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HAMBURGER ABENDBLATT (Germany), DUTCH NEWS (Netherlands)

Since May 2012, selling marijuana to non-Dutch buyers has been illegal in the south of the Netherlands. This measure came into law in an effort to prevent large numbers of foreigners, especially Germans, from crossing the border specifically to buy drugs.

Dutch buyers had to show a “weedpass” to prove they were legal residents of the Netherlands. They also had to join a nationwide registry to buy from coffee-shops, where soft drugs are sold legally in the Netherlands.

But police say that the result of the ban has been an increase in drug-related crime, according to the Hamburg Abendblatt.

Dutch News reported that the mayors of Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht, the nation’s four largest cities, were originally opposed to the weedpass, which is slated to go nationwide by January 2013. Buyers will no longer have to register, but will still have to prove they are legal residents of the Netherlands. The measures will be “phased in” to allow for local adjustment, says the Dutch News.

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Economy

Europe's Winter Energy Crisis Has Already Begun

in the face of Russia's stranglehold over supplies, the European Commission has proposed support packages and price caps. But across Europe, fears about the cost of living are spreading – and with it, doubts about support for Ukraine.

Protesters on Thursday in the German state of Thuringia carried Russian flags and signs: 'First our country! Life must be affordable.'

Martin Schutt/dpa via ZUMA
Stefanie Bolzen, Philipp Fritz, Virginia Kirst, Martina Meister, Mandoline Rutkowski, Stefan Schocher, Claus, Christian Malzahn and Nikolaus Doll

-Analysis-

In her State of the Union address on September 14, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, issued an urgent appeal for solidarity between EU member states in tackling the energy crisis, and towards Ukraine. Von der Leyen need only look out her window to see that tensions are growing in capital cities across Europe due to the sharp rise in energy prices.

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In the Czech Republic, people are already taking to the streets, while opposition politicians elsewhere are looking to score points — and some countries' support for Ukraine may start to buckle.

With winter approaching, Europe is facing a true test of both its mettle, and imagination.

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