Budapest signs deal with Gazprom, Kyiv ‘disappointed’

Hungary's MVM Zrt. signed a long-term gas purchase contract with Russia's Gazprom [EPA-EFE/ANDREJ CUKIC]

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In today’s news from the Capitals:


Hungary signed a fifteen-year gas purchase contract with Russia’s Gazprom bypassing Ukraine. This angered Kyiv who said it will turn to the EU Commission for a solution. Read more.



Russia’s Navalny nominated for the European Parliament Sakharov Prize. Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was nominated on Monday for the European Parliament’s annual human rights prize as European Union lawmakers sought to keep the public spotlight on his pro-democracy network, which has been banned in Russia. Read more.



German socialists to hold coalition talks. “We will hold coalition talks with the parties and not in the papers,” Social Democrat chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz told German TV on Monday as his party came out as the ahead of long-time rival, the conservative CDU/CSU Union, for the first time in decades. Read more.



French right-wing Les Republicains to choose Presidential candidate. Right-wing party Les Républicains (LR) has announced it will select its candidate for the 2022 presidential elections with members voting during a congress, party president Christian Jacob announced on Saturday. Read more.




UK Labour party ‘more divided than ever’.The Labour party, currently in opposition, is facing more internal strife after employment spokesman Andy McDonald quit on Tuesday, accusing party leader Keir Starmer of making Labour “more divided than ever”. Read more.



Ireland seeks calm amidst corporate tax uncertainty. Irish Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has landed in Washington DC for a series of talks on trade and commerce as international scrutiny grows over whether or not the country will raise its corporate tax rate. Read more.



Finnish children in Syrian refugee camp given access to distance learning facilities. Finnish children in the al-Hol refugee camp in Syria can now take part in distance-learning in Finnish through their mothers’ telephones. Read more.



Swedish electric carmaker Polestar to go public. Electric car maker Polestar, controlled by Sweden’s Volvo Cars and its Chinese owner Geely, said on Monday plans to go public in a stock market debut that could value it at around $20 billion (€17 billion). Read more.



Public prosecutor to investigate Salvini’s social media guru. On Monday, Italy’s public prosecutor said that it would be investigating Luca Morisi for the sale and possession of “liquid drugs” after he resigned from his position as Matteo Salvini’s social media strategist. Read more.



La Palma volcano still spewing lava and smoke after brief pause. The Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma in the Canary Islands was still spewing lava and smoke, the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute (Involcan) said, after a brief hiatus in activity on Monday morning. Read more.



Portuguese ombudsman calls for regularising migrants with cases pending at the SEF. The ombudsman appealed on Monday for Portugal to regularise the situation of immigrants living in the country who have cases pending at the Frontiers and Border Services, known as the SEF. Read more.



Czechia will send 50 police officers to guard the Hungary-Serbia border. After talks between Czech and Hungarian Prime Ministers, the government approved their deployment in Hungary on Monday. Read more.



Three Polish regions repeal ‘LGBT-free zone’ declarations. Three more regions cancelled their anti-LGBT declarations under the Commission’s threat to take away recovery funds. The Atlas of Hate marks those regions now as “green”. The European Commission will assess the new wording of revised declarations before greenlighting the recovery support to the regions. Read more.



Slovaks’ fear of vaccines is higher than solidarity. The low vaccination rate in Slovakia is mainly the fear of the vaccine, a new study published by the Slovak Academy of Sciences shows. Read more.



Quint ambassadors call for de-escalation in Kosovo. The ambassadors of the informal Quint decision-making group – including France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States – have urged for a “de-escalation of the crisis” in northern Kosovo. The request came in a Monday meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić in Belgrade, his office said in a press release. Read more.



Bulgarian businesses can not get aid for electricity bills quickly due to political crisis. The Bulgarian government has decided to give €25 per MWh to all companies in the country as compensation for rising electricity prices. Still, the political crisis has blocked the implementation of this decision. Read more.



European Commission greenlights Romania’s recovery. The European Commission finally endorsed Romania’s €29.2 billion recovery and resilience plan after months of negotiations. Read more.



Milanovic: Croatia has authority from Prevlaka to Savudrija for first time in history. Croatia has authority from the Prevlaka Peninsula to Savudrija Bay in the north, said President Zoran Milanović in Split, noting that it is a great responsibility that justifies a defence budget that should remain at pre-pandemic levels. Read more.



In Slovenia, vaccine hesitancy persists. Slovenia has been among the EU’s laggards regarding vaccination uptake. The sentiment is prevailing despite a Covid pass mandate that requires individuals to be vaccinated, recovered or tested to access virtually all services. Read more.



Serb officials to end boycott of BiH government because of money. Bosnian Serb ministers will end their boycott of the BiH Council of Ministers since there is no other way to resolve problems such as paying thousands of employees in state administration their wage, Council of Ministers Chairman Zoran Tegeltija (Serb) said on Monday. Read more.



OSCE, UNODC organise course on countering terrorist financing. A three-day training course aimed at further strengthening the capacity of North Macedonia to counter terrorist financing was organised by the OSCE’s Transnational Threats Department and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in cooperation with the OSCE Mission to Skopje and with the financial support of the United States. Read more. 


  • Germany: ECB annual forum on central banking takes place in Frankfurt.
  • France: President Emmanuel Macron is to give a speech to close the national conference on mental health and psychiatry.
  • Spain: Government to declare on Tuesday La Palma, in the Canary Islands, a “disaster area”. The socialist executive will approve emergency funding to help rebuild homes and property.
  • Italy: UN Climate Change Youth Summit, with a speech by Greta Thunberg, and Pre-COP26 preparatory meeting takes place in Milan.
  • Poland: Last of five regions (Łódzkie) is expected to change its anti-LGBT declaration.
  • Balkans: A conference of the chiefs of staff of the armed forces of the US-Adriatic Charter member states. Members are the US, Croatia, BiH, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania.


[Edited by Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]

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