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In today’s news from the Capitals:
Leftist Die Linke is prepared for coalition talks about a progressive centre-left government in Germany after the elections, MEP Martin Schirdewan (Die Linke), co-chair of The Left in the European Parliament, told EURACTIV in an interview.
Asked about criticism over his party’s pro-Russian approach, he said that everything, including foreign policy matters, will be on the table in the post-election talks. Read more.
Scholz seen as winner from Germany’s second TV election debate. Conservative candidate Armin Laschet, from the ruling CDU/CSU coalition, sought to make up for lost ground in opinion polls by attacking his socialist rival Olaf Scholz during Germany’s second televised election debate. Read more.
Paris mayor announces her presidential bid. Anne Hidalgo, the Socialist mayor of Paris, will be a candidate in the 2022 presidential elections, she said on Sunday during a speech in Rouen (Seine-Maritime). Read more.
Fiscally conservative member states strike back. Spearheaded by Austria, eight EU member states pushed against the loosening of EU fiscal rules ahead of a meeting of EU finance ministers this weekend. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney to face vote of no confidence. The no-confidence motion, to be presented by opposition party Sinn Féin over his controversial appointment of Katherine Zappone to the position of a UN special envoy, will be debated on Wednesday, once the parliament reconvenes following its summer recess. Read more.
Commission asks Greece for transparency on pushbacks to release migration funds. The European Commission has asked Greece to set up an “independent” mechanism to monitor and avoid pushbacks of migrants at its border as a condition to release an additional €15.83 million in migration funding requested by Athens. Read the full story.
Italian minister: Afghanistan risks becoming again a base for terrorists. Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese told Corriere della Sera in an interview on Sunday that Afghanistan runs the risk of becoming again the point of reference for international terrorism. “Global action is needed to counter all forms of violent extremism,” she said. More.
Portugal: State tribute, applause and cheers for freedom for late president. The Portuguese bid farewell on Sunday to former President Jorge Sampaio in a solemn ceremony with the main figures of the state and foreign guests and with “cheers for freedom” near the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon.
The three main state figures, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, parliament speaker Ferro Rodrigues, and PM António Costa, recalled the political career of Sampaio, who died on Friday at the age of 81.
His political life began during the dictatorship, in the 1960s as a student leader, he was a lawyer for anti-fascist militants, some of them from the Portuguese Communist Party, he was secretary-general of the Socialist Party, mayor of Lisbon (1990-1995) and president of Portugal (1996-2006).
“He never wanted to be a hero, but he became one,” Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa summed up in a final tribute to the former president, also stating that he “loved Portugal through fragility” and “not through strength”.
His two children, Vera and André Sampaio, remembered their father as “a good man” who knew that in life and politics “nothing can be done alone”. (Lusa.pt)
Merkel’s pays farewell visit to Warsaw. Over the weekend, Angela Merkel paid her last trip to Poland as German chancellor, striking a conciliatory tone on Warsaw’s rule of law standoff with the EU. Read more.
No Czech recognition for the Taliban. Prague should definitely not recognise the Taliban government of Afghanistan, Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek said on Sunday. However, it will be necessary to communicate with the Taliban, he said, adding that the EU should take a united approach in this matter, as suggested by the bloc’s foreign ministers earlier this month. Read more.
Hungarian opposition candidates hold first primary debate. With less than a week to go until opposition primaries that will decide who will challenge Viktor Orbán in parliamentary elections next April, prime minister hopefuls went head to head for the first time in a rare instance of televised political debate on Sunday, Telex reported. Read more.
Pope Francis arrived on an official visit to Slovakia. Hundreds of believers, politicians and the representatives of the Church welcomed Pope Francis at the Bratislava airport on Sunday afternoon, at the start of his four-day visit to the country. Francis came to Bratislava from Budapest, where he also met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and President János Áder. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Đukanović: Vučić would like Kosovo without Albanians and Montenegro without Montenegrins. In an interview with EURACTIV’s partner Jutarnji list, Montenegrin President Milo Đukanović said Serbia is a political, security and information base for the realisation of Russian geopolitical interests in the Balkans. According to him, Serbia believes it is time for a new attempt to redraw the borders in the Balkans, and Russia to send a message to NATO, the EU and countries in the region. Read more.
Bulgaria to hold parliamentary and presidential elections at the same time. Bulgarians will vote in both parliamentary and presidential elections on 14 November as the political crisis in the EU’s poorest country is deepening. Incumbent President Rumen Radev is expected to dissolve parliament this week. More.
Ciolos to abandon Renew Europe leadership if he becomes president of USR PLUS. Former EU Commissioner Dacian Ciolos told his liberal USR PLUS party members that he would resign from the presidency of the Renew Europe group in the EU Parliament if he became president of the party.
Ciolos, who currently serves as co-president of USR PLUS, is running in the party elections against the other co-president, Dan Barna, and Irieu Darau, a senator in the Romanian Parliament. More.
Danish Social Democrats: Croatia is right to return migrants. The Croatian government is doing the right thing by stopping illegal migrants at the Croatian border, the spokesman for the ruling Danish Social Democratic Party (Socialdemokraterne), Rasmus Stoklund, told Croatian news agency Hina in an interview. More.
EBRD Vice President says now is the right time to invest in Western Balkans railways. The Western Balkan railways are doing well in the process of adjusting to the EU railway network and pan-European corridors, while the sectoral priorities are opening markets, management and interoperability, the Vice President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Jürgen Rigterink, has said. More.
Health minister quits over deadly COVID hospital fire. Health Minister Venko Filipče and Deputy Minister Ilir Hasani stepped down after a deadly fire ripped through a COVID field hospital in the country’s western Tetovo city, killing 14 of 26 patients.
In other news, President Stevo Pendarovski revealed in an interview with “360 degrees” that in October he will pay an official visit to Greece and will be the first president of North Macedonia to officially visit that country.
Pendarovski said that on October 5 and 6 he will have meetings with Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the speaker of parliament, while a meeting with the leader of the opposition is also possible.(Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)
- France/EU: First European Parliament plenary session of the season starts, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s State of the Union speech scheduled for Wednesday.
- Luxembourg: European Court of Auditors to publish report on cooperation with non-EU countries on the readmission of irregular migrants.
- Switzerland: UN Secretary-General Guterres hosts international aid conference on Afghanistan.
- Norway: The country holds parliamentary elections in polls likely to be dominated by the future of oil.
- Czech Republic: Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek is heading to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
- Greece: New restrictions for unvaccinated enter force and free COVID-19 tests are phased-out.
- Croatia: Commission VP Valdis Dombrovskis visits Zagreb for talks on Croatia’s preparations to join the euro area, implementation of the national recovery and resilience plan, maintenance of economic stability and recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
- Serbia: German Chancellor Merkel visits Belgrade as part of her Western Balkan tour. She is slated to meet separately with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Western Balkan civil society representatives.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Zoran Radosavljevic]