Czechs dust off the sewing machine as government orders mandatory face coverings
The Czech Republic has become the first nation in Europe to implement a national emergency measure that makes it mandatory for all citizens to cover their face with some sort of protective gear when in public to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Effective on March 19, all people in Czechia are required to cover their nose and mouth when outside, health authorities said. Those who fail to comply are subject to fines up to $815. By mandating the use of face coverings, the central European country of 10 million people has adopted a strategy more commonly seen in Asian countries, but less popular in the rest of Europe and in the United States. “The obligation to wear mouth and nose protecti
Germany investigates whether ex-EU ambassador spied for China
Gerhard Sabathil, the European Union’s former ambassador to South Korea, has been identified as the subject of a German probe into alleged spying activities for the Chinese government, according to three European sources. The investigation, which has sent shock waves through Beijing, Berlin and Brussels, came to light after German authorities raided the flats and offices of Sabathil and two other individuals on Wednesday.  German police have made no arrests. Sabathil could not immediately be reached for comment. A dual citizen of Germany and Hungary, Sabathil left diplomacy in 2017 to join the European lobbying firm Eutop. Eutop’s lawyer, Christian Schertz, said in an emailed response to the
In Europe, China’s economic cold war with the West is over before it’s begun
There has been an enormous amount of nonsense reported in the last couple of months about the state of economic relations between the European Union and China. First we heard that the EU was adopting an altogether more assertive, even confrontational, stance towards Beijing. Brussels had declared China to be a “systemic rival,” European politicians were slamming the Chinese government’s protectionist industrial policies, and the EU was vowing to stop the Chinese from obtaining cutting-edge technologies by acquiring European companies. Relations, it seemed, were rapidly deteriorating. Then, miraculously, the skies cleared, with much of the international media proclaiming “a breakthrough” trad
The EU and China are closer than ever. Thanks, Trump
When Donald Trump pushed to “make America great again,” he might not have counted on losing so many friends along the way. The European Union, one of Washington’s closest allies, is now increasingly wary of a protectionist US that prioritizes its own interests over rivals and friends alike. That’s left several EU member states marching to link up with none other than China’s Belt and Road trade initiative against US warnings that the scheme leads to “debt trap” dependence on China. The Belt and Road initiative is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s flagship investment program, which aims to build infrastructure in nations accounting for 68% of the world’s population and 36% of its gross domestic