Switzerland restricts EU immigration

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Switzerland plans to implement a restriction on all EU immigration by next month which will last for one year.

It is estimated that 1.2 million EU nationals currently reside in the nation of 8 million people, and with high house prices and competition for jobs, the Swiss have begun to resent immigrants. Switzerland has already imposed this restriction on certain Eastern European countries but now plans to apply it to all countries within the EU.

EU officials are not happy, claiming that Switzerland cannot merely pick and choose which policies they like. The EU and Switzerland share a special relationship in which half of what the country exports in bought by the EU.

Do you think Switzerland have the right idea?

Gay marriage law in France

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France has voted to legalised same-sex marriage with 331 votes for and 225 against in the French assembly. The first ceremonies will set to take place over the summer.

France is the 9th country in Europe and the 14th country in the world to legalise this type of marriage. Couples will also be able to adopt, but there are still some holes in family law where inequality exists, some of which will be reviewed later in the year.

The vote has not been an easy one. There have been months of street protests and backlash from right-wing politicians slandering adoption by same-sex couples. There has been an increased incidence of homophobic attacks such as the case of skinheads attacking a gay bar in Lille and various death threats.

Has France made the right decision?

Spanish population falls

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High levels of unemployment and the property bubble burst have let to an exodus of immigrants and Spaniards alike.

It is estimated that 206,000 foreigners have left the country due to the economic crisis. The most notably immigrants to return home include those from Ecuador and Colombia as well as others from the Latin American region and parts of Eastern Europe.

These numbers do not take into account natives who are still registered but have left the country to find work.

Will this exodus help with the job situation? Or will it also cause a ‘brain drain’?

Serbia and Kosovo broker deal

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Despite the fact that Kosovo broke away from Serbia in 2008, Serbia still does not recognise it as an independent country, whilst many other countries have already done so.

Nonetheless Serbia and Kosovo have brokered a deal in which Kosovo will get its own police and appeals court. Whilst it is a smell step, it will hopefully help both nations towards EU and Nato membership.

It is thought that EU membership talks with Serbia will not commence until Serbia loosens its control on the region. However, there is still tension between the minority of ethnic Serbs in the northern Kosovo against the majority ethic Albanians.

Do you think this deal is a positive sign for both countries?

French implants scandal

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Back in 2010 the implant manufacturer PIP shut down due to faulty breast implants. Over 30,000 women in 65 countries were affected with a reported 4,000 ruptures due to sub-standard silicone.

Today was the opening day of the trial which is set to end on the 17th May. 5,000 women are registered as plaintiffs and this is thought to be the biggest case ever in French legal history.

The former head of PIP, Jean-Claude Mas, was booed as he entered court in Marseille. If convicted, he will face 5 years of prison.

London Marathon still on

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After the devastating news of the Boston Marathon explosions, London Marathon organisers have said that their marathon will still take place this Sunday.

There has been a review of security arrangements between police and other authorities and sports minister Hugh Robertson believes that going ahead with the event will “show solidarity with Boston” and “send a very clear message to those responsible”.

The London Marathon will also include a tribute to the Boston Marathon with a 30 second silence before the start. Furthermore runners will be encouraged to wear a black ribbon as a sign of solidarity.

Little Liechtenstein

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I’ve always been interested in little countries, and Liechtenstein is no exception. Don’t know about this small principality? Here are some facts:

  • It is landlocked between Switzerland and Austria
  • Its area is 160 km²
  • It has only 36,304 residents
  • German is the official language, but locals use two Alemannic dialects
  • Prince Hans-Adam II von Liechtenstein is the head of state
  • Their currency is the Swiss Franc

Being very mountainous means it is a great winter sports destination. Its low corporate tax rate of 12.5% attracts many companies. Furthermore it has one of the highest GDPs in the world, not to mention a very low unemployment rate of 1.5%.

Check out Liechtenstein’s tourism website for activities and places to visit in the country.

Ryanair crew complaint of ‘slave contract’

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Ryanair claims to be Europe’s favourite airline, but it seems that it hasn’t won any favour with some of its former employees.

A trade union is supporting two former flight attendants who said they were unfairly dismissed and accuse Ryanair of having a ‘culture of fear‘. They claim that working conditions are poor and there is no sick leave pay. The former employees were living in Norway, one of the most expensive countries in Europe, and were said to be receiving a ‘southern country wage’.

Ryanair claims that the union is using this case to divert attention away from job cuts and pay negotiations from another airline.

Do the flight attendants have a case worth fighting for, or is Ryanair doing things by the book?

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