France urged to refuse EU presidency sponsorship

The issue of sponsors is a long-standing debate, said MEP Manon Aubry (GUE/NGL) who also stated it would be "naive" to think a sponsoring company does it without ‘strings attached’. [Shutterstock/Drop of Light]

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In today’s news from the Capitals:

PARIS

Corporate Europe Observatory, Observatoires des Multinationales and foodwatch have launched a petition on Thursday, urging the French executive to decline any sponsorship offers when it takes on the rotating EU Council presidency in 2022. Read more.

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EU PRESIDENCY

Differences remain over alternative fuels infrastructure in EU. EU transport ministers discussed infrastructure for alternative fuels in Slovenia on Thursday, with the country’s Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec noting that quite a few differences remained between EU countries on the matter. Read more.

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BERLIN

German contribution to EU budget up 19% this year. Germany’s contributions to the EU budget this year has reached a total of €38 billion thus far compared to €32 billion in 2020, a parliamentary question to the government has revealed. While part of the €6 billion increase is due to Brexit, which increased Germany’s contributions by €3 billion, the solid state of the country’s economy has also ensured an increase compared to the contributions of other EU states with weaker economies.

The largest beneficiary of German EU contributions is said to be Poland. In 2020, it had received about €12 billion more than it had paid to the EU. Poland was also expected to be the largest beneficiary of EU funds in absolute numbers in 2021, the German government told liberal MP Gerald Ullrich at his request, WELT reported. (Nikolaus J. Kurmayer  | EURACTIV.de) 

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VIENNA

EU Commission opens infringement proceedings against Austria over terrorism law. The European Commission announced on Thursday that it would open infringement procedures against Austria, Finland, Luxembourg, and Croatia for failing to transpose the EU rules on combatting terrorism. Read more.

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BRUSSELS

Catalan separatist MEP Puigdemont arrested in Italy. Exiled former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont was arrested in Italy on Thursday, his lawyer and an aide said, four years after fleeing following an independence referendum that Madrid ruled unconstitutional. Read more.

UK AND IRELAND

DUBLIN 

Ireland chairs UN Security Council meeting, focuses on climate and security. Taoiseach Micheál Martin chaired a meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday, focusing on the topic of climate and security. Read more.


NORDICS AND BALTICS

HELSINKI

Tech industries say Finland needs 130,000 new specialists next decade. The Technology Industries of Finland, a lobbying organisation for the technology industry representing some 1,600 companies, is warning that the acute and deteriorating shortage of skilled labour could endanger the country’s economic growth.

It may also impact welfare services and living standards, suggesting that the sector would need about 130,000 specialists or 13,000 a year over the next decade. Read more.


EUROPE’S SOUTH

ATHENS

Greek state to lose majority of public electricity company. In a surprise statement on Thursday, Greece’s Public Power Corporation (PPC) announced that it is proceeding with a €750 million capital share increase which will see the state lose its majority. Read more.

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ROME

Italy reforms its criminal trial procedures at Brussels’ request. The Italian Senate has approved the criminal trial reform on Thursday, part of a set of broader justice reforms Brussels has asked Italy to enforce so it can obtain Next Generation EU funding. Read more.

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MADRID

Fresh data casts doubts about Spain’s quick economic recovery. Less than 48 hours after the Spanish Central Bank (Banco de España) and the OECD had predicted a robust recovery of the Iberian country’s economy this year and in 2022, fresh data released on Thursday by Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE) projected a less optimistic perspective. Read more. 

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LISBON

Masks to soon only be required in Portugal’s high-risk, crowded places. The use of masks will only be required on public transport, in supermarkets, homes, hospitals, entertainment venues and big events from 1 October in Portugal, once the third phase of lifting measures announced Thursday kick in. Read more.


VISEGRAD

PRAGUE | WARSAW

Czech-Polish relations hit rock bottom. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki cancelled his planned trip to Budapest’s two-day Demography Summit on 23-24 September due to the current dispute between Czechia and Poland over the Turów coal mine, a Polish government spokesperson has confirmed. Read more.

