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IMPRESSIVE EU high-level event on 27 October 2021!
The European news you deserve to read. Welcome to The Capitals by EURACTIV.
In today’s news from the Capitals:
Europe is not prepared for a new migrant wave, said Croatian Interior Minister Davor Božinović, rejecting allegations that Croatian police were doing Europe’s dirty work. Read more.
Leftist MEP: Slovenian PM Janša is a “coward”. Slovenia’s Prime Minister Janez Janša has been called a “coward” by a leftist MEP because he does not dare to be asked questions by EU lawmakers about the rule of law in his country. Read more.
Germany concludes Afghanistan deployment with great tattoo. Given Germany’s complicated history with foreign military interventions, its commitment to the Afghanistan intervention in 2002 and the almost 20 years spent abroad that followed was surprising. Read more.
Finance minister: ‘France 2030’ will help create ‘tens of thousands of jobs”. Asked to comment on the investment plan presented by President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire promised it would generate €45 billion of additional wealth and thousands of jobs. Read more.
Austrian opposition launches ÖVP-corruption investigation committee. The opposition parties reached an agreement on Wednesday to launch a parliamentary investigation committee to scrutinise corruption in the conservative ÖVP party. The move comes after anti-corruption authorities started investigating former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz over graft allegations. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
UN job for disgraced Hancock. Former Health minister Matt Hancock has been given a role with the United Nations as a special representative, just months after being forced to resign in disgrace for breaking social distancing rules by kissing a colleague.
Hancock’s new role, which is unpaid and will see him remain as an MP, will be as “UN special representative on financial innovation and climate change for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa”. Despite a mixed record in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UN Secretary-General Vera Songwe, praised Hancock for the pace of the UK’s vaccination programme. (Benjamin Fox | EURACTIV.com)
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Finnish forest companies inspected for suspected EU antitrust violations. The European Commission is inspecting several Finnish forestry firms to ascertain whether some have pursued cartels or other restrictive business practices. Read more.
Danish man suspected of killing five with bow-and-arrow in Norway. A 37-year-old Danish citizen is suspected of killing five people in a bow-and-arrow attack in the Norwegian town of Kongsberg in a rare incident of mass killing in Norway, police said. Read more.
Greece and Egypt sign deal on ‘mega’ electricity cable. Greece and Egypt are set to sign on Thursday a preliminary deal to build a large electricity cable connecting the two countries. It will be the first such agreement between Europe and Africa in the southeastern Mediterranean. Read more.
Italian workers without health passes will not be fired, or paid. A new decree signed by Prime Minister Mario Draghi provides new details about COVID-19 health passes that will be mandatory for every public and private sector worker in Italy from Friday (15 October). Anyone who has been vaccinated, has recently recovered from COVID, or has tested negative within the previous 48 hours has a right to the pass. Read more.
Spanish ‘social’ budget for 2022 starts its final parliamentary journey. Finance Minister María Jesús Montero presented the draft budget for 2022 on Wednesday, a move that set in motion the parliamentary journey of the second budget of the governing coalition, formed by the socialist party (PSOE), and left-wing Unidas Podemos (United We Can). Read the full story.
Possible defeat of 2022 budget would “most likely” lead to general election. President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa warned on Wednesday (13 October) that a possible defeat of the State Budget for 2022 would “most likely” lead to the dissolution of parliament and early elections. Read more.
Major Czech power company shut down due to soaring gas prices. Bohemia Energy, one of the largest energy suppliers in Czechia, announced an immediate shut down due to soaring natural gas and electricity prices. The company has been supplying energy to around 900,000 customers. Read more.
Hungarian government moves to lock in controversial prosecutor behind two-thirds majority. The country’s chief prosecutor, a post currently occupied by a figure often accused of pro-government bias, could only be removed with a two-thirds parliamentary majority, a new bill submitted by Justice Minister Judit Varga proposed on Wednesday. Read more.
Slovakia to avert energy crisis in Ukraine. Ukraine is in danger of being cut off from Russian gas supplies, which could lead to another energy crisis. The European Commission wants to secure stable supplies for it in the future, with help from Slovakia, by increasing the capacity of reverse gas flow and supplying to Ukraine. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
SOFIA | SKOPJE
Macedonian Bulgarians call on Sofia to be firm with Skopje. Macedonian Bulgarian organisations have called on Bulgaria not to give up its strong stance on North Macedonia and allow it to start EU accession talks once equality, language and history issues have been resolved. Read more.
PM-designate Ciolos holds inconclusive coalition talks with party heads. Prime minister-designate Dacian Ciolos met on Wednesday the chiefs of the parties that could form the next government coalition. Read more.
BELGRADE | PRISTINA
Vucic: Serbia to restrain Pristina if EU can not. Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said on Wednesday, during the meeting with the Serbs from Kosovo in Raška, that he had told the EU’s special representative for the Belgrade-Pristina negotiations, Miroslav Lajčak, “to restrain Pristina, and if they are not capable – we will restrain them.” Read more.
Croat, Bosniak leaders agree that country is in its worst crisis since end of war. Dragan Čović, leader of the biggest Croatian HDZ BiH party, and Bakir Izetbegović, leader of the biggest Bosniak Party of Democratic Action (SDA), discussed changes to the country’s election law without reaching an agreement. Read more.
Montenegro’s state debt expected to fall for the first time since independence. Government debt, without deposits and debt of municipalities, amounted to €4.05 billion at the end of August, or 87.37% of GDP, according to preliminary data from the finance and social welfare ministry. Read more.
US diplomat asks Albanian prosecutors to investigate mass citizen data breach. US Ambassador to Albania Yuri Kim has called on prosecutors to investigate any breach of citizens’ privacy following the mass publication of personal data before April’s general elections. Read more.
- EU: European Parliament questions chair of ECB Supervisory Board, Andrea Enria / EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell meets with officials in Washington for the first time since President Joe Biden took office / Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski delivers opening speech at Farm to Fork Conference in Brussels.
- France: Prime Minister Jean Castex will take part in an inter-ministerial committee on Europe, dedicated to Justice and Internal Affairs.
- Belgium: Pre-trial hearing for alleged accomplices in November 2015 Paris attacks takes place.
- Austria: European Commission President von der Leyen receives new Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg.
- Italy: Commissioner Vera Jourová meets with Italian representatives in Rome on Thursday and Friday.
- Czechia: The health risk council will discuss rising numbers of covid-19 cases, the Health Ministry will present a new strategy.
- Romania: Interim government holds its weekly meeting. Approval of an EIB loan worth €305 million for a regional hospital is on the agenda.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]