EU Commissioner: Deal on migration pact expected after French elections

Schinas also lashed out against those who fight against the migration pact saying it is in the interest of centre-right and centre-left forces to back the deal. [EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ]

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In today’s news from the Capitals:


A final deal on Europe’s new migration pact could be reached right after the French presidential elections due next year, EU Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas told EURACTIV Greece in an exclusive interview. Read more.



Scholz and Baerbock close ranks in final German election debate. During Germany’s third and final televised election debate, Social Democrat candidate Olaf Scholz and the Greens’ Annalena Baerbock stood together against conservative candidate Armin Laschet on most issues. EU policy, meanwhile, was again sidelined from the debate. Read the full story.



French FM calls on Europeans to unite on submarine deal. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian repeated his anger and disappointment over the “major breach of trust” between France, Australia, and the US and called for greater unity within the European bloc, after Australia scrapped a submarine order with Paris in favour of a deal with Washington and London. Read more.



Austria’s opposition slams Kurz over stance on Hungary, Poland. The opposition in parliament has condemned Chancellor Sebastian Kurz for having called for greater fairness towards Poland and Hungary and for being soft regarding the respect of the rule of law. Read more.



The Netherlands unveils its first national Holocaust monument. A monument listing 102,163 Dutch victims of the Holocaust was unveiled by King Willem-Alexander in Amsterdam on Sunday, the first national memorial to be built in the Netherlands. Read more on Reuters.



UK-France defence summit cancelled following submarine row with Australia. A UK-France defence summit planned for this week has been cancelled as the row over the controversial Aukus defence cooperation deal with the US and Australia continues. The meeting between Defence Minister Ben Wallace and French counterpart Florence Parly has officially been postponed despite hopes by UK officials that it would take place as planned. Read more.



Ireland now topping EU list of most vaccinated. Ireland has now vaccinated 90% of over 16-year-olds, making it the EU country with the highest proportion of vaccinations, followed closely by Malta, Denmark, and Portugal, the latest data from the European Centre for Disease Control shows. Read more.



EU should stay away from Finnish forests. Forestry should be based on local conditions and knowhow in each member state, the Finnish government’s ministerial committee on EU affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Sanna Marin, said on Friday, highlighting that forest policy belongs to the competences of member states. Read more.



Greek politicians clash over status of deliverymen. The decision of a company that used the efood platform to change the status of its 115 employees to freelancers has triggered not the reaction of those directly affected, but also from the food industry as a whole and became a central issue of controversy between the Greek government and the opposition. Read more.



Volcano erupts on Spanish island of La Palma – Sánchez suspends US trip. A volcano erupted on the island of La Palma, in Spain’s Canary Island archipelago, on Sunday following a week of seismic activity in the area. Read the full story.


In other news, thousands of COVID-19 vaccines are about to expire in the Catalonia region (northeast of Spain) due to the slow inoculation pace and low demand, local health authorities have warned. Read the full story. 



Vaccine bookings spike in Italy after COVID pass extended to all employees. Bookings for coronavirus vaccines in Italy jumped last week after the government said all employees must show proof of a jab, negative test or recent recovery from COVID-19 or be considered on unpaid leave. Read more.



Tusk offers PiS a chance to eliminate Polexit. In the middle of a national debate about leaving the EU – also known as ‘Polexit’ – the European Council’s former president Donald Tusk offered his biggest opponent, the ruling Law and Justice (PiS), a hand in changing the nation’s Constitution to ensure such a move was not possible without a two-thirds majority in parliament. Read more.



Czechia to begin COVID-19 booster shot rollout for all. Czechia is offering a third jab to all people who completed their vaccination eight months ago, despite a recent report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) stating that there is no urgent need for booster doses for the fully vaccinated. Read more.



Hungarian opposition primaries suspended after ‘cyberattack’. On the day of the first round of the opposition primaries, meant to choose one joint candidate for every electoral unit in next year’s election, the pre-election was halted early afternoon by the overload of the IT system that fed the voting, Telex reported. Read more.



Highways cross but don’t connect. The National Highway Company will open a new highway in Slovakia on 26 September but will not include a crossing with highway D1, the main road connecting the west and east of the country. Drivers will thus have to find another way to get from one highway to the other. Read more.



Bulgaria launches lottery to stimulate COVID-19 vaccination rates. Bulgaria plans to organise a lottery with prizes for those who have been vaccinated, caretaker Tourism Minister Selta Baltova announced in an interview with Nova TV, when asked if her ministry would consider implementing tourist vouchers for vaccinations as the country struggles with its very low vaccination levels. Read more.



Journalists beaten during illegal logging investigation in Romania. Two journalists and an environmental activist were attacked last week while filming a documentary about illegal deforestation in Romania, Greenpeace has said. They were severely beaten by around 20 attackers, some of whom were later arrested. Read more.



Croatian Ombudswoman: continuous education solution to violence against women. The key to solving the problem of violence against women lies primarily in the continuous education of those applying laws and regulations, gender equality ombudswoman Višnja Ljubičić has said ahead of the National Day of Combating Violence Against Women on Wednesday. Read more.



Slovenia now member of EU Med. Slovenia officially became a member of the club of Mediterranean EU countries henceforth known as EU Med, which has grown from seven to nine members with the inclusion of Slovenia and Croatia at a summit in Athens. Read more.



Pride parade, anti-globalist rally run parallel in Belgrade. As the Belgrade Pride march was taking place on Saturday, several hundred people assembled at an anti-globalist rally in downtown Belgrade, marching through the streets and chanting insults against Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Prime Minister Ana Brnabić in front of the Serbian Presidency with eggs. Police prevented any contact, however. Read more.



High Representative Schmidt: BiH won’t become centralised. Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), made up of two autonomous entities,  will not become centralised on its EU journey, said Christian Schmidt, currently serving as the High Representative to BiH. Read more.



US, Kosovo in conflict regarding the gas pipeline. Economy Minister Artane Rizvanolli has said the government needs additional time to decide on building the infrastructure for the distribution of US natural gas. Read more.


  • Slovenia | EU: European Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson starts a multi-day visit to Slovenia in advance of an informal session of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council.
  • EU | US: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell in New York for UN General Assembly / Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton visit to Washington.
  • Germany: SPD chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz appears before parliamentary inquiry a week ahead of polls.
  • UK: COVID-19 vaccine booster programme starts as well as vaccination starts for 12- to 15-year-olds.
  • Italy: European People’s Party (EPP) Group Bureau meeting in Rome.
  • Bulgaria: European Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi visits, two weeks before the Western Balkans summit.
  • Serbia: EU representative in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue Miroslav Lajčak is set to meet Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, representatives of the international community in Belgrade, civic society and business community from Monday to Tuesday.


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

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