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In today’s news from the Capitals:
After several months of artificial suspense, radical right Eric Zemmour officially entered the 2022 French presidential election race to “save” the country on Tuesday (30 November). His rhetoric makes Marine Le Pen look normal; a political analyst told EURACTIV France. Mathieu Pollet reports from Paris. More.
Genetic resources strategy unveiled. A genetic resources strategy for Europe was presented on Tuesday as part of Slovenia’s EU presidency. Read more.
Germany’s next chancellor backs mandatory vaccination for all from February or March. With Germany in the midst of the fourth pandemic wave, Olaf Scholz, who is set to take over as chancellor next week, has made a case for making the COVID-19 jab mandatory for everyone. Read more.
Austria enforces strict controls at Vienna Airport. Soldiers and police have been deployed in Austria’s largest airport Schwechat to check whether those leaving the airport are travelling from southern African countries in a bid to stem the spread of the new Omicron variant. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
Ireland considers mandatory vaccination of healthcare workers. Ireland’s National Public Health Emergency Team is considering whether to introduce mandatory vaccinations for healthcare workers, according to Irish media. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Whatever happened to the world’s best education system? Finland, which previously topped global education rankings, has seen its level of education among young people compared to 38 OECD countries drop to mid-table, a recent survey shows. Read more.
Greece to fine non-vaccinated over-60-year-olds €100 per month. People who do not schedule a vaccination appointment by 16 January will pay an administrative fine of €100 each month. The announcement has already resulted in an increase in appointments for the first dose among citizens over 60. Read more.
Italian municipalities want mandatory masks as government disagrees on schools. Italian mayors have proposed the government make masks mandatory outdoors from 6 December to 15 January, the president of the association for Italian municipalities Antonio Decaro announced on Tuesday. Read more.
Basque Country ready to soon declare health emergency. A health emergency is set to be declared in the Basque Country to help local authorities contain the spread of COVID-19, according to the regional government, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported. Read more.
Portugal re-introduces teleworking. A recommendation to work from home when possible is in force once again from Wednesday and applies to all companies, according to Portugal’s Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security. Read more.
Future Czech EU Minister concerned about Hungary. With the change in the Czech government, Budapest could lose Prague’s backing in its disputes with the EU over the rule of law according to Czechia’s likely next EU Affairs Minister Mikuláš Bek (EPP) in an interview with Deník N. Read more.
Fidesz presses ahead with holding ‘homophobic’ referendum. The Hungarian legislative voted to hold, likely on the same day as parliamentary elections next spring, what the ruling Fidesz calls a “child protection” referendum, widely considered to be targeting the LGBTQI community, Telex reported via national press agency MTI. The parliamentary resolution contains four questions. Read more.
Polish government introduces ‘anti-inflation shield’. Poles will soon benefit from tax cuts and see a reduction in fuel prices as part of the so-called “anti-inflation shield”, the government announced on Tuesday. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
German Green MEP hopes Serbia will improve in reforms and rule of law. Green German MEP Viola von Cramon-Taubadel has expressed hope that the German government’s position on Serbia will change due to implementing reforms and applying the rule of law. Read more.
Serbian minister expects at least one EU accession cluster to be opened by year’s end. At least one negotiating cluster should be opened by the end of the year as part of Serbia’s EU integration process, said EU Integration Minister Jadranka Joksimović in Belgrade on Monday, adding that all EU Member States had taken part in the preparation of the EU Commission Serbia’s Progress Report 2020, which recommended the opening of clusters. Read more.
Large-scale police operation unveils 250 fake Green passes in Bulgaria. In a major operation that resulted in the raid of two vaccination centres, the arrest of three doctors, and a dentist, the police found 250 people who had been issued a Green COVID-19 pass despite not being vaccinated. Read more.
Tarom plane brings back citizens stranded in South Africa. Romanian flag carrier Tarom brought back 46 Romanian and 18 EU citizens to Bucharest from Johannesburg on Tuesday afternoon. The country is also preparing to repatriate tourists blocked in Morocco. Read more.
Croatia’s recovery plan expected to contribute 1.4% to growth. The implementation of the national recovery and resilience plan is expected to contribute 1.4% to Croatia’s GDP growth in 2022 and 2023, a conference was told in Zagreb. Read more.
TIRANA | SOFIA | SKOPJE
Albanian President welcomes Bulgaria’s position on EU accession. Albania’s President Ilir Meta has welcomed Bulgaria’s proposal that Albania and North Macedonia’s EU accession path be decoupled, allowing Albania to progress. Read more.
BiH’s mining sector could face new financial shock. Coal miners who protested in Sarajevo last week set the conditions that would make them return to work. Still, these are too expensive and would cause a new financial shock for the industry, Nermin Džindić, Energy, Mining and Industry Minister of Federation BiH (Bosniak-Croat entity), said. Only two of seven mines are currently making a profit, the minister added.
Admin Andelija, director of the Electricity Supply company (EP BiH), said that “difficult moments” are ahead of the electricity sector. He recalled that the mines had become part of the company since 2009, and they were in a “neglected” state at the time. He stated that one of the problems was the excessive number of workers and noted that more than 300 million KM (€153 million) had been invested in the mines to date.
Andelija again called on the miners’ union for talks to “end the agony and commit to restructuring the mine for the benefit of the state.” Coal accounts for more than 60% of the country’s energy mix. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)
Industrial producer prices in North Macedonia up 13.7% year-on-year. Industrial producer prices increased by 13.7% year-on-year in October, after rising by 10.6% in September, North Macedonia’s statistical office announced.
Compared to last October, producer prices rose 2.8% in the same month, Makstat said in a statement. Foreign direct investment (FDI) totalled €285.6 million in the first nine months of 2021, compared to a net inflow of €119.5 million in the same period of 2020, central bank data showed.
In the third quarter alone, the total direct investments in the country registered a net inflow of €38.6 million, compared to an FDI outflow of €5.4 million in the third quarter of 2020. In the January-September period, net inflows based on equity and reinvestment of earnings totalled €113.2 million and €196.7 million, respectively. In 2020, FDI into Macedonia totalled €239.8 million, down from €398.76 million in 2019. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)
Nephew of national hero made commander of Kosovo’s army. Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani has appointed major general Bashkim Jashari, nephew of national hero Adem Jashari who led the fight against Serbian forces during the 90s, as the new commander of the Kosovo Armed Forces (FSK).
Bashkim Jashari was recommended for the post by Prime Minister Albin Kurti and the Minister of Defense. In March 1998, Adem Jashari and 58 members of his family were killed by Serbian forces in their house in Prekaz, including 28 women and children. The event marked a turning point in Kosovo’s struggle for independence. (Exit.al/en)
- EU: European Commission to present EU Global Gateway project to counter China and an update to EU’s Schengen Border Code / NATO foreign ministers continue meeting in Riga, joined by Finland, Sweden and EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell / Energy Commissioner Simson delivers speech at European Hydrogen Week.
- Germany: CDU leadership contestants Friedrich Merz, Norbert Röttgen und Helge Braun hold townhall in Berlin.
- France: Right-wing Republicans announce candidate to challenge French President Macron / Macron hosts Latvian Prime Minister Karins.
- Switzerland: WHO press conference on World Health Assembly and Omicron Covid-19 variant.
- Sweden: Covid vaccine pass becomes obligatory for large indoor public events / Alternative Nobel Prizes to be awarded.
- Poland: Parliament debates citizens’ bill proposing abortion ban.
- Portugal: New Covid control measures come into force, booster jab campaign speeds up.
- Romania: President Iohannis will attend a military parade in Bucharest and host a special reception at the Cotroceni Palace.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]