Despite Strong Summer Start, Europe’s Aviation Industry Frets 

Air traffic is booming this summer, but after European vacations are over will passenger demand hold up?

The question was the focus of the annual congress of the Airports Council International (ACI) Europe in Rome this week, held at the cusp of the approaching peak season.

The summer period is shaping up to be by far the best since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis that has severely affected the airline industry since 2020.

Some airlines, such as Ryanair, and countries, in particular Greece, have already recovered or even exceeded their 2019 daily flight numbers, according to Eurocontrol, a pan-European air traffic agency.

Across the continent, air traffic was last week at 86 percent of the same period in 2019, Eurocontrol said, and expected to reach up to 95 percent in August under its most optimistic estimate.

And companies are filling seats for the coming weeks despite the sharp rise in ticket prices, long lines in various airports from Frankfurt to Dublin to Amsterdam and strikes by flight attendants, pilots or air traffic controllers.

But after that?

“Visibility is low because there is a lot of uncertainty,” said Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI Europe.

“We’re now in a war economy in Europe, we have the prospect of a quite harsh recession, we have inflation at record levels, so how all of this is going to play into consumer sentiment… the jury’s still out.”

The director general for transport and mobility at the European Commission, Henrik Hololei, echoed that thought.

“We really need to tighten the seatbelt because there’s going to be a lot of turbulence,” he told delegates.

“We are entering… a period of uncertainty which we have never experienced in the last decade. And that of course is the biggest enemy of the business,” he said.

Too many unknowns

Hololei listed the war in Ukraine, high energy prices and shortages of energy, food and labor.

“We have also interest rates which are going up for the first time in a decade,” he said.

The price of jet fuel has doubled over the past year, with a refinery capacity shortage compounding the explosion in crude oil prices.

Fuel accounts for about a quarter of the operating costs of airlines, which have passed them on to consumers in ticket prices as they seek to refill coffers drained by the two-year health crisis.

Still, strong demand has returned, confirmed Eleni Kaloyirou, managing director of Hermes Airports, which manages the airports of Larnaca and Paphos in Cyprus, where the high tourist season extends into November.

“People want to take their holidays,” she said, acknowledging, however, “we do worry about next year.”

The general manager of Athens International Airport, Yiannis Paraschis, similarly expressed fears that “the increase in energy costs and inflation will consume a great part of European households’ disposable income.”

The head of Istanbul International Airport, Kadri Samsunlu, voiced concerns about inflation’s effect in Western Europe.

And if consumer confidence is damaged, “We don’t know what’s going to happen to the demand,” he warned.

The last unknown hanging over European air travel in the medium term is a possible new outbreak of coronavirus.

“COVID has not disappeared, and it is not a seasonal flu either,” Hololei warned.

Norway Pays Tribute to Victims of Oslo Shooting 

Norway paid tribute on Sunday to the victims of a deadly shooting near a gay bar in the capital that shocked the normally peaceful country and led to the cancellation of a Pride march.

The altar of Oslo cathedral was draped in a rainbow cloth for a service to remember the victims of the attack, attended by Crown Princess Mette-Marit.

Investigators are probing  the motives of the suspected gunman, who opened fire in the early hours of Saturday, killing two and wounding 21.

“Oslo is in mourning. The whole country has been shaken by this attack,” the Norwegian Protestant Church said. It come 11 years after right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in a shooting spree that shook the nation to its core.

“Bullets cannot kill love,” said the head of the Church, Olav Fykse Tveit.

Noting that the Church had for years opposed equal rights for same-sex couples, he said: “We see that we can learn, sometimes in spite of ourselves, that diversity is a present, a richness, and that many homosexuals have a capacity for love that we are incapable of.”

“The shooting … put an end to the Pride march,” said a somber Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store. “But it has not put an end to the fight to end discrimination, prejudice and hate.”

Suspect known to police

The shooting occurred at around 1:00 am on Saturday (2300 GMT on Friday) near the London Pub gay club in Oslo’s packed nightlife district, where Pride parties were in full swing.

Two men in their 50s and 60s died. Twenty-one other people were wounded.

