Greece recognises Sputnik V as ‘equivalent’ to European vaccines

During a visit in Moscow, Greek tourism minister Haris Theocharis assured Russians that Greece’s national vaccination committee includes the Russian vaccine as an equivalent to European vaccines for travel purposes. [Shutterstock/ vovidzha]

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Before you start reading today’s edition of the Capitals, feel free to have a look at the story “Europe reunited against football Super League proposal” by Gerardo Fortuna.

Also read the article “World Press Freedom Index 2021: EU getting more heterogeneous“, by Georgi Gotev.

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In today’s news from the Capitals:


Greece recognises Sputnik V as ‘equivalent’ to European vaccines. Greece will recognise Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine in its vaccination certificate, making it easier for Russian tourists to travel and spend their summer holidays in Greece.

During a visit in Moscow, Greek Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis assured Russians that Greece’s national vaccination committee includes the Russian vaccine as an equivalent to European vaccines for travel purposes. Read more.

Editor’s take: Josep Borrell deletes tweet about waiving vaccine patents. The EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, has deleted a post he made on Twitter regarding the need to waive intellectual rights for vaccines. More


EU Council adopts conclusions on Indo-Pacific cooperation strategy. The Council of the European Union, currently presided over by Portugal, adopted on Monday (19 April) conclusions on the EU strategy for cooperation with the Indo-Pacific region, advocating stability and an “open and fair” environment for trade and investment. More.



Germany’s CDU leadership backs Laschet for chancellor candidate. Armin Laschet, the leader of Germany’s Christian Democrats (CDU), won the backing of senior party members at an internal meeting on Monday night (19 April) to run as the conservative chancellor candidate to succeed Angela Merkel at the September election. Read more.



France sees increase in attacks against journalists during pandemic. Attacks against journalists and abusive arrests multiplied in France during the pandemic, according to the 2021 edition of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) world press freedom index published on Monday morning. Despite this, France kept its rank of 34 among the 180 countries surveyed. Read more.



Brussels vaccine reservation system is online. As of Monday, people living in the Brussels Capital Region can use the Bru-VAX reservation system to register for a vaccine appointment, after the decision not to follow the same system as other Belgian regions. It is, however, not possible to jump the queue as the reserve list is sorted by current age groups to be vaccinated. (Alexandra Brzozowski,



UK Ministers promise to block European Super League. UK ministers have promised to do “whatever it takes” to block the planned breakaway 12-club European Super League, which includes six English football teams. More



Irish PM warns of ‘very serious harm’ if Brexit used as excuse for disputes. Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin has warned against presenting every Brexit issue “as a zero-sum, win-lose fight”. Read more.



Estonian intelligentsia sign petition against Chinese influence. Some 70 members belonging to the Estonian academic, cultural and media elite have written a public letter warning of the “growing and expanding global influence activity of the People’s Republic of China”. Read more.



Parties launch ‘Battle of Madrid’ ahead of snap regional poll. Political parties vying for power in Madrid’s regional parliament have officially launched their campaigns, two weeks ahead of a snap vote set to be held amid rising coronavirus cases and deep political polarisation. Read the full story



Italian government takes stance against European Super League. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said his government is opposed to the proposed 12-club European Super League which includes three of the most important  Italian clubs, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan.

“The government is closely following the debate around the soccer Super League project and strongly supports the positions of the Italian and European football authorities to preserve national competitions, meritocratic values ​​and the social function of sport,” Draghi said in a note published on Tuesday (20 April).

In other news, an activist of the movement against the construction of the new high-speed railway line (Tav) in Val Susa, which is on the French-Italian border, received a serious head injury following clashes with the police on Saturday night. According to the demonstrators, who confirmed the videos shot during the clashes, the woman was injured by a tear gas canister that was fired by police at eye level. (Daniele Lettig |



Orban helps Babis: Hungary to support Agrofert sunflower operation. The Hungarian government will give millions of euros worth of state support to Agrofert, a sunflower seed processing operation owned by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. Read more.



Poland moves to control coal assets. Poland’s Treasury will take over hard coal and lignite-fired generation assets as well as lignite mines from power groups PGE, Tauron, and Enea to integrate these assets into a single entity called the National Energy Security Agency (NABE). Climate and energy experts have said the move may hinder Poland’s road towards successfully decarbonising its energy sector. Read more.



Russia excluded from Czech nuclear tender after blast details revealed. Czechia will exclude Russian state company Rosatom from the pre-qualification round for a tender to supply a new unit for the Dukovany nuclear plant, Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlíček confirmed on Monday, meaning only France, South Korea and the US will be allowed to take part in the tender’s security assessment procedure. Read more.



Slovakia’s Security Council summoned amid Russia-Czechia tension. “We stand by Czechia and support the steps taken,“ said Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová in reaction to the revelation that Russian intelligence was behind the blast of a Czech ammunition deposit in 2014, following which Prime Minister Eduard Heger announced Slovakia would convene its own Security Council on Tuesday. Read more.



Increase in military drafting on the cards in Slovenia. The odds of getting called up to serve in the military may soon increase in Slovenia under proposed legislative changes that would significantly expand the grounds for invoking conscription. Read more.



Bulgarian arms dealer denies any connection to 2014 Czech explosion. Bulgarian arms dealer and manufacturer Emilian Gebrev has officially denied any connection to the deadly military warehouse explosions in the Czech Republic in 2014, according to an official statement issued by his company EMKO on his behalf. Read more.



Coalition talks, with no results. Representatives of Romania’s PNL and USR PLUS parties met Monday to try and clear the air for the first time since the dismissal last Wednesday of former the health minister, Vlad Voiculescuand, of one of his deputies, both proposed by USR PLUS, triggering a crisis in the coalition government. 

The government’s largest coalition partner, PNL (EPP), reiterated its support for Prime Minister Florin Citu, while USR PLUS (Renew) said they do not trust Citu going forward. After five hours of talks, there was little change in position prompting the discussion to continue on Tuesday afternoon. (Bogdan Neagu |



Stop using Roma in election campaigns, their representative pleads. The deputy chairman of the council of ethnic Roma residents in the City of Zagreb, Jasmin Bajrić, urged Zagreb mayoral candidates not to exploit the Roma cause in their campaigns and to refrain from spreading stereotypes about this ethnic community. Read more.

In other news,  Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday that he would not support the idea of establishing the European Super League which would encompass a handful of the biggest football clubs in Europe. 

Plenković said he had held talks with the UEFA president on this topic on Sunday evening and with the leaders of the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) on Monday morning. The PM explained that such an exclusive group would have “negative repercussions for all outside it.” (Željko Trkanjec |



Serbia, UK sign partnership, trade and cooperation agreement. Serbian Trade Minister Tatjana Matić and the British ambassador to Serbia, Sian MacLeod, signed an agreement to support bilateral partnership, trade and cooperation, Serbia’s trade, tourism and telecommunications ministry reported on Monday. Read more.



Man shot, wounded inside opposition electoral campaign office. A man was shot Monday evening inside the electoral campaign office of the Democratic Party (DP) in Kavaje, 25 kilometres from Tirana, reported. Read more.


[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Paula Kenny, Zoran Radosavljevic, Josie Le Blond]

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