China’s Cosco under fire after fatal accident in Piraeus port

Following pressure by creditors for privatisations in terms of Greece’s bailout programme, 51% of Piraeus port was sold to Cosco in 2016. [EPA-EFE/YANNIS KOLESIDIS]

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.


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


In today’s news from the Capitals:

ATHENS

Cosco employees have gone on a 24-hour strike after an accident at a container pier in Piraeus port cost the life of a 45-year-old worker. The Chinese company now controls 67% of one of Europe’s largest ports, but several questions have arisen about working conditions and environmental credentials. Read more.

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EU INSTITUTIONS

Commission dismisses calls for more transparency in drafting CAP plans. The European Commission has dismissed calls for more transparency in drafting the Common Agricultural Policy strategic plans, saying an excessive focus on this risks overburdening the process and missing the big picture. Read more.

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EU PRESIDENCY

SIRENE bureau heads discuss changes to SIS in informal meeting. An informal meeting of the heads of the national SIRENE bureaus, responsible for the operation of national segments of the Schengen Information System (SIS), is taking place in Slovenia on Tuesday and Wednesday. Particular emphasis will be put on the new features of the SIS, the Slovenian police have announced. Read more.

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BERLIN

German ministry: Nord Stream 2 not a supply security issue. The ministry of economy and energy, led by caretaker minister Peter Altmaier, has completed its long-awaited analysis of the potential impacts of certifying the Gazprom pipeline Nord Stream 2, concluding that the pipeline does “not jeopardise the security of gas supply” of Germany and the EU. Read more.

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PARIS

Inflation to hit French baguette as energy and wheat prices soar. The emblematic French loaf might see its price increase by 5 to 10 cents due to rising energy prices and this year’s difficult weather conditions in Europe, Canada, Russia, and the US, which drove wheat prices to their highest level since 2012. Read more.

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VIENNA

Austrian defence minister calls on EU to deliver on security. Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner announced a turning point in Austrian military spending with increased investments in defence autarky and the military’s ‘ecologisation’. She also used the occasion to criticise the European Union. Read more.

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BRUSSELS

Belgium tightens coronavirus rules again as new infections soar. Belgium has reinstated the requirement to wear masks in indoor public spaces and the strong recommendation to work from home, following a 109% increase in new coronavirus infections in the past fortnight. EURACTIV’s partner Bulletin reports.


UK AND IRELAND

DUBLIN 

Irish climate council proposes carbon budgets for next decade. Ireland’s Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) has unveiled two five-year carbon budgets with the overall aim of reducing the country’s carbon emissions by 51% by 2030. Read more.


NORDICS AND BALTICS

HELSINKI

Increasing number of Finns see Russia as threat, support NATO membership. While about 60% of Finns consider Russia a military threat and 45% hold a negative opinion of the country, support to join NATO has also seen a slight increase, a survey by The Business Finnish and Policy Forum (EVA) think tank reveals. Read more.


EUROPE’S SOUTH

ROME

Criminality Index: Italy sees rise in cybercrime. According to data provided by national police forces to Sole 24 Ore for its yearly Criminality Index, serious crimes decreased by 17.4% in Italy throughout the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2019. Read more.

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MADRID

Nine EU countries reject Franco-Spanish push for electricity reforms. Nine EU states, including Germany, on Monday (25 October) rejected a French-led bid to reform Europe’s wholesale energy markets as prices soar. Read more.

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LISBON

Portuguese PM Costa calls for compromise, no reason to end left-wing government. The government wants to continue the budget negotiations with the left and asked for a spirit of compromise, Prime Minister António Costa said on Tuesday. Nothing justifies putting an end to the governing coalition that took office in 2016, he added. Read more.


VISEGRAD 

PRAGUE

New Czech government mulls appointment of EU minister. The upcoming government of the conservative coalition of SPOLU, the Pirate Party (Greens) and Mayors & Independents (EPP) would like to create the position of EU affairs minister to coordinate the EU agenda which the prime minister’s office previously managed. Read more.