Police quickly arrested the suspect, whom they described as a 42-year-old Norwegian man of Iranian descent known to the nation’s security services. Norwegian media named him as Zaniar Matapour.

Domestic intelligence service PST said it was treating the attack as “an act of Islamist terrorism.”

The suspect “has a long history of violence and threats”, PST chief Roger Berg said.

He said the man had been on the PST’s radar “since 2015 in connection with concerns about his radicalization” and membership of “an Islamist extremist network.”

He also had “difficulties with his mental health”, Berg added.

Police ordered the man to be placed under “judicial observation” to determine his mental state. He refused on Saturday to be questioned as to his motives.

On Saturday, the intelligence services raised the country’s threat level from moderate to “extraordinary.”

‘We won’t disappear’

People, many in tears, laid flowers and rainbow flags at the police security cordon around the scene of the shooting.

“Love is love — and it’s the same thing for everyone. Everyone has the right to live as they choose,” said chef Kristin Wenstad as she paid her respects.

The organizers of the LGBT Pride march, due to take place on Saturday afternoon, called it off on the advice of the police.

Thousands nonetheless marched spontaneously through Oslo on Saturday in a display of unity also seen at Pride marches across Europe.

“We’re here. We’re queer. We won’t disappear,” they chanted.

Footballer Ada Hegerberg waved a rainbow armband after scoring the first goal in the women’s national team match against New Zealand on Saturday evening.

Several European leaders condemned the shooting and expressed sympathy.

“We all have the right to love and be loved,” tweeted NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who is Norwegian.

Stoltenberg was prime minister when, on July 22, 2011, Brevik carried out the country’s worst peacetime massacre.

G7 Leaders Meet in Germany

Germany welcomes the leaders of the G-7 wealthy democracies Sunday.

The summit for the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States is being held in a castle in the Bavarian Alps.

The three-day meeting is being held in the shadow of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  Political analysts say the G-7 leaders are expected to present unanimous support for Ukraine in its battle with Russia.

“The summit must send not only the message that NATO and the G-7 are more united than ever,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told German parliament recently, “but also that the democracies of the world stand together against [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s imperialism just as they do in the fight against hunger and poverty.”

The sanctions placed on Russia have sparked a spike in global food and energy prices.

After the G-7 summit, the world leaders will travel to Madrid for a NATO summit.

Some information for this report came from Reuters and AFP.

Life in Donbas: ‘We Would Like to Live a Little Bit Longer’

The prolonged roar of Grad rockets can be heard as locals in the east Ukrainian town of Siversk crowd around a van selling essentials such as bread, sausages and gas for camp stoves.

“Everyone is suffering. All of us here are trying to survive,” said Nina, a 64-year-old retiree, pushing a bicycle.

“There’s no water, no gas, no electricity. … We have been living for three months now under shelling. It’s like we’re in the Stone Ages,” she said.

The small town of mainly village-style single-story houses on dusty roads has become a new frontier in the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Ukrainian troops have given up defending the ravaged city of Sievierodonetsk and now face a battle with Russians seeking to encircle neighboring Lysychansk.

Siversk is the last major town en route to Lysychansk, albeit along roads that are severely damaged and under shelling and has Russian forces encroaching from the north and south.

Local people, many of them retirees, complain they feel abandoned by Kyiv.

“The town has really died. And we would like to live a little bit longer,” said Marina, 63, a retired factory worker.

“They’re just basically killing us. It’s dangerous everywhere,” Nina said. “No one needs us, there’s no help from the government. Ukraine has forgotten about us.”

‘Batteries are trending’

Military vehicles including U.S. Humvees and latest-generation U.S. and Soviet-style howitzers, tanks, aid trucks and ambulances constantly pass back and forth through Siversk.

“All day they’ve been coming,” said a policeman at a nearby checkpoint, adding that three vehicles carrying evacuees have gone through “with mainly old people, women and children — there is movement today.”

Driving onto higher ground, dirty smoke rises from a fresh Ukrainian missile launch.

The street van in Siversk is a commercial operation, bringing goods including Polish food from the city of Dnipro, some 300 kilometers away, locals say.

“It’s expensive, of course,” Nina said.

