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In today’s news from the Capitals:
Ever since the resignation of Sebastian Kurz as Chancellor of Austria, and his replacement with Alexander Schallenberg, the opposition has claimed that Kurz will continue to act as a ‘shadow chancellor’ and will pull the strings behind the scenes. Read more.
Slovenian presidency reaches agreement on expanded EMA mandate. The Slovenian presidency of the EU Council and negotiators of the European Parliament have reached a temporary agreement on an enhanced role of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in preparedness for crises and in crisis management in the field of drugs and medicinal accessories, the Health Ministry announced on Thursday. More.
Left coalition launches referendum campaign against Swiss contribution to Frontex budget. A coalition of social democrats, greens, and NGOs have announced the launch of a referendum against the Swiss contribution to the Frontex budget that the Swiss parliament recently voted to increase substantially. Read more.
Volkswagen delays investment decisions amid ongoing chip shortage. Volkswagen, one of Germany’s largest car manufacturer companies, has announced that it will delay a decision on its five-year investment plan planned for 12 November to December, as its turnover fell in the third quarter. Read more.
Thierry Breton visits French ministries ahead of country’s EU presidency. The European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, began a two-day visit to Paris on Thursday. He is due to meet several members of the French executive ahead of the rotating Council presidency, which it will assume in January. Read the full story.
UK AND IRELAND
UK summons French Ambassador as fishing row continues. UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has summoned the French Ambassador as a row over fishing licences in the Channel continues to flare. Read more.
Irish government calls for feedback on Well-being Framework plan. Dublin has announced the launch of a “public conversation” on its proposed Well-being Framework, calling for feedback on the plan. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
OSLO | MOSCOW
Lavrov launches charm campaign in Norway. Russia is searching for closer security cooperation with Norway, even if NATO is not a friend of Russia, said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on his visit to Tromsø in northern Norway. According to him, “continued consultations” between ministries of defence are on the agenda. Read more.
Italian council of ministers greenlight 2022 budget law. After a three-hour meeting, the Italian government headed by Mario Draghi announced the measures that will be introduced in the 2022 budget law on Thursday. Read more.
Merkel’s last visit to Greece after years of troubled relations. Angela Merkel is paying her last visit to Greece as Germany’s Chancellor after years of tense relations mainly due to a bailout that almost led to a Grexit. Speaking to EURACTIV.com on condition of anonymity, a Greek former minister explained what Merkel believes about the Greek politicians who dealt with all these years. Read more.
Spanish inflation rate hits 29-year record high as job market continues to recover. Inflation in Spain hit a record high of 5.5% in October, mainly propelled by high electricity and fuel prices not seen in the Iberian country since 1992 new data released on Thursday by the National Statistics Institute (INE) states. Read more.
Orbán makes U–turn on mandatory vaccination. Employers will have the right to require workers to get the COVID jab despite earlier comments by the Hungarian Prime Minister that obligatory vaccinations would not work. Read more.
European association of judges ENCJ expels Poland’s National Judicial Council (KRS). The European Network of Councils for Judiciary expelled the National Judicial Council (KRS) on Thursday during a meeting in Vilnius. Three years ago, the KRS was suspended due to problems with the rule of law in Poland. Read more.
Law expert: Some EU countries engulfed by authoritarian populism. Post-communist democracies like Hungary and Poland are more politically vulnerable and exploitable, Czech law expert and Cardiff University professor Jiří Přibáň has said. Read more.
EU Commission to look into Slovakia’s draconian marijuana laws. The European Commission has agreed to investigate the strict punishment for marijuana use in Slovakia after Slovak MEP Michal Šimečka (PS/Renew) called for an investigation in September. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Former PМ Borissov accused of spreading faке news about vaccines. Health Minister Stoycho Katsarov accused former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov of spreading fakе news that expired vaccines are being administered in Bulgaria. Read more.
EU ministers give Romania’s recovery plan their blessing. EU finance ministers greenlighted Romania’s recovery and resilience plan, opening the door for the disbursement of about €3.8 billion by the end of the year. Read more.
Croatian government’s draft 2021 budget includes 4.5% deficit. The government’s draft budget revision for 2021 raises the general government budget deficit from the previously estimated 3.8% to 4.5%. It also foresees a 3 billion kuna (€400 million) rise in revenue and a 6 billion kuna (€800 million) rise in expenditure, with the debt to GDP ratio expected to be 83.1%. Read more.
In other news, EU lawyers to soon be allowed to open branches, provide services in Croatia. Lawyers from EU countries will in future be able to open branches in Croatia and provide legal services, including consulting on Croatian law; the government has proposed amendments to the State Attorney’s Office Act.
The government sent a bill of amendments to the Sabor (Croatian Parliament) to align the law with the European acquis by transposing seven European Parliament and European Council directives into Croatia’s legal system.
The amendments and supplements will enable lawyers from EU countries to provide legal services in Croatia, Justice and Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica said. The bill also regulates electronic signatures. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)
Chinese FM: Friendship with Serbia stable and unbreakable. The friendship between China and Serbia is stable and unbreakable, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a joint news conference on Thursday after meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić. Read more.
BiH at centre of diplomatic activities. “BiH’s path from Dayton to Brussels leads to reforms including step-by-step electoral legislation and economic reforms that will benefit all citizens,” said US Western Balkan Special Envoy Gabriel Escobar at the Subcommittee: Europe, Energy, the Environment and Cyber in the House of Representatives. Read more.
US cooperates with Montenegrin state, not political parties. The United States has made it clear that its partnership with Montenegro is with the state, not with any political party, US Western Balkans Envoy Gabriel Escobar said. Read more.
Kosovo prime minister receives death threat. Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti received a death threat on Wednesday, leading to increased security for him and his family.
Prosecutors and authorities are currently investigating the threat, according to government spokesperson Preparim Kryeziu. He added that Kurti would continue with his schedule, but no more details were made public regarding the situation.
Rally for Kosovo war rape victims held in New York. Hundreds of women and allies marched in New York on Thursday to demand justice for the survivors of unpunished rapes carried out by Serbian forces during the Kosovo war.
Survivor Vasfije Krasniqi organised the march under the name of her organisation Rally for Her Justice. Simultaneously, small rallies took place outside the Serbian embassy in Tirana, Albania, to show solidarity with 20,000 ethnic Albanian women, girls, and men who were sexually assaulted during the 1998-1999 war. (EURACTIV.com)
- EU: European Court of Auditors to publish its annual financial audit report on the EU’s agencies.
- Germany: Caretaker Chancellor Merkel and her likely successor Scholz will attend the G20 summit in Rome this weekend in a display of the German ideal of continuity.
- France: President Macron is to meet his American counterpart, Joe Biden, whom he has not seen since the AUKUS submarine debacle.
- UK: Climate activists protest in City of London financial hub ahead of COP26 / Commission Vice-President Sefcovic in London for a meeting with the head of the EU-UK Joint Committee on the Withdrawal Agreement.
- Italy: G20 summit and protests, as well as meeting of G20 health and finance ministers.
- Greece: German Chancellor Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis hold a press conference after talks in Athens.
- Croatia: The “Conference on the future of Europe: Young people in tourism” will be held as part of Croatian Tourism Days.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]