EU capitals mull seizing Russia-linked energy assets

On Friday (13 May), Democratic Bulgaria party co-leader Hristo Ivanov called for the “deputinisation” of political and economic life in Bulgaria. [Shutterstock/fortton]

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In today’s news from the Capitals:

SOFIA | BERLIN | ROME 

From Sofia to Berlin, governments are contemplating expropriating, nationalising and otherwise seizing energy infrastructure owned by Russia-linked companies. Read more.

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OFF THE RECORD

EU diplomat: ‘We are reaching our limits with sanctions against Russia’. “If there was such a mess with Russia’s oil, imagine what would happen with a proposal to ban gas”, an EU diplomat told EURACTIV after the end of the EU foreign ministers meeting on Monday. Read more.

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EU INSTITUTIONS

Europe needs screening to kill its number one killer, stakeholders say. The pandemic should be seen as a wake-up call for EU policymakers to take a more focused approach toward cardiovascular diseases (CVD), Europe’s number one killer, as patients have already paid a heavy price due to COVID-19, stakeholders warned. Read more.

LEAK: EU countries urged to prepare for Russian gas ‘supply shock’. In a policy document due to be adopted on Wednesday (18 May), the European Commission urges EU member states to step up preparations for a “full disruption of Russian gas supplies” by considering emergency measures like a temporary cap on gas prices. Read more.

PARIS

Macron’s new prime minister pick gets mixed reactions. President Emmanuel Macron appointed Labour Minister Elisabeth Borne as prime minister on Monday – an appointment other political parties have been quick to criticise. Read more.

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BERLIN

German government grapples with state election aftermath. Germany’s three-party coalition struggled to regain composure on Monday after two governing parties faced crushing losses in an important state election on Sunday. Read more.

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VIENNA

Austria lifts COVID-19 entry requirements. Entering Austria no longer requires proof of vaccination, recovery passes, or testing after all COVID-19-related entry requirements were dropped from Monday. Read more.

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THE HAGUE

Dutch could face autumn lockdown as government unprepared. The Dutch may have to lockdown again in autumn as the government has not prepared an effective strategy in case another COVID-19 wave hits the country, Dutch media NOS reports. Read more.


UK AND IRELAND

DUBLIN 

‘Unacceptable’ to block NI executive, says Irish PM.  It is “unacceptable” that an executive should be prevented from forming in Northern Ireland, said Irish Taoiseach Micheál Martin on Monday, as the leader of Sinn Fein, which won the recent elections, visited Dublin. Read more.


NORDICS AND BALTICS

HELSINKI

Finland tells Turkey NATO membership cannot be traded. Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto from the Green Party played down fears that Turkey could block Finland’s NATO membership during a parliamentary debate on NATO on Monday, saying his country would not be a safe haven for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in exchange for membership. Read more.

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VILNIUS

Cyberattacks in Lithuania surged when war in Ukraine began. The number of cyberattacks in Lithuania increased significantly at the end of February following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  Read more.


EUROPE’S SOUTH

MADRID

Former King to return home after exile. Former Spanish King Juan Carlos I expressed his will to return to his homeland by the end of May, sources close to the ex-monarch told Spanish private radio station Onda Cero on Monday. Read more.

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LISBON

Portugal’s Costa rules out constitutional review on new metadata access law. Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa on Monday ruled out a constitutional revision for a new legal framework in Portugal on access to metadata by security forces. Read more.


VISEGRAD 

PRAGUE

Czechia to set up new state energy trader for cheap supplies. The Czech Republic wants to establish a new “state energy trader” that would secure cheap energy supplies for the state and replace the private companies currently in charge of purchasing gas and other fuels. Read more.

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WARSAW

Poland to soon receive EU recovery funds after striking deal with Commission. The Polish government has reached an agreement with the EU over the national Recovery Plan, paving the way for Poland to finally obtain money from the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced. Read more.

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BUDAPEST

Orban’s re-election wishes cause backlash. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was reelected by the country’s legislature for a fourth consecutive term on Monday amid social media backlash for EU leaders’ congratulations. Read more.

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BRATISLAVA |  WARSAW

Gazprom did not reserve gas transit capacity for June via Slovakia, Poland. Gazprom decided not to renew its capacity share via the Yamal gas pipeline that runs through Poland nor the capacity transit via Slovakia for June, Czech press agency ČTK reported based on their findings of the results of an energy auction. Read more. 


NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

SOFIA | ATHENS

Bulgarian network connected to gas interconnector with Greece. The Bulgarian-Greek gas connection in Stara Zagora, which is already connected with the national gas transmission network of the Bulgarian state-owned company Bulgartransgaz, has successfully passed the pneumatic tests for strength, tightness and gas metering, ICGB, the company working on the project, announced on Monday. Read more.

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BUCHAREST

Romanian Socialist leader speaks about fiscal code changes. Romania’s government should introduce several fiscal changes by the end of this month so they can be taken into account for next year’s budget, Marcel Ciolacu, the leader of the Socialist Party PSD, said on Monday. Read more.

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LJUBLJANA 

Slovenian coalition agreement hints at foreign policy break. Slovenia’s incoming leftist government plans a break from the foreign policy pursued by the current conservative government, according to a coalition agreement finalised by the three prospective coalition partners over the weekend. Read more.

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BELGRADE 

Belgrade receives bomb threats in over 100 schools. Dozens of Schools, a public building in downtown Belgrade, and the airport in the southern city of Niš were evacuated following bomb threats on Monday morning. Read more.

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SARAJEVO 

Bosnia on its ‘last chance’ for EU candidate status, says foreign minister. The Western Balkan country was seeing secessionist steps taken by one of its two entities and the status of the EU candidate could be “its last chance,” said Bosnia’s Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovi, painting a gloomy picture of her deeply dysfunctional country to her EU counterparts on Monday. Read more.

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TIRANA

Albania pledges to meet Green Deal organic farming targets by 2030. Albania is confident it can reach the European Green Deal target of 25% of agricultural land under organic farming by 2030 without negatively impacting farmers or consumers during the transition, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Frida Krifca said. Read more.


AGENDA:

  • EU: Commissioner Mariya Gabriel will deliver opening speech at Tech.eu Summit
  • Commissioner Ylva Johansson in New York, gives an address at the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF)
  • Commissioner Vice-President Dubravka Šuica participates in the AFCO Committee on the topic: “First Expected results of the Conference on the Future of Europe”
  • Germany; FM Annalena Baerbock and Danish FM Jeppe Kofod give press conference
    Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Liechtenstein PM Daniel Risch address press conference
  • Switzerland: WHO virtual press conference on Covid-19 and other global issues
  • The Netherlands: Ukrainian FM Dmytro Kuleba visits
  • UK: Protest against the extradition of Julian Assange outside offices of Home Secretary Priti Patel
  • Spain-Morocco: Borders of Ceuta and Melilla with Morocco reopen for nationals of Schengen countries
  • Spain: Spanish government set to approve bill on “menstrual leave”
    Emir of Qatar Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani conducts a state visit
  • Greece: Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis addresses Congress
  • Czech Republic: PM Petr Fiala and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer hold press conference

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[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson]

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