There are also deliveries of humanitarian aid. AFP journalists saw three Red Cross trucks drive up to municipal offices and unload boxes of food including sunflower oil, tea and buckwheat, as well as hygiene items such as razors.

Municipal official Svitlana Severin asked the Red Cross staff to bring more candles, matches and flashlights.

“Batteries are trending,” she said. Flashlights “need power and we don’t know when we’ll get electricity.”

The boxes are put in a storage room. Severin says that in order to minimize crowds, they stagger their handouts, with specific days each month for each social group.

An older woman comes up to the vans indignantly asking why she cannot access the aid and asking for heart medicine.

‘Candles needed’

There are also local initiatives.

Social worker Svetlana Meloshchenko says she and her helpers go round distributing water in milk containers and have given out candles and washing liquids outside the local shop.

“Candles are needed — people spend nights in their cellar,” she said.

“There are a lot of small children, old people, disabled people,” she added, as well as “a lot of people with diabetes.”

“Medicines are supplied to hospitals, but not enough for all,” she said.

Russian troops are firing artillery on the area around Siversk, according to Ukraine’s General Staff.

Nearby, a group of Ukrainian soldiers sprawl in a disused petrol station, eating bread and sausage, their semiautomatic rifles beside them. They say they are going back and forth to the front, without giving details.

“Our cause is the right one,” insisted one young soldier, while another older, bearded man said: “We don’t look at the news.”

“When there’s really good news, we’ll definitely hear about it,” he said, smiling. 

Biden Arrives in Europe for Summits Focused on Ukraine, Economy

President Joe Biden touched down in Germany on Saturday, where he will attend the G-7 summit with the leaders of key U.S. allies to discuss their united front against Russia and troubling weakness in the world economy. 

Biden flew from Washington to Munich, then boarded the Marine One helicopter for the short flight to the summit location, Schloss Elmau. His first talks during his three-day stay will be with Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany on Sunday. 

The leaders of the seven wealthy democracies, the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, will meet in a luxurious castle in Germany’s Alps. 

Then they all head to Madrid for a NATO summit. 

Both sessions will take place in the shadow of Russia’s Ukraine invasion, but also a global surge in inflation, fears of recession, and the ever-growing challenge of containing China while avoiding open conflict. 

Biden has gained widespread praise for restoring U.S. leadership of its European and Asian alliances. The response to Russia in particular has seen strong transatlantic unity, both for arming the Ukrainians and imposing powerful economic sanctions against Moscow. 

But Biden, like several European leaders, is facing pressure at home over fallout from the sanctions, which have helped drive up fuel prices, imposing a heavy drag on economies exiting the COVID-19 shutdown. 

Biden is also burdened at home by a tense political situation ahead of November midterm elections that could see Republicans take back control of Congress for the next two years. 

A ruling by the Supreme Court on Friday to end decades of federal protections for access to abortion has opened a new battlefield, with Biden calling on voters to make it a key issue in November. 

He returned to the issue on Saturday before departing for Europe, saying the Supreme Court had made a “shocking decision.” 

“I know how painful and devastating the decision is for so many Americans,” he said.

Suspected Terror-Linked Shooting In Oslo Kills 2, Wounds 14

An overnight shooting in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, that killed two people and wounded more than a dozen is being investigated as a possible terrorist attack, Norwegian police said Saturday.

In a news conference Saturday, police officials said the man arrested after the shooting was a Norwegian citizen of Iranian origin who was previously known to police but not for major crimes.

They said they had seized two firearms in connection with the attack: a handgun and an automatic weapon.

The events occurred outside the London Pub, a bar popular with the city’s LGBTQ community, hours before Oslo’s Pride parade was due to take place. Organizers canceled all Pride events planned for Saturday on the advice of police.

“Oslo Pride therefore urges everyone who planned to participate or watch the parade to not show up. All events in connection with Oslo Prides are canceled,” organizers said on the official Facebook page of the event.

Police spokesperson Tore Barstad said 14 people were receiving medical treatment, eight of whom have been hospitalized.

Olav Roenneberg, a journalist from Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, said he witnessed the shooting.

“I saw a man arrive at the site with a bag. He picked up a weapon and started shooting,” Roenneberg told NRK. “First I thought it was an air gun. Then the glass of the bar next door was shattered and I understood I had to run for cover.”

