‘Cautiously optimistic’ leaders arrive for RENEW meeting ahead of EU summit in Brussels | AFP

Dutch Prime minister Mark Rutte says he’s ‘cautiously optimistic’ that the EU and UK will manage to secure a deal before the Brexit deadline at the end of the year. Rutte and his RENEW political counterparts, including Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin, European Council President Charles Michel and Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, arrive in Brussels for a meeting on the sidelines of the EU summit.

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Von der Leyen meets Czech PM Babis ahead of EU summit | AFP

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen meets the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, in Brussels for the European summit. Babis will also represent Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, who is in isolation after having been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19.

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Visegrad Group Prime Ministers meet in Warsaw | AFP

Polish President and Prime Minister, Andrzej Duda and Mateusz Morawiecki, welcome Czech, Slovak and Hungarian Heads of Government, Andrej Babis, Igor Matovic and Viktor Orban to mark the start of the Polish Presidency in the Visegrad Group. IMAGES of the leaders meeting

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Czechs demand PM quit in largest protest since communism | AFP

Huge crowds flooded central Prague on Sunday demanding Prime Minister Andrej Babis step down over corruption allegations in a protest that organisers and local media claim drew around 250,000 people, making it the largest since the fall of communism in 1989.

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Trump hosts Czech Prime Minister at White House

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcomed Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and his wife, Monika Babisova, to the White House Thursday. Issues on the agenda for discussion include trade, immigration and cybersecurity. (March 7)

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MAP: Protests gripping Europe over past month

Past month has been really rough on the EU, as protests, both violent and non-violent, have consumed some of the largest countries in the bloc.

We’ve compiled the list of all the demonstrations which have taken place in Europe during the November-December period:

• France

The Yellow Vest demonstrations began on November 17th and have since swept their way throughout France, resulting in violent clashes with police, with more than 1,000 people being arrested nationwide. The protests are motivated by rising fuel taxes and the high cost of living. More than 125,000 people have taken part in ‘Act IV’ of the demonstrations on December 8. Protesters call for the reduction of fuel prices, the raising of the minimum wage, and the resignation of Emmanuel Macron as president.

• England

Two rival marches clashed in London on December 9. Thousands of people have taken part in the “Brexit Betrayal” march, led by the far-right activist Tommy Robinson. The movement was opposed by anti-racist groups, which claim to have gathered some 15,000 people in counter-demonstrations. Mounted riot police and officers in riot gear were deployed to keep the rival demonstrators apart.

• Hungary

Nearly 5,000 Hungarians rallied in Budapest on December 8 against a proposed labor legislation dubbed “slave law.” Some of the protestors wore yellow vests, expressing solidarity with demonstrators in France over discontent with the government.

• Belgium

More than 400 people were detained by the Belgian police during the copycat yellow vest protests in Brussels on Saturday, December 8. This is the second violent demonstration in the capital in the past 8 days. A crowd of more than a 1,000 people faced riot police, which used tear gas and water cannons to subdue the masses. The movement demands the removal of Belgium’s center-right coalition government.

• Greece

Angry protests broke out in Athens on December 6, the 10th anniversary of the police shooting of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos. Police said that around 1,700 people were protesting peacefully, until masked youths started attacking police with rocks and Molotov cocktails. Law enforcement responded with stun grenades and tear gas. More than 100 people were detained.

• Norway

Thousands of Norwegians joined together all over the country to express their opposition to the suggestion, by Prime Minister Erna Solberg, to toughen abortion laws. The demonstration took place across 14 cities across the country on November 17.

• Czech Republic

On Saturday, November 17 tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Prague to demand the resignation of the Czech Republic’s billionaire prime minister Andrej Babis, who is accused of defrauding the EU by nearly €2m. The protest comes on the 29th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which ended the communist regime in former Czechoslovakia.

• Italy

In light of Turin–Lyon high-speed railway construction going through, tens of thousands gathered in Turin on December 8 to protest against the project, claiming that it is a waste of public funds and is damaging to the environment. The organizers of the demonstrations claimed that the rally was attended by some 70,000 people, however these numbers haven’t been confirmed by police.

• Spain

Catalan independence activists, calling themselves “Committees to Defend the Republic” blocked a highway in Tarragona for 15 hours on Saturday, December 8, preventing the flow of traffic. In Barcelona, 250 people blocked traffic on the main avenue. The Spanish government threatened to send in national police, if regional authorities couldn’t prevent such protests.

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Germany’s Merkel attends opening of Bayreuth Festival

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the opening of the Bayreuth Festival, dedicated to composer Richard Wagner, with her husband Joachim Sauer and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Also present on the red carpet, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Bavarian President Markus Soeder are booed by a small group of demonstrators chanting slogans in favour of migration policy. IMAGES

‘Czech Donald Trump’: Media mogul with Euroskeptic agenda to be PM

A billionaire populist dubbed the Czech Republic’s Donald Trump is set to become the country’s next prime minister. The party of Andrej Babis won a landslide victory in the parliamentary elections over the weekend.
RT’s Ilya Petrenko explains where similarities between Babis and the US president can be drawn.

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‘Czech Donald Trump’ to win parliamentary elections

The populist Czech ANO movement led by billionaire Andrej Babis, dubbed ‘the Czech Donald Trump,’ is poised to win the eastern European country’s elections by a wide margin, according to the exit polls. READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/8qcu

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‘Czech Trump’ clinches election victory, eurosceptics boosted

With voters upset over traditional parties and orders from Brussels, billionaire populist Andrej Babis, dubbed the “Czech Trump”, clinches victory in the Czech Republic’s election, while eurosceptics and an anti-Islam group backed by France’s National Front made strong gains. IMAGES