EU leaders arrive at European Council on second day of negotiations | AFP

Angela Merkel, Ursula von der Leyen, Mark Rutte and Emmanuel Macron arrive for the second day of an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels. The leaders of the European Union are holding their first face-to-face summit over a post-virus economic rescue plan.

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EU ‘deplores’ China’s Hong Kong security law | AFP

The European Union says it deplores China’s adoption of a security law for Hong Kong, warning it risks undermining its autonomy and undercut the judiciary. SOUNDBITE

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Macron sits in on virtual, post-Covid EU summit | AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron takes part in a virtual European Union summit, talking with fellow European leaders via video to help kickstart, as complex as it is uncertain, a post-coronavirus recovery plan. IMAGES

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Maduro tells the European Union to stay out of Venezuela | AFP

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro slams the European Union and says the body should stay out of the country’s internal politics, which have been criticised after a new regime-friendly electoral board was named to oversee elections.

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EU backs WHO after Trump pull-out threat | AFP

The European Union backs the World Health Organisation and multilateral efforts to fight the coronavirus after US President Donald Trump threatened to quit the global agency. SOUNDBITE

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Facebook chief wants EU not China to lead on tech rules | AFP

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg urges the European Union to take the lead in setting global standards for tech regulation or risk seeing countries follow China as a model. SOUNDBITE

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Europe steps up reopening, starting with its beaches for tourism season | AFP

Putting a safe distance between deckchairs and parasols, installing automatic disinfection systems, Europe’s beaches are opening for tourism season. Desperate to save millions of tourism jobs, the European Union set out plans for a phased restart of travel this summer.

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China to provide EU ‘two million surgical masks’ to help fight COVID-19: EU Commission | AFP

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announces that China will provide “two million surgical masks and 50,000 testing kits” to help the European Union cope with the coronavirus pandemic. SOUNDBITE

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AP Top Stories March 18 A

Here’s the latest for Wednesday March 18th: Biden sweeps primaries; European Union closing borders due to virus; California putting National Guard on alert; Virus closes Mall of America.

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Von der Leyen proposes 30-day EU travel ban

The president of the European Union’s executive body on Monday proposed a 30-day travel ban on people entering the EU for non-essential reasons, in an effort to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. (March 16)

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EU chief proposes ban on ‘non-essential’ travel into the bloc | AFP

EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen proposes that the bloc close its borders to non-essential travel, as Europe scrambles to fight the spread of the coronavirus disease. “We propose to introduce a temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the European Union,” she says. IMAGES

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Coronavirus: Macron takes part in videoconference with European leaders | AFP

Emmanuel Macron speaks with European Union leaders by videoconference about the coronavirus crisis. The meeting, organised by the French President, was attended by European Council President Charles Michel, Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, ECB President Christine Lagarde and 27 Heads of State and Government. IMAGES

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Greta Thunberg takes part in a demonstration in front of EU institutions | AFP

Young climate activist Greta Thunberg joins dozens of young activists from Fridays For Future to demonstrate in front of the European Commission, calling for more concrete action against climate change from the European Union.

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EU will provide Greece ‘all the support needed’ in migrant crisis: von der Leyen | AFP

The European Union will provide Greece “all the necessary operational support” to help tackle the migration surge from neighbouring Turkey, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says. The EU dispatched its highest officials to Turkey and Greece amid concern over a fresh migrant crisis and allegations that Ankara was trying to “blackmail” the bloc by opening its borders to thousands of refugees seeking to flee to Europe. IMAGES

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EU raises coronavirus risk level to ‘medium to high’ | AFP

The European Union’s disease control agency says it has increased its risk level for the novel coronavirus COVID-19, while European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visits the EU Emergency Response Coordination Centre.

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Spanish police uncover underground counterfeit cigarette factory | AFP

Spanish police uncover a counterfeit cigarette factory in a bunker four metres (13 feet) underground. They also rescued six Ukrainian workers who were trapped inside gasping for air. Both Europol and Spanish police said it was the first underground counterfeit cigarette factory discovered in the European Union.

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The European Union | AFP Animé

Videographic illustrating and explaining how the European Union works. EU leaders clashed through the night early Friday as a stormy summit to decide the bloc’s seven-year, trillion euro budget entered a second day.VIDEOGRAPHICS

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Europe’s multinational parliament | AFP Animé

Videographic illustrating and explaining the various key institutions of the European Union. VIDEOGRAPHICS

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US: Mike Pompeo meets with EU’s Josep Borrell at State Department | AFP

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with European Union diplomatic chief Josep Borrell at the State Department in Washington. IMAGES

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Johnson: ‘Naive and juvenile’ anti-Americans should ‘grow up’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says rebuilding full trade relationships with the United States and other countries outside the EU carries enormous opportunities for post-Brexit Britain. Speaking in Greenwich, London, Johnson said the U.K.wants to have a “thriving trade and economic relationship” with the European Union, and be at the forefront of global free trade.

Brexit Day: Britain has left the EU — but how did it all come about? | AFP

After 47 years, Britain is leaving the European Union. But Britain’s European membership has never been easy. From the accession of the UK to the European common market, to the shock Brexit referendum result and to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s bitter standoff with parliament, here are the milestones on Britain’s rocky road out of the European Union.

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