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said in a Facebook post that “the shooting outside London Pub in Oslo tonight was a cruel and deeply shocking attack on innocent people.”

He said that while the motive was unclear, the shooting had caused fear and grief in the LGBTQ community.

“We all stand by you,” Gahr Stoere wrote.

Christian Bredeli, who was at the bar, told Norwegian newspaper VG that he hid on the fourth floor with a group of about 10 people until he was told it was safe to come out.

“Many were fearing for their lives,” he said. “On our way out we saw several injured people, so we understood that something serious had happened.”

Norwegian broadcaster TV2 showed footage of people running down Oslo streets in panic as shots rang out in the background.

Norway is a relatively safe country but has experienced violent attacks by right-wing extremists, including one of the worst mass shootings in Europe in 2011, when a gunman killed 69 people on the island of Utoya after setting off a bomb in Oslo that left eight dead.

In 2019, another right-wing extremist killed his stepsister and then opened fire in a mosque but was overpowered before anyone there was injured.

Romanian Port Struggles to Handle Flow of Ukrainian Grain

With Ukraine’s seaports blockaded or captured by Russian forces, neighboring Romania’s Black Sea port of Constanta has emerged as a main conduit for the war-torn country’s grain exports amid a growing world food crisis.

It’s Romania’s biggest port, home to Europe’s fastest-loading grain terminal, and has processed nearly a million tons of grain from Ukraine — one of the world’s biggest exporters of wheat and corn — since the Feb. 24 invasion.

But port operators say that maintaining, let alone increasing, the volume they handle could soon be impossible without concerted European Union support and investment.

“If we want to keep helping Ukrainian farmers, we need help to increase our handling capacities,” said Dan Dolghin, director of cereal operations at the Black Sea port’s main Comvex operator.

“No single operator can invest in infrastructure that will become redundant once the war ends,” he added.

Comvex can process up to 72,000 metric tons of cereals per day. That and Constanta’s proximity by land to Ukraine, and by sea to the Suez Canal, make it the best current route for Ukrainian agricultural exports. Other alternatives include road and rail shipments across Ukraine’s western border into Poland and its Baltic Sea ports.

Just days into the Russian invasion, Comvex invested in a new unloading facility, anticipating that the neighboring country would have to reroute its agricultural exports.

This enabled the port over the past four months to ship close to a million tons of Ukrainian grain, most of it arriving by barge down the Danube River. But with 20 times that amount still blocked in Ukraine and the summer harvest season fast approaching in Romania itself and other countries that use Constanta for their exports, Dolghin said it’s likely the pace of Ukrainian grain shipping through his port will slow.

“As the summer harvest in Romania gathers momentum, all port operators will turn to Romanian cereals,” he warned.

Ukraine’s deputy agricultural minister, Markian Dmytrasevych, is also worried.

In an address to the European Parliament earlier this month, Dmytrasevych said that when Constanta operators turn to European grain suppliers in the summer “it will further complicate the export of Ukrainian products.”

Romanian and other EU officials have also voiced concern, lining up in recent weeks to pledge support.

On a recent visit to Kyiv with the leaders of France, Germany and Italy, Romanian president Klaus Iohannis said his country was seeking possible ways of overcoming the “weaponization of grain exports by Russia.”

“As a relevant part of the solution to the food insecurity generated by Russia, Romania is actively involved in facilitating the transit of Ukraine exports and in serving as a hub for grain,” to reach traditional markets in the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Asia, he said.

The solutions discussed in Kyiv, Iohannis said, included speeding up Danube barge shipments, increasing the speed of their unloading at Romanian ports, new border crossings for trucks with Ukrainian grain and reopening a decommissioned railway linking Romania with Ukraine and Moldova.

A Romanian analyst said finding alternative routes for Ukraine’s grain exports goes beyond private logistics companies or any single country, echoing Iohannis’s call in Kyiv for an international “coalition of the willing” to tackle the problem.

“The situation in Ukraine will not be solved soon; the conflict may end tomorrow but tensions will last. … That is why new transport routes must be considered and consolidated,” said George Vulcanescu.

