Far-right parties lead Italian polls

Brothers of Italy snatched the top spot when Salvini decided to support the ‘national emergency’ government led by former ECB head Mario Draghi. [EPA-EFE/MATTEO BAZZI]

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 EURACTIV’s German election polling, in cooperation with Europe Elects. You can find the English and German versions here.

Also read the interview with Russia’s ambassador to the EU Chizhov: Russia is well-placed to play a constructive role in Afghanistan, by Georgi Gotev.


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In today’s news from the Capitals:

ROME

The far-right Brothers of Italy party led by Giorgia Meloni and the far-right party Northern League led by Matteo Salvini are currently leading the most recent polls, with 21% and 20.6% respectively. Read more.

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EU PRESIDENCY

Slovenia, Germany and Portugal adopt schemes for patient inclusion in cancer research. Slovenia, as part of its EU Trio Presidency with Germany and Portugal, adopted a document on approaches to actively involve patients in cancer research. Read more.

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EU INSTITUTIONS

Weber not running for European Parliament top job succession. EPP chairman and CSU vice leader Manfred Weber announced that he would not be running for president of the European Parliament for the coming two and half years. Instead, he wants to lead the EPP into the future. Read more.

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BERLIN

Schäuble urges EU not to push ‘too much’ row with Poland, Hungary. Wolfgang Schäuble, President of the German parliament and one of the longest-serving politicians in the country’s history, warned the European People’s Party (EPP) congress of risks in pushing the fight with Poland and Hungary over the rule of law and treaty infringements to the very end, saying it was fine to withhold their money, but not to go too far.

Schäuble also singled out the Bavarian conservative party CSU, saying they were generally more reticent than the CDU. He said he was in a minority in the conservative union (CDU/CSU) when it came to conceding additional competences to the EU. (Nikolaus Kurmayer |  EURACTIV.de)

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PARIS

French justice minister: adequate measures in place for radicalised prisoners. Radicalised prisoners are subject to measures “adapted to their dangerousness” from when they are first detained, Justice Minister Éric Dupont-Moretti told reporters on Wednesday as the trial over the terrorist attacks of 2015 opened in Paris. Read more.

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VIENNA

Austria announces new COVID-19 restrictions for unvaccinated. New restrictions will apply from 15 September and specifically target population groups who refuse to get vaccinated. Restrictions will not apply to those who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. Read more.


UK AND IRELAND

LONDON | PARIS

Tensions with France grow over Channel crossings. Home Secretary Priti Patel and French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin held talks on Wednesday amid a growing row over the number of migrants crossing the English Channel to the UK. Read more.


NORDICS AND BALTICS

TALLINN

Estonia fortifies its border with Russia. Estonia is constructing a new steel fence on its southeast border facing Russia, following steps other Baltic countries and Poland have already taken to ‘fortify’ their borders. Read more.


EUROPE’S SOUTH

ATHENS

Greek fires decimate honey sector, opening floodgates for cheap, fraudulent imports. The wildfires that swept across Greece this summer have decimated the country’s beekeeping sector, leaving it vulnerable to a barrage of cheap and potentially fraudulent honey imports, EU farmers’ association COPA-COGECA has warned. Read more.

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MADRID

Sánchez convenes urgent meeting following alleged homophobic gang assault. The Spanish government has convened an urgent meeting for Friday over an alleged homophobic gang assault on a young man in Madrid that has raised the alarm over hate crimes in the country. Read the full story. 

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LISBON

New media literacy website ‘defence against fake news’. Citizens need instruments to defend themselves from the “traps of disinformation” that “undermine democracies”, Portugal’s secretary of state for cinema, audiovisual and media, Nuno Artur Silva, told Lusa. Read more.

In other news, the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan made it difficult for the EU to show capacity, relevance and strategic initiative, Portuguese Defence Minister João Gomes Cravinho told  the opening of the seminar “Info Day Portugal – European Defence Fund” on Wednesday, adding that lessons should be learned from this.

“European Defence is currently going through a time of profound questioning. The process of withdrawal of Allied forces from Afghanistan has confronted the European Union with a difficulty in showing strategic capacity, strategic relevance and strategic initiative,” he added. (Ana Raquel Lopes, Maria João Pereira, Lusa.pt)


VISEGRAD

WARSAW

Risky travel with a fake COVID test. A 39-year old British citizen was arrested at the airport in Łódź after falsifying his COVID-19 test before boarding a plane to Nottingham. Read more.