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WARSAW

PiS government reshuffle. Four new ministers joined Mateusz Morawiecki’s government on Tuesday, while a fifth minister changed portfolios. Read more.

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BUDAPEST

Orban, Le Pen talk alliance in Budapest. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán welcomed French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen in the Hungarian capital on Tuesday and thanked France’s far-right candidate for standing by Hungary during the repeated “attempts to crucify us several times in the last few years in the European Parliament.” Read more.

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BRATISLAVA

COVID conspiracy theories impact Slovakia’s vaccination rate. Conspiracy theories about COVID-19 are popular in Slovakia. They are significantly affecting the vaccination rate in the country, which is the third-lowest in the EU after Bulgaria and Romania, a recent poll carried out by the Slovak Academy of Sciences shows. Read more.


NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

SARAJEVO 

US envoy to press for long-delayed reforms in Bosnia. Washington has sent a special envoy to Bosnia and Herzegovina to help with a long-delayed electoral and constitutional reform in the Balkan country, against the backdrop of heightened tensions among its Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs. Read more.

BiH parliamentary officials seek urgent reaction from US, EU over crisis. The speakers of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s two houses of parliament sent a joint letter to the EU, the Council of Europe and US institutions seeking resolute action by the international community to stop plans for secession announced by the Serb member of the country’s Presidency, Milorad Dodik. Read more.

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SOFIA

Bulgarians can only have biological sex, but not gender. The term “sex” in the Constitution should be understood only in its biological sense, according to the long-awaited interpretative decision of the Bulgarian Constitutional Court (CC), which was called upon to resolve the issue of the concept of terms “sex” and “gender” in the country. Read more.

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BUCHAREST

Romgaz buys half of Black Sea deepwater gas project. Romanian state-run natural gas producer Romgaz says it has reached an agreement with ExxonMobil to buy its share in an offshore perimeter in the Black Sea, where significant gas discoveries have been made. Read more.

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LJUBLJANA 

Special police task force to investigate death threats to Slovenian politicians. Police have formed a special task force that will investigate death threats to Slovenia’s top officials and MPs after letters with bullets in them were mailed to several top politicians this week. Read more.

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BELGRADE | BAKU

Azerbaijan adds Serbian made anti-aircraft guns seized from Armenia to national armament.  Anti-aircraft guns made in Serbia’s arms factory Zastava Oruzje in Kragujevac, which Azerbaijan seized during the recent war in Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenian forces, have been added to Azerbaijan’s national armaments and displayed at a recently held joint military drill with Turkey. Read more.

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PRISTINA 

Kosovo government to tackle country’s rising food prices. Rising food prices in Kosovo will be countered by a package of government measures, according to Prime Minister Albin Kurti on Tuesday (26 October). Read more.


AGENDA

  • EU: EU unveils reform to bank capital rules
  • Germany: SPD, FDP, Greens leaders negotiate government coalition deal / Chancellor Merkel receives Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin in Berlin.
  • France: President Macron will have a working lunch at the Elysée palace with his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda.
  • Belgium: French, Flemish far-right party leaders attend the launch of Wallonian counterpart ‘Chez Nous’. 
  • UK: Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans meets with China’s Special Envoy on Climate Change in London / Court hears US appeal against UK refusal to extradite WikiLeaks’ whistleblower Assange.
  • Greece: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visits Athens.
  • Portugal: Parliament votes on draft 2022 budget.
  • Poland: Senate votes on a new wall along the border with Belarus. President Andrzej Duda meets Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
  • Romania: President Klaus Iohannis visits Egypt, where he will meet President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
  • Croatia: President Zoran Milanović hosts Maltese President George Vella for talks. Prime Minister Andrej Plenković submits an annual government report to parliament.
  • Serbia: Chinese Foreign Minister Vang Ji is visiting Serbia to meet with Prime Minister Ana Brnabić and Speaker Ivica Dačić.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Angelina Eichhorst, the Managing Director of the European External Actions Service (EEAS) and US Special Envoy for Electoral Reform in BiH, Matthew Palmer, are coming for talks about reforms

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[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]

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