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 “Dispatches from Kyiv’s liberated outskirts: Picking up the pieces after Russian occupation” by Alexandra Brzozowski who reports from Kyiv.
Editor’s take: Ireland united by Johnson’s dilemma
Love or loathe him; Boris Johnson is a lucky politician. Just as months of scandals about lockdown parties were threatening to overwhelm him, the war in Ukraine made people forget about them. In last week’s municipal elections across the UK, Johnson’s Conservatives were beaten and bruised but not thrashed. He lives to fight another day and, quite possibly, another election. Read more.
The European news you deserve to read. Welcome to The Capitals by EURACTIV.
Today marks the end of the Conference on the Future of Europe. Over five months citizens have been contributing with their ideas to shape Europe. Check out our coverage in the Future EU section.
In today’s news from the Capitals:
Finnish electricity companies are refusing to sign electricity contracts with Russian search engine Yandex, which has a data centre near Helsinki, due to suspicions it may be distributing war propaganda. Read more.
MEPs ask that frozen Russian billions be used to rebuild and arm Ukraine. Seventy-three MEPs have called for $300 billion in seized Russian funds and assets to fund the Ukrainian military and the country’s reconstruction in a letter sent to EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell. Read more.
Germany calls for Western Balkan enlargement, abolition of unanimity. Germany wants to use the Conference on the Future of Europe as a starting point to develop the EU further, possibly change treaties, and abolish unanimity decision-making for EU foreign policy matters, Germany’s Minister of State for Europe and Climate Anna Lührmann told EURACTIV in an interview. Read more.
Scholz’s SPD suffers crushing defeat in state election. The Social Democrats came third in the state election of Schleswig Holstein, behind the Greens and the night’s big winner, the conservative CDU, logging their worst election result in the state since the end of World War II. Read more.
French politicians silent on EU’s oil embargo plans fear Yellow Vests. French politicians are keeping quiet about the EU’s proposed embargo on Russian oil, most likely to avoid new tensions with the Yellow Vests movement, whose protests shook the country in 2018-2019. EURACTIV France reports.
Macron sworn in for second presidential term. Re-elected President Emmanuel Macron was sworn in at the official inauguration ceremony at the Élysée Palace on Saturday (7 May), with 450 guests, including members of his government and former presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande, in attendance. Read more.
Austrian defence minister accused of causing ‘chaos’ urged to resign. Austria’s armed forces’ union is calling for Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner to be ousted, claiming she has rendered the armed forces leaderless since 1 May. Read more.
Dutch aid group sends another ambulance convoy to Ukraine. The Dutch aid group, Zeilen van Vrijheid, has sent its seventh humanitarian aid convoy comprised of seven vehicles to Ukraine, Dutch News reports. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
Dublin calls for swift formation of executive following Northern Irish elections. Politicians in the Republic of Ireland have called for the swift formation of an executive in the Northern Irish assembly following the historic election result this weekend. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Swedish opposition parties cry wolf in defiance of EU. Most lawmakers in the Riksdag want to reduce the number of wolves in Sweden by nearly half, even if this means they have to defy the EU. Read more.
Italy in trouble if Russia soon curbs gas supplies, says minister. Italy would be in trouble if Russia decided to curb its gas supplies to the country in the next few months, Ecological Transition minister Roberto Cingolani told Festival Città Impresa in an interview on Sunday. Read more.
Spain becoming one of Europe’s new hydrogen hubs, says von der Leyen. Spain is becoming one of Europe’s new hydrogen hubs, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during a press conference in Barcelona on Friday, adding that the country has always been a “front runner” in the NextGenerationEU plan. Read more.
PRAGUE | BRATISLAVA
Germany may supply weapons to Ukraine via Czechia, Slovakia. Berlin is working with Bratislava and Prague on agreements to unlock further tank and heavy weapons supplies to Ukraine as both countries negotiate a “chain swap” to replace weapons and tanks Czechia and Slovakia are sending to Ukraine. Read more.
Russian Embassy cancels Victory Day march in Poland. The Russian Embassy in Poland decided not to go ahead with the planned Victory Day march on Monday after city authorities and the Polish foreign ministry slammed the initiative, the embassy announced on its website. Read more.
Hungary’s anti-EU Party re-branded as ‘Huxit party’. Far-right politician János Volner has announced that his personal party will be renamed as Huxit party to represent those who want Hungary to leave the European Union, Telex reported on Sunday. Read more.
Young Slovaks divided over defending country in case of attack. Young people in Slovakia are the most willing to both defend and leave the country in case of war, a new survey by Focus agency found. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Vučić: Putin’s statements pressures Serbia to recognise Kosovo. Serbia will find itself under tremendous pressure to quickly recognise Kosovo following the statements of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who recently compared Kosovo’s right to independence to the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said in Belgrade on Friday. Read more.
Bulgaria threatens to veto EU oil ban on Russia unless it gets derogation. Bulgaria has threatened not to support European Union’s new set of sanctions against Russia if the Balkan country does not get a derogation from the proposed ban on buying Russian oil, Deputy Prime Minister Assen Vassilev said late on Sunday. Read more.
Croatian prime minister supports Ukraine’s EU bid. Croatia supports Ukraine’s application to join the European Union, said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Sunday as he met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other officials in Kyiv in a show of support, marking a stark contrast to President Zoran Milanović, who has been disparaging Ukraine ever since the Russian invasion started. Read more.
New Slovenian parliament to open. President Borut Pahor has formally called the maiden session of the new National Assembly for 13 May after receiving a report on the official results of the 24 April general election, paving the way for an early-July formation of the new government. Read more.
PRISTINA | BELGRADE
Serbia threatens Kosovo over Council of Europe membership bid. Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić has threatened to deploy a ‘strong and serious’ response if Kosovo moves forward with its application to the Council of Europe. Read more.
Reporters Without Borders clap back at Albanian prime minister’s denials. Reporters Without Borders has responded to the claims by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama that the reports of media violations in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index were “lies” and “fantasy” by debunking his denials. Read more.
- Spain: Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, and pro-independence president of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, meet this week, seeking to solve the political crisis triggered by the Pegasus spyware scandal.
- Slovakia: President Zuzana Čaputová will receive American first lady Jill Biden in Bratislava on Monday.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson]