Austria says it will not solve Europe’s Afghanistan problem

An EU diplomat told EURACTIV earlier this month that Europe fears a new migration wave from Afghanistan following the increasing advancement of Taliban insurgents after Washington’s decision to pull out. [Shutterstock/Amors photos]

The Capitals brings you the latest news from across Europe, through on-the-ground reporting by EURACTIV’s media network. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

Before you start reading today’s edition of the Capitals, feel free to have a look at the article “Tunisian democracy in crisis after president ousts government“.


The European news you deserve to read. Welcome to The Capitals by EURACTIV.


In today’s news from the Capitals:

VIENNA | PARIS

Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer has strongly criticised the EU over its migration policy saying it has failed to deliver tangible results. Meanwhile, France has asked for increased presence of the border force Frontex in Europe’s north. EURACTIV’s Oliver Noyan and Anne Damiani report from Vienna and Paris. Read more.

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EU INSTITUTIONS

EMA approves second vaccine for children aged 12 to 17 in EU. Children aged 12 to 17 years across the European Union are now eligible to receive pharma company Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, Spikevax, after a decision from the European Medicines Agency (EMA). More.

EU PRESIDENCY

EU Commissioner rejects Janša’s accusation of ‘harming’ Slovenia. European Commissioner Janez Lenarčič has rejected an accusation by Prime Minister Janez Janša that he was acting against Slovenia’s interests saying, “Slovenia is being harmed by those who undermine the rule of law and media freedom,” rather than those who warn of such conduct. Read more.

BERLIN

Germany reopens debate on restrictions for unvaccinated. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff Helge Braun told leading tabloid Bild that “those who have been vaccinated will definitely have more freedom than those who have not been vaccinated,” sparking a fierce debate over civil liberties. Read more.

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BRUSSELS

Belgian town of Dinant hit by worst floods in decades. The southern Belgian town of Dinant was hit by the heaviest floods in decades on Saturday (24 July) after a two-hour thunderstorm turned streets into torrential streams that washed away cars and pavements but did not kill anyone. More.


UK AND IRELAND

BELFAST  

Former DUP leader joins GB News as contributor. Former DUP party leader, Arlene Foster, is to join the news channel GB News, fronted by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, RTE reported. 

Foster said it would be an “opportunity” to bring Northern Ireland into the mainstream of UK politics. It marks the first major move of Arlene Foster’s career outside the DUP, having served as leader between 2015 after stepping down in May this year. It is not clear how often she intends to appear on the channel, however it is thought she will focus on politics and Northern Ireland. “It is very exciting to be here. First of all I see it as an opportunity to have a space for civilised discussion in a meaningful way,” she said. (Paula Kenny | EURACTIV.com)

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LONDON

UK hosts 51 countries for climate talks ahead of COP26. Britain hosts climate and environment ministers from 51 countries on Sunday (25 July) for “critical” climate talks ahead of November’s COP26 summit in Glasgow. Read the full story.


EUROPE’S SOUTH

ATHENS

Greece cancels award of honoured refugee rescuer. The last-minute cancellation of an award to be presented to Iasonas Apostolopoulos, a humanitarian worker who rescued migrants from the sea, at a ceremony for the anniversary of the restoration of Greece’s democracy has triggered strong reactions in Athens. Press reports suggest that right-wing politicians put pressure to remove his name from the award list. More.

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ROME

More than 50% of Italians fully vaccinated. 30 million Italians or 56% of the population have completed vaccination against COVID-19, based on data updated on Sunday. However, there are 4.8 million over 50s and 2.7 million young people between the ages of 12 and 19 who have not yet taken the first dose of vaccine. Read more.

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MADRID

Sánchez puts Spain ‘on the radar’ of US investors. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, believes that he has fulfilled the objective of his economic tour of the United States by putting Spain “on the radar” of investment funds for short- and medium-term business decisions, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.