He said that in that sense there are just three financially viable routes for Ukrainian exports — via Romania, Poland or the Baltic states.

However, he added, “port operators need financial support from Romanian authorities, but the funding should come from the European Union.”

Vulcanescu said a combination of fast and “minimal, not maximal” investment is needed.

“Big investment cannot be done quickly — we need to look for fast solutions for expanding the (existing) storage and handling capacities of Romanian ports,” he added. “If we want to help Ukraine now, we need to look for smaller investment to improve the infrastructure we already have.”

Comvex’s Dolghin said the operator wants to help as much as possible, but added: “We hope to see concrete action, not only statements in support of the port operators.”

18 Migrants Died in Mass Crossing into Spanish Enclave, Morocco Says

Morocco said 18 migrants died trying to cross into Spain’s North African enclave of Melilla on Friday, after a violent two-hour skirmish between migrants and border officers that also led to scores of injuries.

About 2,000 migrants stormed a high fence that seals off the enclave. This led to clashes with security forces as more than 100 migrants managed to cross from Morocco into Melilla, Moroccan and Spanish authorities said.

Morocco’s Interior Ministry initially said five migrants had died in the border raid, some after falling from the fence surrounding Melilla and others in a crush, and that 76 migrants were injured. It later said an additional 13 had died.

Some 140 members of Moroccan security forces were also injured, it added, five seriously, though none of them died.

Over the past decade, Melilla and Ceuta, a second Spanish enclave also on Africa’s northern coast, have become magnets for mostly sub-Saharan migrants trying to get into Europe.

Friday’s attempt began about 6:40 a.m. in the face of resistance from Moroccan security forces.

Two hours later, more than 500 migrants began to enter Melilla, jumping over the roof of a border checkpoint after cutting through fencing with a bolt cutter, the Madrid government’s representative body there said in a statement.

Most were forced back, but about 130 men managed to reach the enclave and were being processed at its reception center for immigrants, it added.

Footage posted on social media showed large groups of African youths walking along roads around the border, celebrating entering Melilla, and the firing of what appeared to be tear gas by the authorities.

Spanish authorities said the border incursion led to 57 migrants and 49 Spanish police sustaining injuries.

‘Human trafficking mafias’

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez paid tribute to officers on both sides of the border for fighting off “a well-organized, violent assault” which he suggested was organized by “human trafficking mafias.”

He underscored the improvement in relations between Madrid and Rabat. In March, Spain recognized the position of Morocco toward the Western Sahara, a territory the North African nation claims as its own but where an Algeria-backed independence movement is demanding establishment of an autonomous state.

“I would like to thank the extraordinary cooperation we are having with the Kingdom of Morocco which demonstrates the need to have the best of relations,” he said.

AMDH Nador, a Moroccan human rights group, said the incursion came a day after migrants clashed with Moroccan security personnel attempting to clear camps they had set up in a forest near Melilla.

The watchdog’s head, Omar Naji, told Reuters that clash was part of an “intense crackdown” on migrants since Spanish and Moroccan forces resumed joint patrols and reinforced security measures in the area around the enclave.

The incursion was the first significant one since Spain adopted its more pro-Rabat stance over Western Sahara.

In the weeks of 2022 prior to that shift, migrant entries into the two enclaves had more than tripled compared with the same period of 2021.

In mid-2021, as many as 8,000 people swam into Ceuta or clambered over its fence over a couple of days, taking advantage of the apparent lifting of a security net on the Moroccan side of the border following a bilateral diplomatic spat.

 

Ukraine, Moldova Hail EU Candidacy; Balkan States, Georgia Told to Wait 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hailed the European Union’s decision to grant his country candidate status Friday, a key milestone in joining the bloc. Moldova was also granted accession candidate status.

EU officials described the move as historic but cautioned that both countries will have to make tough reforms before they become full members.

Historic

In a joint televised message to the Ukrainian people, Zelenskyy, flanked by the prime minister and the speaker of parliament, compared the EU decision to other historic moments in Ukraine’s history and said the process was irreversible.

“Today, Ukraine is fighting for its freedom and this war began just when Ukraine declared its right to freedom, to choosing its own future,” Zelenskyy said. “We saw [that future] in the European Union.”