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PRAGUE

Czech-Polish negotiations over Turów mine hit stalemate. Negotiations between Czechia and Poland over mining in the Turów coal mine have now come to a stalemate, which Czech environmental organisations say is being caused by Poland’s unwillingness to solve the dispute and the passiveness of EU institutions. Read more.

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BUDAPEST  | BELGRADE

Orban: Hungarian, Serbian civil society backs migration against security. Civil society organisations in Serbia and Hungary support migration, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in Budapest during a joint government session on Wednesday, adding that this was in complete contradiction with the two countries’ security interests. Read more.

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BRATISLAVA

Slovak FM praises relations with Czech Republic.  Foreign MinisterIvan Korčok praised the exceptionally warm relations between Slovakia and the Czech Republic at governmental and parliamentary levels on Tuesday as he received a delegation of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security of the Czech Senate led by the head of the Committee Pavel Fischer. Read more.


 NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

SOFIA

Bulgaria’s leading party proposes law to ban attempts making COVID-19 jabs mandatory.  The populist party “There is such a people” – who won the last parliamentary elections but failed to form a government – has proposed to ban by law any possibility of introducing mandatory vaccination against COVID-19 in Bulgaria. Read more.

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BUCHAREST

Romanian parliament finding it hard to schedule government censure motion. Romania’s parliament may find the opportunity to set a timeline for the censure motion against the government led by Florin Citu after the standing bureaus of both parliament chambers have failed five times to set the calendar of debates and the vote on the censure motion filed by two parties, USR PLUS and AUR. Read more.

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ZAGREB 

Croat entrepreneurs facing increased electricity prices want EU grants. Facing an increase in electricity prices, businesses should be assisted with significant grants from EU funds for renewable energy sources, so that companies can start building solar panels, the Voice of Entrepreneurs (UGP) association has said. Read more.

In other news, Croatian law enforcement has started using an application that prevents fined drivers from leaving Croatia before they pay up for the traffic offences they have committed in the country, the interior ministry has reported. The police use this application during checks at border crossings, where the departing drivers from non-EU countries who have committed a traffic offence in Croatia but have failed to pay the fine will be served with a notice to pay the necessary amount.

The ministry says this facilitates the processing of traffic offences involving vehicles registered outside the EU and drivers with no permanent or temporary residence in Croatia. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)

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BELGRADE 

Merkel to meet Balkan leaders for the last time. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Belgrade on Monday, where she will meet with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić to discuss political and economic cooperation and the EU integration process. Read more.

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SARAJEVO 

BiH High Representative does not represent official German position. The position of High Representative Christian Schmidt is not the official position of Germany, the temporary Chairman of the BiH Presidency, Željko Komšić, said after meeting with ambassadors of the EU, adding that “we have spoken with Merkel”, klix.ba reported. Read more.

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PRISTINA

Kosovo urges India to recognise it, says it’s not Kashmir. India should recognise Kosovo’s independence, Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani told Indian TV station Wion in an interview, emphasising that Kosovo is not Kashmir. Read more.


AGENDA:

  • Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel to address European People’s Party talks
  • France: President Emmanuel Macron to participate in an official ceremony to pay national tribute to French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo who passed away Monday.
  • Netherlands: European Medicines Agency to give update on COVID-19 and vaccines.
  • UK: G7 finance ministers meet virtually.
  • Italy: Prime Minister Mario Draghi meets with European Council chief Charles Michel.
  • Greece: Greeks will say today the last goodbye to “Universal Greek” composer Mikis Theodorakis in the island of Crete, after three days of mourning. Theodorakis died on 2 September.
  • Bulgaria: The Security Council of the government will meet to discuss the state and capacity of the national security protection system in the context of the expected new wave of migrants.
  • Romania: The reading of a censure motion in parliament.
  • Croatia: The parliamentary Judiciary Committee holds a session and interviews five candidates for the post of Supreme Court president.
  • Serbia: President Aleksandar Vučić to travel to the municipality of Zemum to attend the laying of the foundation stone of the factory set to produce the Chinese Sinopharm vaccines.

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

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