As 2018 draws to a close, Europe is no closer to knowing the final outcome of Brexit, while Russia’s ties with the West show no sign of improving.

FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018 file photo European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker looks at his watch at the end of a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)
FILE – European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the end of a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels, on Feb. 21, 2018. (Virginia Mayo/AP Photo/File)
FILE - In this Thursday, April. 5, 2018 file photo people wear white masks in support of Catalonian politicians jailed on charges of sedition and condemning the arrest of Catalonia's former president, Carles Puigdemont, in Germany, during a protest in Figures, Spain. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)
FILE – People wear white masks in support of Catalonian politicians jailed on charges of sedition and condemning the arrest of Catalonia’s former president, Carles Puigdemont, in Germany, during a protest in Figures, Spain, on April 5, 2018. (Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo/File)
FILE - In this April 19, 2018 file photo an activist kicks a tear canister gas shot by riot police during a protest in support of the French railway employees, in Paris, France. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)
FILE – In this April 19, 2018 file photo an activist kicks a tear canister gas shot by riot police during a protest in support of the French railway employees, in Paris. (Francois Mori/AP Photo/File)

The streets of France have seen violent protests as “yellow vest” demonstrations have morphed from anger at a fuel tax hike to general discontent with President Emmanuel Macron’s government. Protesters in Paris have torched cars, set fire to barricades, and even vandalized one of the country’s most sacred monuments, the Arc de Triomphe.

FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018 file photo pro-independence demonstrators throw paint at Catalan police officers during clashes in Barcelona, Spain. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole, File)
FILE – Pro-independence demonstrators throw paint at Catalan police officers during clashes in Barcelona, Spain, on Sept. 29, 2018. (Daniel Cole/AP Photo/File)

The European Union and Britain reached a deal on Brexit, but Prime Minister Theresa May’s government is under threat as many lawmakers have vowed to vote down the agreement in Parliament. There have been protests in London, with demonstrators dressed in colorful costumes calling for a second referendum. Officials in Britain and the EU, including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, are looking at their watches as the clock ticks down to March 29, when Britain is due to officially exit the bloc

May has tried to lift the spirits of her Conservative Party, even poking a bit of fun at herself by doing a robotic dance as she waltzed onstage at the Tory party conference in October. Previously, May’s dancing at an event in Africa drew ridicule in the media. The British royal family also gave the U.K. public a bit of respite from Brexit, with Prince Harry marrying American actress Meghan Markle in a ceremony at Windsor Castle.

FILE - In this Saturday, May 19, 2018 file photo Meghan Markle and Britain's Prince Harry stand on the steps of St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle following their wedding in Windsor, near London, England. (Jane Barlow/pool photo via AP, File)
FILE – Meghan Markle and Britain’s Prince Harry stand on the steps of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle following their wedding in Windsor, near London, on May 19, 2018. (Jane Barlow/pool photo via AP, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018 file photo German Chancellor Angela Merkel walks through a corridor of the Reichstag building during a Christian Union parties faction meeting in Berlin. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)
FILE – German Chancellor Angela Merkel walks through a corridor of the Reichstag building during a Christian Union parties faction meeting in Berlin, on Sept. 25, 2018. (Markus Schreiber/AP Photo/File)

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced she wouldn’t be a candidate in the country’s next election, which is due in 2021 but could come earlier.

FILE - In this Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 file photo Pope Francis passes by a banner of a protester as he leaves after visiting St Mary's Pro-Cathedral, in Dublin, Ireland. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
FILE – Pope Francis passes by a banner of a protester as he leaves after visiting St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, in Dublin, on Aug. 25, 2018. (Matt Dunham/AP Photo/File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, July 11, 2018 file photo U.S. President Donald Trump attends a meeting of the North Atlantic Council during a summit of heads of state and government at NATO headquarters in Brussels. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert, File)
FILE – U.S. President Donald Trump at a meeting of the North Atlantic Council during a summit of heads of state and government at NATO headquarters in Brussels, on July 11, 2018. (Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP Photo/File)
FILE - In this Monday, July 30, 2018 file photo people wait in a queue to cast their vote at a polling station in Harare, Zimbabwe. (AP Photo/Bram Janssen, File)
FILE – People wait in a queue to cast their votes at a polling station in Harare, Zimbabwe, on July 30, 2018. (Bram Janssen/AP Photo/File)

Major political change reached Africa as well, with Zimbabweans voting in July in their first election without former President Robert Mugabe on the ballot.

FILE - In this Thursday, May 31, 2018 file photo Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko holds his face during an interview with foreign media, with the portrait of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right in the background, in Kiev, Ukraine. (Valentyn Ogirenko/Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE – Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko during an interview with foreign media, with the portrait of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right in the background, in Kyiv, Ukraine, on May 31, 2018. (Valentyn Ogirenko/Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday Jan. 16, 2018 file photo sub-Saharan refugees and migrants, mostly from Eritrea, wait to be rescued by aid workers of Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, in the lower deck of a wooden as they were trying to leave the Libyan coast and reach European soil, 34 miles north of Kasr-El-Karabulli, Libya. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios, File)
FILE – Sub-Saharan refugees and migrants, mostly from Eritrea, wait to be rescued by aid workers of Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, in the lower deck of a wooden ship as they were trying to leave the Libyan coast and reach European soil, 34 miles north of Kasr-El-Karabulli, Libya, on Jan. 16, 2018. (Santi Palacios/AP Photo/File)

Meanwhile, Europe has witnessed another year of migrants making dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean to try to reach EU nations. Aid workers have been stretched, scrambling to rescue asylum-seekers who often set out in rickety boats or small dinghies. But the images of rescue boats packed with exhausted migrants in orange life jackets have done little to unite EU nations, with many arguing among themselves over which country should take them in.

FILE - In this Thursday, March 1, 2018 file photo journalists watch as Russian President Vladimir Putin gives his annual state of the nation address in Manezh in Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)
FILE – Russian President Vladimir Putin gives his annual state of the nation address in Manezh in Moscow, Russia, on March 1, 2018. Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP Photo/File)

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his annual state of the nation address in March, days before a nerve agent attack on a Russian ex-spy in Britain turned the West against Moscow. The Russian government, which denies any involvement in the attack, went on to display its military might by hosting major exercises in September that included China.

FILE - In this Monday July 16, 2018 file photo people celebrate the victory of France in the final of the soccer World Cup on the Champs Elysee Avenue in Paris. (Jean-Francois Badias, File)
FILE – People celebrate the victory of France in the final of the soccer World Cup on the Champs Elysée in Paris, on July 16, 2018. (Jean-Francois Badias/Photo File)

In Italy, a bridge collapsed in Genoa during a sudden and violent storm in August, killing dozens. It led to calls for safety checks of bridges around Italy.

Source: The Associated Press