Speaker of the Ukrainian parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk called the decision a powerful political message. “It will be heard by soldiers in the trenches, every family that was forced to flee the war abroad, everyone who helps bring our victory closer,” he said.

Reforms

EU leaders cautioned that the road to full membership for Ukraine and Moldova would not be easy.

“The countries all have to do homework before moving to the next stage of the accession process,” said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen after the decision, referring to political and governmental reforms required before continuing the process.

On Thursday, von der Leyen expressed confidence that Ukraine and Moldova would “move as swiftly as possible and work as hard as possible to implement the necessary reforms, not just because they are required to move ahead in the European accession path, but, first and foremost, because these reforms are good for the countries.”

Those reforms will be difficult and will take time, says analyst Andi Hoxhaj, a fellow in European Union law at Britain’s University of Warwick.

“It’s about strengthening the rule of law and the judicial system. In addition, they would like to see a track record of applying an anti-oligarch law, meaning that they want to root out corruption as well as strengthen independent institutions,” Hoxhaj told VOA. “That will be a really challenging aspect.”

Border uncertainty

For now, Ukraine is focused on repelling Russia’s invasion in the east. The outcome of war will likely also determine the EU’s verdict on Ukrainian membership.

“Will they be able to allow for a big country like Ukraine in, which still would have a lot of problems when it comes to its borders?” Hoxhaj said.

Dashed hopes

Other former Soviet states are eyeing EU membership. Georgia’s hopes of joining Ukraine and Moldova were dashed as the EU demanded further reforms before granting the country candidacy status. Instead, the bloc said it formally recognized Georgia’s “European perspective.”

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili nevertheless said it was an incredibly historic step. “We’re ready to work with determination over the next months to reach the candidate status,” Zourabichvili said.

North Macedonia has been a candidate for 17 years but its progress is being blocked by Bulgaria in a dispute over ethnicity and language. The feud is also blocking Albania’s hopes of progressing toward EU accession.

Bulgarian lawmakers voted Friday to end its veto, but with certain conditions attached, which could yet be rejected by North Macedonia or the EU.

EU ‘short-sighted’

Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo also want to join the EU, but political crises have prevented Brussels from offering candidacy. Arton Demhasaj, the head of Kosovo’s Wake Up anti-corruption watchdog, said the EU’s position is short-sighted.

“If countries who aspire to join EU face delays, they will re-orientate their policies and then we will have an increase of Russian and Chinese influence in the western Balkans and this will create problems within the E.U. itself,” Demhasaj told Reuters.

Hoxhaj of Warick University agrees.

“Bosnia should have been offered a candidate status a long time ago, as well as Kosovo, because it’s preventing them from moving forward,” Hoxhaj said. “But it’s also allowing Russia to have a kind of influence in the Western Balkans, especially in Serbia as well as in Bosnia.”

Kremlin reaction

Russia said Ukraine’s EU candidacy would not pose a threat but Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the West of seeking war.

“When World War II was about to start, Hitler gathered most of the European countries under his banner. Now the EU and NATO are also gathering the same modern coalition for the fight and, by and large, for war with the Russian Federation,” Lavrov said Friday during a visit to Azerbaijan.

NATO and the EU say they do not seek war with Russia and accuse Moscow of upending decades of peace in Europe with its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

 

Vatican Praises US Court Decision on Abortion, Saying It Challenges World

The Vatican’s Academy for Life on Friday praised the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, saying it challenged the whole world to reflect on life issues. 

The Vatican department also said in a statement that the defense of human life could not be confined to individual rights because life is a matter of “broad social significance.” 

The U.S. Supreme Court took the dramatic step Friday of overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion and legalized it nationwide. 

“The fact that a large country with a long democratic tradition has changed its position on this issue also challenges the whole world,” the Academy said in a statement. 

U.S. President Joe Biden, a lifelong Catholic, condemned the ruling, calling it a “sad day” for America and labeling the court’s conservatives “extreme.” 

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who heads the Pontifical Academy for Life, said the Court’s decision was a “powerful invitation to reflect” on the issue at a time when “Western society is losing passion for life. 

“By choosing life, our responsibility for the future of humanity is at stake,” Paglia said.