'Europe at the end of 2015: a chronicle'

040 December 19, 2015 -- (asphalt)

Mid-September, 2015 -- Croatia overwhelmed by flood of migrants, EU calls summit:

[...]

Croatia said it may have to use the army to stop thousands of migrants criss-crossing the Western Balkans in their quest for sanctuary in the wealthy 28-nation bloc. It shuttled some to reception centers near Zagreb, but many simply slipped the net of overwhelmed authorities and set off for the Slovenian border, just 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the Croatian capital.

Beginning of October, 2015 -- David Cameron condemns Russia's strikes in Syria:

"It's absolutely clear that Russia is not discriminating between Isil [IS] and the legitimate Syrian opposition groups and, as a result, they are actually backing the butcher Assad and helping him," he said.

"Rightly, they [Russia] have been condemned across the Arab world for what they have done and I think the Arab world is right about that.

"But we should be using this moment now to try to force forward a comprehensive plan to bring political transition in Syria because that is the answer for bringing peace to the region."

End of October, 2015 -- Swiss parliament shifts to right in vote dominated by migrant fears:

The shift to the right comes as surging numbers of migrants and refugees moving through Europe have heightened the focus on the issue in Switzerland, even though the wealthy Alpine nation is yet to be significantly affected by the crisis.

"We have to make Europe less attractive and send a signal that we cannot give asylum here, not even to refugees of war," SVP chief Toni Brunner told AFP.

November 13, 2015 -- Paris under siege: More than 150 dead in terror attacks:

Terrorists killed at least 153 people and wounded scores of other innocents in coordinated shooting and suicide-bomb attacks in Paris late Friday that included a mass execution at a rock concert, authorities said.

[...]

In an address broadcast around the world, Hollande said of the massacre: "It's a horror."

"Two decisions will be taken: A state of emergency will be decreed, which means certain places will be closed, traffic may be banned and searches may also take place throughout the Paris region," he said. [...]

"The second decision I have taken is to close the borders. We must guarantee that no one can come in to commit any act. And at the same time, those who may have committed crimes can be arrested if they try to leave the country," he said.

[...]

At the White House, President Obama said, "This is not just an attack on Paris or the people of France, it was an attack on humanity." [...]

"This is a heartbreaking situation. Obviously, those of us in the United States know what it's like. We’ve gone through these kinds of episodes ourselves. Whenever these kinds of attacks happened, we've always been able to count on the French people to stand with us."

November 24, 2015 -- Turkey shoots down Russian warplane on Syria border

November 24, 2015 -- Terrorism Response Puts Belgium in a Harsh Light:

"What was I supposed to do about them? It is not my job to track possible terrorists," Ms. Schepmans said in an interview. That, she added, "is the responsibility of the federal police."

The federal police service, for its part, reports to the interior minister, Jan Jambon, a Flemish nationalist who has doubts about whether Belgium -- divided among French, Dutch and German speakers -- should even exist as a single state.

November 25, 2015 -- France's Hollande heads to Russia hoping for Syria breakthrough

November 26, 2015 -- Migration crisis 'could push UK out of Europe': As immigration hits record 336,000, a stark warning from the Foreign Secretary:

[...]

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said voters will choose to leave the EU unless there was a clampdown on migrant benefits. The number of people coming into the country was 'not sustainable' and was putting too much pressure on schools and hospitals, he said.

Yesterday's figures also revealed:

November 26, 2015 -- Moldova: 13 detained on suspicion of plot to attack cities

November 27, 2015 -- Romania OKs Visit by Russian Official Under EU Travel Ban

December 1, 2015 -- Romania foils bomb plot on National Day parade:

Romania's anti-terror force foiled on Tuesday a bomb plot on National Day parade in central county of Covasna, after raiding the home of a suspected extremist, seizing a home-made explosive device.

A "well-known member of the extension in Romania" of the extremist-nationalist structure "64 Counties Youth Movement" of Hungary intended to detonate in public a home-made explosive device, at Targu Secuiesc of the Covasna County, during the National Day ceremony, informed a release by the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT).

December 6, 2015 -- France's Far-Right National Front Gains in Regional Elections:

[...]

Appearing before her supporters, Ms. Le Pen called it a "magnificent" result, saying the National Front was "the only party that can reconquer the lost territories of the republic, of Calais, where we won 50 percent of the votes, or of the suburbs." What Ms. Le Pen described as "lost territories" were the French city of Calais on the English Channel, which now has more than 4,000 migrants on its doorstep hoping to reach Britain, and the suburbs of major French cities, many of which have sizable Muslim populations.

The National Front "is the only party to defend an authentically French republic," she added, and to be dedicated to "the preservation of our way of life."

[...]

"The old themes and proposals of the National Front have been reprised in the political debate, not only on the right but also, more and more, on the left and in particular in the voice of the executive branch, and that legitimizes the National Front," he said.

Both Mr. Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls have evoked more nationalistic themes recently and taken a particularly hard line on security issues. Although the government is leans left, its leaders have begun to discuss extending the state of emergency, which gives law enforcement extraordinary powers, beyond its current duration of three months.

December 12, 2015 -- Paris climate deal: nearly 200 nations sign in end of fossil fuel era

December 12, 2015 -- James Hansen, father of climate change awareness, calls Paris talks 'a fraud'

December 13, 2015 -- National Front Party in France Is Dealt a Setback in Regional Elections:

A week after the National Front came out on top in the first round of voting, France sent a far different message, with the party losing even in a northern region where its charismatic leader, Marine Le Pen, had been widely expected to win.

The projections also showed the National Front being defeated in another of its strongest areas, the south around Nice, where Ms. Le Pen's 26-year-old niece, Marion Maréchal Le Pen, was on the ballot.

[...]

Ms. Le Pen made her presidential ambitions for 2017 clear: "This distinction will be what is fundamentally at stake in the huge political decision of the presidential elections."

December 18, 2015 -- European shares fall as Fed rally loses momentum:

European shares fell in volatile trade on Friday as the Fed-inspired rally of the previous session ran out of steam and investors took profits ahead of the holiday season.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 1.2 percent by 1540 GMT, after gaining 1.3 percent on Thursday, while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index weakened 1.7 percent.

European stocks had rallied on Thursday as investors took the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to raise interest rates as a sign of confidence in the world's biggest economy.

"Yesterday's rally was a bit overdone and investors are taking profit as they prepare for the holiday. Lower oil prices this morning and weaker U.S. markets gave the pretext to sell," said Stephan Rieke, senior economist at BHF-BANK in Frankfurt.