The Capitals brings you the latest news from across Europe, through on-the-ground reporting by EURACTIV’s media network. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.
Before you start reading today’s edition of the Capitals, feel free to have a look at the interview with EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides: AstraZeneca remains an important part of the EU portfolio.
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In today’s news from the Capitals:
EU Commissioners may have placed the bloc’s €750 billion recovery fund on shaky ground after telling MEPs the arrangement could become a regular and even permanent mechanism to boost growth. Fiscally conservative Finland has previously presented the fund, which requires unanimous approval from all 27 EU countries, as a temporary measure with no joint borrowing. Read more.
EU confident of COVID-19 travel certificate for summer. The European Commission expects to finish work soon on a COVID-19 certificate that could allow citizens to travel more easily this summer in the 27-nation bloc, the EU executive said on Tuesday (11 May) after a meeting with European affairs ministers. Full story
Commissioner acknowledges ‘slow progress’ on migration pact. The European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson has acknowledged that progress on the new Pact for Migration and Asylum, proposed by the European Commission in September, has been “slow”. Read the full story.
Belgium presents ‘summer plan’ for return to ‘normal life’. Belgium’s government on Tuesday presented plans for a major easing of its restrictions, starting on 9 June, with the reopening of cinemas, theatres, gyms and indoor cafes and restaurants. Read more.
Germany halts Facebook sharing WhatsApp data. A German regulator on Tuesday slapped a three-month ban on Facebook collecting user data from WhatsApp accounts and referred the case to an EU watchdog, citing concerns about election integrity. Read more.
Moderna vaccine to be available by end of May across France. The Moderna vaccine – currently limited to special vaccination centres – will be available more widely at doctors offices and chemists across France as of 24 May, French Health Minister Olivier Véran announced on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the ministers for culture and work have promised to extend unemployment compensation for part-time business workers who have been left jobless due to the pandemic. The support measure was due to expire by the end of August but has been extended until 31 December. (Magdalena Pistorius | EURACTIV.fr)
Austria’s Kurz accused of ‘Orbanisation of Austria’ after media freedom award. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has been awarded a media freedom prize by a German publisher at the Ludwig-Erhard-Summit, a move which leading Austrian politician Christian Deutsch has called “absurd” and accused Kurz of pushing towards an “Orbanisation of Austria”. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
LONDON | BELFAST
NI Protocol is ‘unsustainable’, says EU minister. The Northern Ireland protocol is “unsustainable” and will need to be revised, Britain’s EU relations minister, David Frost, argued on Tuesday following a visit to the region. Read more.
Fianna Fáil Senator: United Ireland referendum can’t be held before peace walls come down. Fianna Fáil senator Robin Gallagher has called for the dismantlement of the so-called “peace walls” built across Northern Ireland and mainly in Belfast in the 1970s to prevent violence between Unionists and Republicans who live in close proximity to each other.
“The Good Friday Agreement has silenced the guns and silenced the bombs and for that we are extremely grateful,” Gallagher told parliament during a debate over the Good Friday Agreement.
“Now we move onto the next phase when we can get to a point when there is no longer a need for the peace walls dividing the two communities. Perhaps then the time will be right to have a conversation about our future together on this island,” he added, the Irish Times reported.
“There are more peace walls separating the two communities in Northern Ireland than there were when the agreement was signed in 1998,” Gallagher added. Today about 100 such barriers remain in Belfast alone. (Paula Kenny | EURACTIV.com)
Italian ministers ask EU for help in managing migrant influx. Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese has called for EU help with tackling migration flows, saying that it is necessary “to carry out structural interventions in the management system of the phenomenon within the European Union.” Read more.
Italian and Turkish fishing boats in skirmish off Cyprus. A skirmish broke out between Turkish and Italian fishermen near the divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus on Tuesday, the Italian navy said on Tuesday (11 May). More.
Spanish government divided over new post-lockdown concerns. Spanish politics has been thrown into turmoil following the expiration of the pandemic-era state of alarm at the start of this week which formed the legal basis for the country’s coronavirus restrictions, with health authorities warning regions no longer have the means to tackle infections. Read more.
Green investments in Greece will exceed €44 billion by 2030. Green investments in Greece will exceed €44 billion by 2030 through the implementation of 21 actions financed by the recovery and resilience fund, Environment and Εnergy Minister Kostas Skrekas said at an online event for Green Hydrogen on Tuesday. Read more.
Czechia negotiates bilateral travel agreements for vaccinated citizens. Czechia is working on bilateral travel agreements with several EU member states to allow citizens vaccinated against COVID-19 to travel freely across Europe. Read more.
Polish Health Minister appoints COVID-19 research team. Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski has assigned a team to monitor the epidemiological situation in terms of coronavirus variants and conducting molecular epidemiological surveillance in Poland. Read more.
Slovakia suspends use of AstraZeneca following death. Slovakia has temporarily stopped the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine after a 47-year-old woman who had been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jab died from cerebral venous sinus thrombosis. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
President’s adviser appointed as Bulgaria’s new caretaker PM. Bulgarian President Rumen Radev has appointed his security and defence adviser, Stefan Yanev, to head a caretaker government due to take office on Wednesday (12 May) after recently elected MPs failed to form a government following April elections. Read more.
Parliament speaker presents ‘Croatia’s Vision’ for EU future conference. Croatia’s parliamentary speaker Gordan Jandroković hosted the “Conference on the Future of Europe – Croatia’s Vision” in parliament on Tuesday, with the aim of informing and including citizens in a number of projects that have been started in the country. Read more.
Serbia and Spain discuss defence cooperation. Serbian Defence Minister Nebojša Stefanović met with his Spanish counterpart Margarita Robles in Madrid on Tuesday to discuss the development of bilateral defence cooperation, the ministry said. Read more.
- France: President Emmanuel Macron will meet Argentinian President Alberto Angel Fernandez for a work lunch Wednesday, while Prime Minister Jean Castex is expecting a report of the National Council regarding the fight against poverty and social exclusion.
- Germany: German government presents amended climate protection law with new emission targets
- Italy: Chamber of Deputies President Roberto Fico will meet with Latvian President Egils Levtis, while Prime Minister Mario Draghi will answer ‘question time’ in parliament.
- Spain: The region’s legal experts and judges continue to debate the need for a new legal framework for the “post-state of alarm” period.
- Poland: Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki will participate in the two-day Impact’21 summit, which will welcome representatives from the business, science, politics and new technologies sectors.
- Interior committee members of parliaments in the Visegrad 4 countries will attend an online meeting to discuss expected rising numbers of migrants and border protection.
- Bulgaria: The new caretaker government will announce its priorities.
- Romania: Prime minister Florin Citu continues his visit in Brussels for negotiations on the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and meets EU Commissioners Valean, Vestager and Dombrovskis.
- Croatia: Prime Minister Andrej Plenković will visit Primorsko-Goranska and Istrian counties on Wednesday, and is expected to visit the city of Rijeka, the city of Vodnjan and the Kanfanar Municipality, and will make a speech in a shipyard of “3 Maj”.
- Serbia: Israeli Ambassador Yahel Vilan will hold a press briefing at the Embassy on the latest Israeli-Palestinian clashes, while the Palestinian Diaspora will hold an afternoon rally in the centre of Belgrade in support of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Paula Kenny, Zoran Radosavljevic, Josie Le Blond]