Fidesz set for two-thirds majority, EU responds to Syria chemical attack, Commission on consumer protection, Luxembourg in David Cup and eel smugglers caught.
Orbán wins big to secure third term
Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán has been returned to power as his Fidesz party gained a two-thirds majority in parliament following Sunday’s election. Reuters reports that, having won close to 49% of the popular vote (compared to 44% in 2014), Fidesz is set to end up with 133 seats in the 199-seat parliament. The margin of victory would allow the party to change the constitution on its own, says Politico reporter Lili Bayer. “There is a big battle behind us, we have won a crucial victory, giving ourself a chance to defend Hungary,” Orbán said. Commentators are now waiting to see how the election victory will affect Orbán’s attitude towards the EU. Orbán, whose election campaign portrayed him as a saviour of Hungary’s Christian culture against Muslim migration, has repeatedly clashed with more liberal EU representatives–including Luxembourg foreign minister Jean Asselborn, who has likened the Hungarian to a dictator.
EU calls for response to Syria chemical attack
The European Union has joined international condemnation of the use of chemical weapons in the Douma district of Damascus on Saturday. The attack killed 42 and left around 300 people requiring medical attention. The EU, along with the United States, says that the evidence points to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s forces as the perpetrators of the attack. Reuters reports that the EU has called on Russia and Iran to use their influence with Assad to prevent further attacks. “It is a matter of grave concern that chemical weapons continue to be used, especially on civilians,” an EU statement said. “The European Union condemns in the strongest terms the use of chemical weapons and calls for an immediate response by the international community.”
Commission plans change in consumers’ rights
The European Commission this week will propose legalisation that will give consumer groups greater collective redress powers if companies violate their rights. The Financial Times says the Commission’s plans also include increasing financial penalties for companies that break EU consumer law, with fines of up to 4% if turnover and higher on the agenda. The paper quotes EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova as saying that: “It cannot be cheap to cheat, especially in the globalised world where the big companies have a huge advantage over individual consumers.”
Luxembourg retains Davis Cup status
Gilles Muller led Luxembourg’s Davis Cup team to a 5-0 victory over Georgia to retain its status in Europe-Africa Group 2 of the tournament. Muller and team mate Ugo Nastasi won the decisive third point on Sunday morning when they beat Aleksandre Metreveli and George Tsivadze 6:3, 6:1 in the doubles. Later that day Alex Knaff and Christophe Toll wo their singles matched to complete the whitewash.
Eel smugglers can’t slip away
In an operation coordinated by the European Union’s police body, Europol, Spanish and Portuguese authorities have busted a major eel-smuggling network, the Portland Press Herald reports. Trading of the European glass eel has been restricted since 2009 under a convention for the international trade of endangered wildlife. The bust last week involved eels with market value, once they have grown into adults, estimated at over €400 million.
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