What’s New(s) – La revue de presse anglophone 30/04/2021

Written by on 6 mai 2021

The tail end of the “biggest Nazi trial since Nuremberg”

It was last year that Greece’s Golden Dawn party was ruled as a criminal organisation, and its leaders convicted of running it. Only this week, one of its leaders, Ioannis Lagos was arrested in Brussels when his immunity as a Member of the European Parliament was lifted.

What did the European press write about Lagos’ sentencing?

You’ll find the script below :

It was last year that Greece’s Golden Dawn party was ruled as a criminal organisation, and its leaders convicted of running it. Only this week, one of its leaders, Ioannis Lagos was arrested in Brussels when his immunity as a Member of the European Parliament was lifted.

What did the press write about Lagos’ sentencing ? 

Indeed, the belated arrest of Ioannis Lagos was the tail end of a 5-year long trial closed October last year, by the press referred to as the “biggest Nazi trial since Nuremberg”. The Athens court convicted leaders of the neo-fascist Golden Dawn party of forming and running a criminal organisation, and attacks on migrant fisherman and left-wing activists. They were taken straight to prison, except from Lagos, and Christos Pappas, described by the Guardian as an ‘admirer of Hitler’, who is still hiding. According to Politico, some Greek politicians have criticised the slow procedure. The Greek Reporter mentioned that Lagos was already penalised by the President of the European Parliament after tearing up a Turkish flag during a migration debate, and that his salary was reduced substantially to 6000 euros per month.

 

And what happened after his arrest ?

The Guardian wrote that when the authorities caught up with Lagos, “they caught up with him fast”. The MEP was arrested only a few hours after he lost his immunity, “amid widespread speculation he was poised to leave the country” wrote the newspapers’ correspondent Helena Smith. Libération reported that the former MEP refused to accept his handover to the Greek authorities. According to Greek media channel tvsx, Lagos was planning to fly to Norway and was already undergoing his Covid test to pass the border. Even though the Greek police said that Lagos will be taken to prison directly after his return, the Belgian authorities still need to extradict him first, a process that can take up to months, according to Der Spiegel. In the meantime, the politician is still keeping his salary, despite his arrest, until the Greek state ends his mandate, writes EUobserver.

 

But then moving to other events that made the news this week across Europe, starting with the Czech Republic, where the Russia issues seems to divide the country. What’s happening?

Last week Czech Republic expelled 18 Russian diplomats over an explosion at an ammunition depot in 2014. In return, Czech diplomats were expelled from Moscow. Czech president questioned Moscow’s complicity in the matter, which according to Deutsche Welle was perceived by some as a betrayal, making a no-confidence vote quite likely, even if elections are scheduled to take place this fall. Tsvetelia Tsolova, Reuters, explains that the arms depots were storing munitions for export to Ukraine and Georgia. The Russian Agency Tass quotes the words from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who denied once again the accusations and ironically stated that “It is good that we have not been blamed for killing Archduke Franz Ferdinand yet”.

 

And how about Spain, where leftists’ leaders have received death threats?

The Madrid regional election campaign has blown up after several leaders, mainly on the left, received threatening letters accompanied by bullets, which VOX has refused to condemn. “I prefer to be called a fascist than to be applauded by Pablo Iglesias’‘, commented Santiago Abascal, VOX leader, on the front page of ABC. “The campaign starts over again” was the headline of El País after the leftists’ parties decided to quit an electoral debate in Cadena SerEl Mundo and La Razón, accused the leaders who received the threatening letters of “seeking polarisation“. El Mundo even went a little bit further on Monday with a cover where they literally stated that “The Socialist Party campaigns using the threat of a schizophrenic person”. So far, leaders from Podemos, PSOE, the police and the current president of Madrid have received these letters.

 

And what does the press write in the UK, in the light of fresh Brexit news? 

In the Guardian, Daniel Bouffey wrote that the Brexit trade deal was accepted with an ‘overwhelming majority’ in the European Parliament, but also highlighted the accompanying resolution, in which the Parliament described the 2016 referendum as a ‘historic mistake’. He also cited Von der Leyen, who assured that the trade deal comes with “real teeth” to ensure the UK sticks to its obligations. `EU warns “faithful implementation” needed by UK`, was the headline of the Independent. In tabloid Daily Express, Bill McLoughlin did his best to show that the European Parliament expressed its willingness to stand firm with the UK, citing German member Sven Giegold who, according to McLoughlin “gloated over the lack of financial access for British firms.” The Daily Telegraph argued “cross-channel hostility is still high”.

 

Erik Ruiz Martín & Nadine Vermeulen

 

Image: Jebulon, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

 

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