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In today’s news from the Capitals:
A fight has been taking place in Brussels for over a year, fought publicly in the media and behind the scenes. Should Brussels grant nuclear a green investment label? Read more.
Austrian government reshuffle to end with Nehammer’s inauguration. Interior Minister Karl Nehammer will be sworn in as the new chancellor on Monday. His inauguration should end the governmental crisis sparked by former chancellor Sebastian Kurz’ departure from politics. Read more.
Austria experiencing tumulous political times. In October, Alexander Schallenberg took over the Head of Government and European Council member position from Sebastian Kurz after the latter resigned over anti-corruption probe. On 2 December 2021, Schallenberg gave up his position just hours after Kurz left politics. How do these events influence the polls?
In the last election in 2019, Kurz’s centre-right ÖVP (EPP) won 37.5% of the vote, the centre-left SPÖ (S&D) won 21.2%. The right-wing FPÖ (ID) came third with 16.2%. The environmentalist GRÜNE (Greens/EFA) formed a government coalition under the leadership of the ÖVP after winning 13.9% of the vote. The liberal NEOS (RE) formed the smallest group in the national parliament with 8.1% of the popular vote.
If a snap election were held today, Austria could potentially follow the German Traffic-Light coalition model. Polls show now the SPÖ ahead with 25.6%, with the ÖVP reaching 23.3%. This result would be the worst ever result for the European People Party member since its creation in 1945. FPÖ would stay in third place with 20.2%. GRÜNE would drop 1 point to 12.9%. NEOS would rise to 11.2%.
At the moment, a snap election is not on the table as ÖVP and GRÜNE seem determined to continue to a government coalition for the foreseeable future. But if it was to happen and an SPÖ-led government came into existence, Pamela Rendi-Wagner could become Austria’s second female chancellor after Brigitte Bierlein. She would also be the seventh chancellor in five years.
Slovenia believes roaming regulation agreement feasible in coming days. EU member states could agree on a draft regulation on roaming in the EU in the coming days, Slovenian Minister of Public Administration Boštjan Koritnik said in Brussels on Friday (3 December). More.
Socialists and liberals back coalition deal, pave way for Chancellor Scholz. Following the grand reveal of the “traffic light” government’s coalition agreement, the parties’ members had the last say this weekend on whether the social democrat SPD, the Greens and the FDP should form Germany’s first-ever three-way government. Read more.
Pécresse nominated to run in French presidential elections. The president of the Île-de-France region was nominated on Saturday by right-wing Republican party members as candidate for the 2022 presidential election. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
Ireland brings back pandemic unemployment support as restrictions increase. Ireland has brought back its Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) for those who lost jobs due to the reintroduction of restrictions. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Finland responds to Russia’s call for guarantees against NATO’s eastward expansion. Russia’s call for guarantees against the NATO alliance expanding eastwards got a swift response from Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, who released a statement emphasising Finland’s “national room to manoeuvre”, including the possibility of military alignment and applying for NATO membership. Read more.
MEP Androulakis wins first round of Greek socialists’ primaries. MEP Nikos Androulakis (S&D) has won the first round of internal elections of the Greek socialist party (Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement – Pasok), with 37% of the vote. He will now compete for the party’s leadership in the second round with former Prime Minister George Papandreou, who got 27.8%. Read more.
Minister: compulsory vaccination not necessary in Italy. It is unnecessary to make COVID-19 vaccine mandatory in Italy, Public Administration Minister Renato Brunetta said on Sunday, adding that the current measures have led to increased vaccination rates. He added that the spread of the virus is being managed better than in some other European countries. Read more.
Eight Spanish regions implement mandatory use of COVID-19 pass. In a last-minute effort to “save Christmas” amid rising COVID-19 cases, eight Spanish regions have made COVID digital certificates mandatory. EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported. Read more.
Warsaw Summit: European populist far-right parties oppose EU federalisation. Europe’s conservatives need a new proposal for the continent, Jarosław Kaczyński, head of Poland’s ruling party Law and Justice (PiS), said on Saturday 4 December at the Warsaw Summit of European conservative and right-wing leaders. Kaczyński also criticised recent trends favouring the move towards a more federal EU. Read more.
Czech caretaker and future government clash over mandatory vaccination. The future government said it will immediately cancel the current health ministry’s measures for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination from March 2022 for people over 60 and doctors, nurses and police officers as soon as it assumes power. It said it would do so immediately after it assumes power. Read more.
