Eleanor Beardsley

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Inside a small, sunlit rehearsal space in the east of Paris, a brass quintet practices an original composition for an upcoming musical theater performance called Death Breath Orchestra. But the musical's opening has been pushed back yet again due to an upsurge in the virus. France, like its European neighbors, has been hit hard by a second wave of COVID-19 and officials warn of a possible third wave this winter.

From France to Germany to The Netherlands, Europeans are venting frustration over the pace of their COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

The European Union began administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Dec. 27 — two weeks after the United States and almost a month after the United Kingdom, which recently left the EU.

The Netherlands only just started Wednesday. A former senior health official there, Roel Coutinho, called the Dutch strategy "shameful" and warned it was "going to cost lives," according to the BBC.

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The river Seine runs through the heart of Paris. It has provided serenity for many Parisians during the pandemic, including our colleague Eleanor Beardsley.

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Right. So on Christmas Eve, Britain and the European Union finally finalized their divorce.

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With just days to go until Great Britain officially leaves the European Union's single common market and customs union, the two sides appear close to a trade deal.

But there has been particular apprehension along a stretch of French coastline that is home to the massive cross-channel rail and ferry port of Calais, and Europe's largest seafood processing platform. A dispute over fishing rights — a small but highly symbolic sector — has been one of the main sticking points to a trade deal between the EU and the United Kingdom.

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Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, has tested positive for the coronavirus. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley is in Paris.

Hi, Eleanor.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

INSKEEP: How is he?

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

Former French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, who was instrumental to the country's expansion of nuclear energy and high-speed rail but lost his bid for reelection during economic recession, died Wednesday, according to French media reports quoting the Elysée Palace.

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Four French police officers have been suspended and are in custody after a video that shows them brutally beating a Black man was posted online Thursday.

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President-elect Biden says he will work to rebuild relationships with European leaders, but as NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports, the last four years may have permanently tarnished America's image in Europe.

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In his victory speech last night, President-elect Joe Biden noted that U.S. elections are viewed far beyond our borders.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Tensions between Turkey and France are rising, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls for a boycott on French good and slams French President Emmanuel Macron's call for a "French Islam."

The increased friction follows the beheading of a teacher in France after he showed his class caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

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Police in France raided numerous homes Monday in a sweep of suspects alleged to have offered online support for last week's beheading of a schoolteacher who had shown his students controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, the Interior Ministry said.

The raids come as thousands have poured into the streets in France to show solidarity in the wake of Friday's attack in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Paris, where history teacher Samuel Paty, 47, was killed by a man later identified as an 18-year-old Moscow-born Chechen.

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