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 article ‘Spanish firm finetunes ‘second generation’ COVID-19 vaccine for EU’s booster campaign‘, by Gerardo Fortuna and Giedre Peseckyte.
The European news you deserve to read. Welcome to The Capitals by EURACTIV.
A message from YEA:
The Young European Ambassadors (YEA) platform is a creative network of future young game changers from across the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia).
Apply and send us your video presentation: remember you have up to one minute to introduce yourself.
Apply before 30 JULY 2021 at https://webalkans.eu/en/yea/become-a-yea/
In today’s news from the Capitals:
The European Commission has referred Italy to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg for failing to comply with the ‘Prüm decisions’, the rules established by the EU Council of interior ministers in 2008 to strengthen judicial cooperation between member states, which for Brussels are “a fundamental tool in the fight against terrorism and crime”. Read more.
BERLIN | BRUSSELS | THE HAGUE | LUXEMBOURG
At least 42 dead after flash floods hit western Europe. At least 42 people have died in Western Germany and dozens remained missing on Thursday after unprecedented flooding also hit Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands. Read more.
France sceptical about extending the carbon market to buildings, transport. France expressed “reservations” about the social consequences of extending the carbon market to the building and transport sectors, a proposal put forward by the European Commission on Wednesday. Read the full story.
Austrian committee concludes investigation on Ibiza corruption scandal. The Austrian committee investigating corruption in the former ÖVP-FPÖ coalition government concluded its last session on Thursday, with opposition parties criticising Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz’s conservative ÖVP party for misconduct. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
Irish Deputy PM: Expect indoor dining from 26 July. Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has set the date of 26 July as the new target for indoor hospitality to open in Ireland. Read more.
Baghdad to Lithuania: How Belarus opened new migration route to EU. Days after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko threatened to flood Europe with migrants, dozens of mostly Iraqi Kurds started arriving in Lithuania. In a cross-border investigation spanning Lithuania, Belarus and Iraq, EURACTIV’s media partner LRT digs into the new human-smuggling route.
Greeks vaccinated with Sputnik in legal limbo. Greek citizens who travelled to Russia or elsewhere to get the Russian or the Chinese jab are currently facing a deadlock in Greece, as the country has not recognised their vaccinations. Read more.
Spain’s new COVID-19 restrictions halt return of tourism sector. Soaring COVID-19 infection rates and tough new restrictions to curb the increase have dealt a fresh blow to Spain’s pandemic-weary tourism and hospitality sectors, especially in sun-kissed resorts along the Mediterranean, the Balearics and the Canary Islands. Read the full story.
Portugal reinstates curfew in 90 at-risk regions. Ninety of a total of 278 municipalities in mainland Portugal (32.4%) are at high or very high risk of COVID-19 infections and will be subjected to more restrictive curfew measures between 11 pm and 5 am, the government said on Thursday. Read more.
Aggressive anti-vaxxers target well-known Slovak doctors. Tensions over vaccines in Slovakia continue to grow as anti-vaxxers have started to protest in front of the houses of pro-vaccine doctors daily Denník N has reported. Read more.
EU top court reprimands Polish court, which refuses to apply its rulings. The European Court of Justice on Thursday ruled that Poland’s controversial disciplinary procedure for judges violates European law. Read more.
Commission goes after Hungary, Poland over LGBTQI+ rights. The European executive launched three proceedings against Hungary and Poland over what it sees as violations of fundamental rights of LGBTIQ+ people on Thursday, giving Budapest and Warsaw two months to respond to its concerns. Read more.
Babis: Commission’s e-mobility plan ‘extremely ambitious.’ The European Commission’s goals in introducing electromobility must be set in a way that will not harm Czech industry, Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Thursday, calling the Commission’s proposal “extremely ambitious,” admitting, however, that he has not yet read the plan in detail. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Slovenia: Sofia, Skopje compromise possible by October. Slovenian President Borut Pahor has said he believed that a solution to the Bulgarian blockade of North Macedonia would be found soon and that this would “restore credibility and trust in the EU” at a meeting with the presidents of Croatia and Austria. Read more.
In other news, the EU Commission is suing Bulgaria for refusing to link business register with EU system. The European Commission has filed a lawsuit against Bulgaria before the EU court in Luxembourg after four years of the country refusing to connect its national business register to the EU Business Registers system (BRIS). Read more.
Black Hawk down in busy Bucharest square. A US military helicopter made an emergency landing in a busy square in the Romanian capital after tearing down two public street lights, although no injuries were reported.
The Black Hawk helicopter was part of a formation rehearsing for the Romanian Air Force Day event when it suddenly began losing height and landed in a roundabout where traffic was cleared by local police. See the video on HotNews.ro. A joint Romanian-US investigation is underway, the US Embassy to Bucharest said. The Romanian authorities cancelled the participation of aircraft in the planned ceremonies. (Bogdan Neagu | EURACTIV.ro)
LJUBLJANA | VIENNA | ZAGREB
Slovenia, Croatia and Austria call for vaccination boost. The presidents of Slovenia, Croatia and Austria agreed at a meeting on Thursday that the number of people getting the COVID-19 vaccination should be increased, but without pressuring people to get the jab. Read more.
Croatian PM: Laschet will lead Germany ‘in the right direction’. Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday he was convinced that Armin Laschet, Germany’s conservative candidate to replace Chancellor Angela Merkel following September’s election, would lead the country in the right direction. Read more.
Slovenia defers key votes to cool political tempers. Slovenia’s governing coalition has decided to postpone votes on two key pieces of legislation to calm down the heated political situation and instead focus on efforts to secure a high vaccination rate before the autumn to prevent a new lockdown. Read more.
Vučić: Countries surrounding Serbia dramatically arming themselves. Serbia “is in a very complex environment and complex political situation,” President Aleksandar Vučić said on Thursday, adding that “this is precisely why the Serbian army is needed as a guarantor of peace and stability and for deterring attacks on our country.” Read more.
- France: Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti appears in court over $350k tax ‘error’
- Italy: President Sergio Mattarella to participate in a ceremony conferring an honorary degree in European and International Studies to Antonio Megalizzi, the young Italian who died in the Strasbourg attack on Christmas 2018.
- Czech Republic: EU Commission VP Timmermans holds press conference on EU Green Deal after meeting PM Babis.
- Greece: Commissioner Thierry Breton meets Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on vaccines, RFF, critical digital and space infrastructure.
- Romania: European Commissioner for health and food safety, Stella Kyriakides, visits.
- Croatia: Prime Minister Andrej Plenković participates in the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Italian Union.
- Serbia: President Aleksandar Vučić will meet with Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Minister, Mehmet Nuri Ersoy.
[Edited by Alexandra Brzozowski, Sarantis Michalopoulous, Daniel Eck, Paula Kenny, Zoran Radosavljevic, Josie Le Blond]