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EU commissioner Ylva Johansson says she will press Croatian authorities, following reports by the Danish Refugee Council of abuse and violence by police against migrants trying to cross into Croatia. In a tweet, Johansson said she took the findings by the Danish Refugee Council "as evidence of push-backs and inhuman and degrading treatment of people at the Croatian border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. I am taking these reports very seriously...."
Belgium's foreign minister Sophie Wilmes was admitted into intensive care on Wednesday night, after testing positive for Covid-19 last week. Wilmes led Belgium's fight against the virus during the pandemic's first wave as the country's prime minister. Wilmes, 45, was conscious and in a stable condition, according to her spokesperson. Last week Wilmes attended a meeting of EU foreign ministers after which her Austrian counterpart, Alexander Schallenberg, also tested positive.
A majority of MEPs on Wednesday agreed to restrict funding of the EU's common agriculture policy (CAP) for bullfighting. "Couple support income will proportionally exclude the number of heads of cattle whose final destination is the sale for activities related to bullfighting, both by direct sale and through intermediaries," according to wording of the passed amendment, proposed by Greens. The CAP is one-third of the EU budget.
"We are the Lombardy of the second wave" of coronavirus infections, Philippe Devos, an intensive care doctor at the CHC hospital in the Belgian city of Liège said Monday, Le Soir reports. He was referring to the horror scenes during the first Covid-19 wave in the northern province of Italy, where hospitals could not keep up with infected people. The current numbers in southern Belgium are the highest in Europe.
EU nationals with criminal records will be refused entry to the UK from 2021 and those who sleep rough in British cities could be deported, under new rules being considered by British MPs on Thursday. EU citizens used to have special exemptions. But the changes mean those who served at least one year in prison or who were deemed "persistent" criminals, will now be treated the same as any foreigners.
German health minister Jens Spahn has tested positive for Covid-19 and has "cold-like symptoms," the ministry said Wednesday. Spahn has gone into self-isolation. Spahn attended the cabinet meeting on Wednesday in the federal chancellery, and was seen wearing a mask, so the government does not need to quarantine. Germany has seen a surge in infections in recent weeks.
The European Commission approved on Wednesday the for the period 2020-2023, committing to increase the use of open-source software more widely in areas beyond IT. "By co-developing with other European public-sector organisations and encouraging the sharing and reuse of our solutions, knowledge and expertise, we will deliver better services that enrich society and reduce its costs," the strategy reads.
Armenian president Armen Sarkissian on Wednesday left for Brussels to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Nato and European Union. He is set to meet Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and European Council president Charles Michel. The conflict with Azerbaijan over the region has been raging for the past three weeks.
EU leaders will hold a videoconference on 29 October to discuss how to better cooperate against the Covid-19 pandemic, as infections rocket across the continent. The online meeting is planned to be the first of a series of such pandemic discussions. Better coordination is expected to help keep the spread of the virus in check as EU governments have so far taken diverging measures on testing, quarantine and contact-tracing.
The Czech government on Wednesday announced limits on free movement, and the closure of most stores and hotels, due to a surge of Covid-19 infections. Prime minister Andrej Babis warned the new measures were needed otherwise "our health system would collapse between 7-11 November". The seven-day rolling average of daily new case has risen in two weeks from 29.59 new cases per 100,000 people to 85.64, as of Tuesday.
Irish people have been ordered to stay at home for the next six weeks starting from midnight on Wednesday, in the first EU country to re-impose a full lockdown due to the second wave of coronavirus. The move was designed to enable people to "celebrate a proper Christmas" with their families in December, the Irish prime minister, Micheal Martin, said. "We're asking everybody to stay at home," he said.
Agricultural ministers from the member states of the EU have reached an agreement on reforming the Common Agricultural Policy, Deutsche Welle reports. The deal, several years in the making, will place a bigger focus on environmental protection. On Twitter, German minister of agriculture, Julia Klöckner, said "we made it. A milestone for a reorientation of EU agriculture, with green architecture at its core."

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