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WARSAW

Poland’s longest-serving MEP says EU project has derailed, now oppressive. The EU is today a derailed project that became oppressive, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, one of Poland’s longest-serving MEPs and co-creator of the Natolin Campus of the College of Europe who was a leading protagonist for Polish EU membership in the 1990s, told far-right weekly Sieci in an interview. Read more.

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BUDAPEST 

Cyberattack aftermath and fallout continues.  It’s likely that Saturday’s outage of the opposition primaries’ IT system was caused by an attack that appears to have resulted from an easily avoidable error, based on information currently available, Telex reported. Read more.

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BRATISLAVA

Former Slovak prime minister says Dutch MEP should go home to ‘have a joint’. Dutch MEP and head of the European Parliament mission to Slovakia, Sophie in ‘t Veld “should go home and have a joint”, said former prime minister Robert Fico on Facebook, criticising members of her mission for not meeting with opposition parties. Peter Pellegrini, who became PM after Fico was forced to step down, also joined the criticism, saying the Dutch MEP “should pack her things and go home”. Read more.


NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

SOFIA

Bulgarian police, special agents storm energy commission over electricity price hike. Bulgarian police officers and employees of the special services (SANS) made a surprise inspection in the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC), trying to understand the reason for the high electricity prices on the energy exchange. Read more.

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BUCHAREST

Party elections could decide fate of Romanian government.  Upcoming party leadership elections could determine the future of the Romanian government as the USR PLUS party and the National Liberal Party (PNL) are soon to elect their party presidents in hotly contested races. Read more.

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ZAGREB

Croat government and opposition oppose court injunction ordering media portal stops reporting. A  judge on the Zagreb Municipal Court prohibited Jelena Jindra, a journalist from non-profit portal H-Alter, from writing articles about the director of the Polyclinics for the protection of children and youth. Read more.

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LJUBLJANA 

Slovenia’s fiscal watchdog cautions against politically-motivated spending ahead of election. The Fiscal Council, which oversees the country’s compliance with the balanced-budget rule, has warned the government against excessive spending in the run-up to the general election scheduled for next year. it stressed that exceptional circumstances “should not be used to adopt measures that reflect the final stage of the political cycle”. Read more.

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BELGRADE 

Serbian bill on interior affairs pulled from procedure, Minister blames West. Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin said on Thursday that he has withdrawn the bill on interior affairs which had drawn significant criticism, both locally and internationally. The bill was reportedly withdrawn on the request of President Aleksandar Vučić, and that by doing so, it would ” avoid bloodshed in the streets of Belgrade.” Read more.

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SARAJEVO 

BiH chief state prosecutor dismissed. An appeals disciplinary board of the Bosnia and Herzegovina High Court and Prosecutorial Council (VSTV) upheld a decision to dismiss Chief State Prosecutor Gordana Tadić. Read more.

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PODGORICA 

Montenegrin government considers receiving Afghan refugees. “The government has decided to consider the possibility of responding to the current humanitarian crisis and possible capacities to receive a limited number of refugees, in line with the practices of other NATO members engaged in Afghanistan,” it was announced in a statement from the government.

The government also decided to form an Interdepartmental Working Group as it is committed to having active participation in global humanitarian responses. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)

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PRISTINA

US Embassy urges immediate steps for de-escalation in northern Kosovo. “Good meeting with PM Kurti on the importance of reengaging in the EU-facilitated Dialogue to resolve license plates & other issues. Immediate steps are needed to de-escalate tensions. Actions can have unintended consequences adversely impacting everyday lives of citizens”, Nicholas J. Giacobbe, Chargé d’Affaires at US Embassy in Kosovo wrote, after he said he met Prime Minister Albin Kurti to discuss recent developments in northern Kosovo. Tensions increased after the introduction of reciprocity regarding vehicle plates prompting a protest by local Serbs. Read more.


AGENDA:

  • Germany: Greta Thunberg due to attend Fridays for Future global climate strike in Berlin.
  • France: Second round of public consultations on the future of Europe in Strasbourg.
  • Serbia: Russian Deputy Culture Minister Olga Sergeyevna Yarilova visits Serbia.

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

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