Fidesz satellite party complains Tusk invited opposition leader to join EPP. Ruling Fidesz’s minority coalition partner, the Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP), wrote a letter expressing its concerns to Donald Tusk, President of the European People’s Party (EPP), about the meeting with the Hungarian opposition’s joint candidate for Prime Minister, independent small-town mayor Péter Márky-Zay, in Warsaw on Thursday, Telex reported via national news agency MTI. Read more.
Slovakia sees increase in disinformation campaigns, especially from China. The number of disinformation campaigns accelerated in Slovakia, the country’s Information Service (SIS) wrote in its annual report for 2020. It found increased activity from China and actors working on their behalf. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Bulgaria to reduce state administration by 15% next year, 30,000 jobs to go. State administration in Bulgaria will be reduced by 15% by the end of 2022, Asen Vassilev, co-chairman of the coalition “Continuing Change”, announced on Sunday. The move could see around 30,000 people lose their jobs. Read more.
Omicron variant brings new restrictions in Romania. The first cases of Omicron infection were confirmed in Romania, prompting the government to adopt new measures for travellers. Read more.
Patrushev: Croatia one of Russia’s main EU partners. Croatia is one of Russia’s “fundamental partners in the EU”, said Dmitry Patrushev after the tenth intergovernmental Croatian-Russian commission for economic, scientific and technical cooperation. Dmitry Patrushev is the son of Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of Russia and a close associate of President Vladimir Putin. Read more.
Bosniak leader in Croatia: President’s Srebrenica statement crossed a red line. President Zoran Milanović’s recent statement on the 1995 Srebrenica genocide “crossed a red line”, Armin Hodžić, the Bosniak ethnic minority council chairman in Croatia said. Read more.
LJUBLJANA | ROME
Italian military enlisted to help Slovenia cope with COVID-19. Six Italian military doctors and nurses arrived in Slovenia on Sunday to help treat COVID-19 patients. Another nine will join them on Monday, according to an agreement reached by the countries’ defence ministers. Read more.
Environmental protests take over 50 Serbian cities by storm. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets across Serbia over the weekend. They blocked main traffic arteries and bridges in over 50 cities, including Belgrade, for two hours, in protest against a mining project of the Rio Tinto company and new legislation on expropriation and referendums. Read more.
BiH Army receives four new US military helicopters. The Bosnia and Herzegovina Armed Forces received four new US Bell helicopters, which will be put in service later this month after they are equipped and prepared for flight, the country’s defence ministry and the US Embassy have confirmed. Read more.
Alternative party joins coalition of North Macedonia’s government. The Alternative party decided to join the current parliamentary majority and the government, party spokesperson Orhan Murtezani told a news conference Saturday night. Read more.
Albania government deadlocked over Vjosa National Park. Albania’s environment minister Mirela Kumbaro announced that the government and three environmental organisations have agreed on a “sustainable development model” for the Vjosa before it is designated a National Park. But the environmental groups involved say differently. Read more.
- EU: Eurogroup meets / European Council President Charles Michel in Senegal, attends Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa / Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Council meets.
- Germany: Outgoing Economy Minister Peter Altmaier gives a press conference before the change of government.
- France: Court hears Morocco’s libel suit against Forbidden Stories, Amnesty over Pegasus leaks.
- Sweden: 2021 Nobel Prize award ceremonies take place in Stockholm.
- Italy: Covid restrictions come into force for unvaccinated citizens.
- Greece: Annual rally to mark 2008 police killing of Alexandros Grigoropoulos.
- Poland: UN Internet Governance Forum takes place in Katowice.
- Romania: Parliament holds a special meeting on the anniversary of 30 years since the adoption of the first Constitution in the post-communist era.
- Croatia: Prime Minister Andrej Plenković holds a regular semi-annual meeting with representatives of the Croatian Bishops’ Conference.
- Slovenia: European Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kövesi will visit Slovenia for talks on the cooperation of the country’s prosecutors with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO).
- Serbia: Press conference of Albanian and Serbian families of missing persons, on the eve of the International Human Rights Day. The conference is organised by the Serb Association of Families of Kosovo Victims, in cooperation with the Albanian Resource Center for Missing Persons in Pristina.
- North Macedonia: Gabriel Escobar, US Special Envoy for Western Balkans, visits the country.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]