18th Oct 2018

EU leaders express shock after plane crash

  • (Photo: angeloangelo)

European leaders have expressed their sorrow and offered their condolences to the families and friends of the 150 people who died on Tuesday (24 March) following the crash of a Germanwings flight in the French Alps.

The Airbus A320 plane - with 144 passengers, two pilots and four crew - was flying from Barcelona to Dusseldorf and went off radar on Tuesday morning.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

As the news of the crash, near Digne in the Alps, started to come in French president Hollande said there was no survivors and that it was a day of "mourning."

The plane was carrying mostly Germans but reportedly also 45 Spanish people. Spain's King Felipe, in France for a state visit, cancelled the trip to return home.

Local Spanish media reported that a group of German students, on an exchange trip, were among those onboard.

Reports from the scene suggested the plane - a low cost affiliate of Lufthansa - did not emit any distress signals.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed "shock" at the news and spoke of the "deep mourning" of France, Germany and Spain. She is to travel to France on Wednesday.

"I will go there tomorrow to take account of the situation myself and to speak to the local authorities," she said in a brief statement on Tuesday afternoon.

EU council president Donald Tusk offered his "deepest condolences" while EU transport commissioner Violeta Bulc said "our thoughts" are with families and that EU services would "assist" in the investigation.

Flags at the EU institutions in Brussels are to fly half-mast from Wednesday for three days. "Europe is in mourning," said the EU commission's chief spokesperson.

The Germanwings accident is the first crash on French soil since 2000. According to the head of Germanwings, the plane took off at 10.35am and air traffic control lost contact with it at 10.53am.

Gilbert Sauvan, a local politician where the plane crashed, told newspaper Echos that "the plane has completely disintegrated. The biggest piece of debris is the size of a car."

Airbus is to launch a technical enquiry into the causes of the accident.

Poland-Russia honeymoon ends after plane crash report

The recent process of reconciliation between Poland and its historical foe, Russia, has stalled after Polish leader Donald Tusk threatened to call an international enquiry over the Smolensk plane crash.

Germany eyes obligatory ID for Schengen flights

German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere has said the fact the air passengers in the EU's borderless region only need to present a ticket to board a plane is a "huge security problem".

Asylum reforms derailed, as EU looks to north Africa

EU leaders at the summit in Brussels want partnerships with north African states that go beyond migration. But internal EU reforms on asylum, especially sharing of migrants and refugees between member states, remain stuck.

EU leaders worried about Italy's budget

Some EU leaders warned that Italy's plan to boost its budget spending despite the second largest debt in the eurozone, could hamper efforts to reform the single currency's framework.

News in Brief

  1. Rutte: summit was 'not the moment' for higher climate ambition
  2. Legal text for Brexit relocation EU agencies agreed
  3. Greek foreign minister resigns over Macedonia deal
  4. No Brexit backstop means no approval, says EU parliament
  5. Poland questions supremacy of EU court
  6. Medvedev to meet Juncker and Merkel in Brussels
  7. Italians and Czechs least favourable to remaining in EU
  8. Facebook hack set to be first major test of EU data rules

Russian activist warning on 'fake news' as EU backs action

In 2015, internet activist Lyudmila Savchuk went under cover to expose a troll factory in St Petersburg. As the EU summit endorses anti-disinformation action, she told EUobserver the Russian government is bankrolling many more.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Asylum reforms derailed, as EU looks to north Africa
  2. EU leaders worried about Italy's budget
  3. Russian activist warning on 'fake news' as EU backs action
  4. Kaczynski: No question of Polish EU exit
  5. EU summit to accept urgency of climate action – but no measures planned
  6. MEPs demand more from EU on human rights in Asia
  7. EU migration solutions are on the table - let's adopt them
  8. No progress at Brexit summit, talks continue

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us