Bulgaria’s political crisis dashes Skopje’s EU hopes

Bulgarian MEP Radan Kanev (Democratic Bulgaria, EPP) rejects the possibility of a caretaker government appointed by the president to give the final answer to Skopje. [Shutterstock/alexfan32]

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.

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In today’s news from the Capitals:


The ongoing political crisis in Bulgaria, which will have to hold its third parliamentary election in less than a year, leaves few chances that Sofia will lift its veto on the European integration of North Macedonia before the end of this year, politicians and analysts have told EURACTIV Bulgaria. Read more.



MEPs’ draft report on sustainable farming future sparks controversy. Lawmakers in the European Parliament’s agriculture and environmental committees have staked their preliminary position on the EU’s green farming ambitions, voting in favour of a draft report which includes a number of controversial amendments. More.


German conservatives cling to close municipal victory. Faced with historically low opinion polling figures, German conservatives led by chancellor hopeful Armin Laschet, were able to turn the tide and register a win in the municipal elections in Lower Saxony. Read more.



French government to double railway freight by 2030. As the French minister for Transports, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, announced on Monday, the French government will invest 170 million euros per year until 2024 in order to double the transport of goods by rail by the end of the decade. Read more.




Neil goes off air. The GB news channel, which has positioned itself as a conservative rival to the BBC and Sky News, suffered a major setback on Monday when its flagship presenter Andrew Neil resigned as chairman and lead presenter, just three months after the channel’s launch. Read more.



Ireland to extend COVID-19 wage subsidy program into 2022.  The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), introduced at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, provides employers whose turnover has been significantly hit by the crisis with a weekly subsidy to allow them to continue to pay their staff. Read more.




Far-right Salvini attacks the government he supports. The stabbing of five people – including a six-year-old – in the Italian coastal city of Rimini by a Somalian asylum seeker, has become the latest point of contention within the ruling coalition that supports the government of Mario Draghi. The growing tensions come amid a rise in the polls for both Matteo Salvini’s far-right Lega party as well as Giorgia Meloni’s opposition Brothers of Italy party. Read more.



Catalonia prepares for dialogue with Spain’s central government. Political contacts between Spain’s central government and Catalonia’s pro-independence executive are due to start on Thursday or Friday, with the two sides expressing opposing views on the prospects of independence for the prosperous Spanish region, a red line for Madrid, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reports. Read more.



Portugal: Over 130,000 teens vaccinated over weekend – task force. More than 130,000 young people aged 12 to 15 were vaccinated against COVID-19 over the weekend, the vast majority concluding their vaccination, announced the task force that coordinates the process on Monday. Read more.

Portugal: Top judge concerned about future of female colleagues in Afghanistan. The International Association of Judges (UIM) has alerted the international community and the respective governments to the “terrible problem” of Afghan women judges, whose lives are in danger under the new Taliban regime in the country, the UIM president said on Monday. Read more.




Czech agriculture ministry: Nutri-score will discriminate against traditional food. Czechia’sagricultural ministry is against the “Nutri-score”, a label system converting the nutritional value of food into an overall A-E score. According to the ministry, Nutri-score is too simplistic because it does not consider the size of portion and general food composition. Read more.



Poland free of Gazprom gas. On the eve of inaugurating the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, the Polish plenipotentiary for energy infrastructure, Piotr Naimski, has confirmed that Poland will become independent of the Russian gas supplies from 2023.

Naimski was hopeful about the prospects for the Baltic Pipe gas pipeline to be fully operational as of 1 October 2022. “We will not extend the contract with the Russian Gazprom”, he added at a press conference. Read more.



Prime minister Heger apologised for wartime Jewish Code. Slovak Prime minister Eduard Heger and his cabinet apologised for the Order on the Legal Status of Jews, also known as the Jewish Code, legislation adopted by the Nazi-allied wartime Slovak state that existed from 1939 until 1945. Read more.




Merkel says Kosovo issue must be closed before Serbia joins EU. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Belgrade on 13 September that Serbia had progressed in reforms, but both Serbia and the entire region still had a long way to go in their EU membership bid. Read more.



Right-wing parties start campaign against euro in Croatia. Croatian Sovereignists, a radical right political party, have said they will not give up on the national kuna currency without a democratic fight. Read more.



Ciolos tells von der Leyen USR PLUS remains committed to reforms. USR PLUS remains committed to the reforms included in the governing program although its representatives have left the government, said Dacian Ciolos, co-president of the party. Read more.



PM in favour of opening KLA archives. Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti has supported the idea of opening of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) archives. Kurti says opening the archives would help solve the fate of those who went missing during the 1998-1999 war in Kosovo, Gazeta Express reportedThe prime minister said Kosovo has nothing to hide.  “There is no state as transparent as Kosovo,” he said.

Kurti said Serbia had started four wars and committed genocide in Bosnia and Kosovo, and the truth should be finally be established about who had given the orders for committing these crimes. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)


  • Belgium/EU: European Commission to unveil proposal for new health agency.
  • France: President Emmanuel Macron will close the national debate on security (the “Beauvau de la sécurité”) during a visit to the French national police school at Roubaix.
  • Greece: The platform of appointments for vaccination against Covid-19 with a third dose opens today. Approximately 285,000 citizens are eligible for a third shot.
  • North Macedonia: Prime Minister Zoran Zaev to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel
  • Albania: German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits Tirana, where she will hold a meeting with Prime Minister Edi Rama.
  • Portugal: The official campaign for the local elections, to be held on 26 September, begins today for more than two dozen parties and more than 60 citizens’ groups.


[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Zoran Radosavljevic]

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