VISEGRAD

WARSAW | BUDAPEST

Polish embassy didn’t sign letter of support for Budapest Pride parade. The Polish Embassy in Hungary did not sign a letter of support for Saturday’s Budapest Pride parade, making Poland one of five countries from across the EU that did not express support for Hungary’s LGBTQI+ community. Read more.

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PRAGUE

Czechia launches vaccination campaign among homeless people. Czech non-profit organisations, led by The Salvation Army, have begun a campaign to vaccinate the country’s homeless population against COVID-19, a programme which began in mid-July and is now expanding to other Czech cities. Read more.

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BRATISLAVA

Slovakia’s coalition eases law amendment, favouring those vaccinated. Slovakia’s National Council approved an amendment, allowing vaccinated citizens to avoid restrictions if the epidemiological situation in the country worsens. Read more.


NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

SOFIA

Almost 60% of the Bulgarians approve the caretaker cabinet. A poll of Bulgarians shows that 58.9% of approve of the caretaker government that has been in charge since May, while 28.8% expressed their disapproval, according to the latest findings of Gallup International Balkan’s monthly research programme, announced on Sunday. Read more.

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BELGRADE 

Indian-made Astrazeneca vaccine not recognised in EU. Several EU member states have refused to recognise the India made AstraZeneca vaccine administered in Serbia earlier this year, meaning that everyone who received it will also have to present a negative COVID-19 test or stay in quarantine upon entry into these countries. Read more.

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BELGRADE | SARAJEVO

Serbian FM: Preserving stability in Bosnia is unclear. In a comment on High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Valentin Inzko’s decision to impose a law prohibiting the denial of genocide, Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selaković said he thought Bosnia’s future was unclear. Read more.

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PODGORICA 

Japan interested in infrastructure financing in Montenegro. Montenegrin Finance Minister Milojko Spajić and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga have agreed to open embassies in Tokyo and Podgorica, and the visit of an economic delegation expected to radically improve the participation of the Japanese economy and investment in Montenegro.

“Infrastructure financing was one of the most specific topics,” Spajić wrote on Twitter following a meeting between the two politicians. He said that, as a scholarship holder of the Japanese government, he asked for more scholarships and help for the education of young people in Montenegro.

“Japan has already donated a lot of medical equipment, but we agreed that we can cooperate even better on that issue,” Spajić added. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)

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PRISTINA | ZAGREB

Ten Kosovo citizens killed in bus crash in Croatia. The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, arrived in Croatia to the site where a bus carrying passengers from Kosovo crashed, resulting in the death of 10 Kosovo citizens.  He met with Croatian PM Andrej Plenković who was also visiting the injured. The driver of the bus, which skidded off the road near Slavonski Brod (on the highway Zagreb-Belgrade) on Sunday morning, has been taken into custody after an on-the-scene investigation. Emergency services treated 44 passengers, of whom 15 are seriously injured, including a little girl, Croatian Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Sunday after visiting the site of the crash.  (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)


 

Agenda: 

  • Bulgaria: Bulgarian President Rumen Radev will pay a working visit to Salzburg at the invitation of Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen.
  • Croatia: The Hrvatske Vode water management company and the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service mark the beginning of a project aimed at improving flood risk management in Croatia. Regional Development and EU Funds Nataša Tramišak attends.
  • Serbia: Serbian FM NIkola Selaković starts a two day visit to Azerbaijan.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: RS (Republika Srpska, Serb BiH entity) National Assembly Speaker Nedjeljko Čubrilović will convene representatives of all political parties represented in the Assembly to agree on further steps regarding Inzko’s decision.
  • Kosovo: Vjosa Osmani, the President of Kosovo, has decided to declare Monday, 26 July, a day of mourning in the memory of Kosovo citizens who tragically lost their lives in a car accident in Croatia.
  • Italy: The President of the Draghi Council speaks at the high level event of the Pre-Summit of the Summit on Food Systems of the United Nations, hosted by the Italian government.
  • France: President Macron begins on an official trip to French Polynesia.

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[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Paula Kenny, Josie Le Blond]

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