, a court upheld the local authority’s claim which maintained baking was an activity “with a money value.”

Tulip time The Netherlands delivered tulips to the Ottawa Hospital and a video message from the Dutch royal family coinciding with the Tulip Festival held there between May 10 and 20. Princess Margriet, born there in 1943, also thanked Canada for providing a “safe haven” for the Dutch royal family during the Second World War.


France: Get a room Laurence des Cars, director of the Louvre in Paris, suggested that the Mona Lisa, which is visited by 20,000 people a day, could be moved to its own purpose-built room.  Isolating Leonardo’s masterpiece would also save other works from the pollution produced by thousands of tourists passing them by without a second glance.

Flaming glory More than 230,000 people gathered in Marseille on May 8 as the Olympic torch arrived at the end of a 12-day voyage from Greece in the Old Port aboard the three-masted sailing ship Belem.   “With the arrival of the flame, the country enters the Games,” President Emmanuel Macron declared as the torch was brought ashore.

Finland: Age matters A YTK Unemployment Fund survey, which interviewed more than 23,000 people who had worked in different sectors throughout the country, revealed that the majority believed age was a problem when looking for work.  This was particularly true of the 55 to 64 age group, regardless of their qualifications, YTK found.

Strike rules One hundred and seven members of the Finnish parliament supported a law defining the duration of political and industrial strikes.  A political strike called to obtain political or social goals is limited to 24 hours while a stoppage stemming from a dispute between unions and employers may last up to two weeks.

Ireland: Stay in Most of the respondents in a European Movement Ireland survey said they believed the country should remain a member of the European Union, a viewed shared by 84 per cent in the Republic of Ireland and 76 in Northern Ireland.  Nevertheless, only 50 per cent believed that the EU “was going in the right direction.”

Rock solid A rock with mysterious parallel markings found by a geography teacher in his Coventry garden originated in Ireland more than 1,600 years ago, an archaeologist told him. The inscriptions were written in ogham, an alphabet used for writing the Irish language at a time before vellum was used for manuscripts.

Portugal: Wasted water The Sustainable Water Platform (PAS) criticised plans to bring water to the Algarve from the Guadiana in Pomarao (Mertola).  This major engineering project with huge environmental and social impacts that wasted a “scarce resource” like water on “intensive and polluting agriculture” was unjustified, PAS said.

Fewer swallows Portugal’s Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA) warned that the number of swallows had dropped by 40 per cent over the last 20 years. Climate change was affecting the signals that told swallows when to migrate and also reduced the abundance of insects they needed to feed their young, SPEA explained.

Sweden: Hardly hurt Eleven soldiers from Italy, Hungary and the US were treated in hospital after they were injured while practising parachute jumps during a Nato exercise in Smaland. “We’re talking wounds and fractures, no one has life-threatening injuries,” a Nato spokesperson said to the Aftonbladet newspaper afterwards.

Bets are off Sweden’s one remaining casino could close next year if, as is likely, the government passes a law that would remove land-based gaming as a state-licensed activity.  Svenska Spel confirmed that amending the 2018 Gambling Act would lead to shutting down its Casino Cosmpol venue in Stockholm and the loss of 200 jobs.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at


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