French far left: Block road for Le Pen 

Last time around, it took the French left until the final stretches of the electoral campaign to issue a clear voting instruction to its voters. Are we heading for the same scenario in 2022? [European Parliament]

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.


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In today’s news from the Capitals:

PARIS

With five months to go before the first round of the French presidential election, EURACTIV France spoke to French far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s campaign manager, MEP Manuel Bompard.

Last time around, it took the French far-left until the final stretches of the electoral campaign to issue clear voting instructions to the electorate to vote against the far right. Are we heading for the same scenario in 2022? Read more.

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BERLIN

Merkel’s green legacy under scrutiny as she bids farewell to Macron. French President Macron welcomed acting German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday for her farewell visit. But high-ranking critics accuse the outgoing German government of leaving behind a thorny legacy. Read the full story.

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VIENNA

Austrian economic recovery better than expected. Austria’s Fiscal Council projects a budget deficit of only 1.6% in 2022. At the same time, the debt ratio will fall from 83.2% to 77.7%, the same as 2017’s debt ratio. Read more.


UK AND IRELAND

LONDON

Wales to get most cash from UK structural fund programme. Wales will be the main beneficiary of a new UK government programme replacing the EU’s structural funds for the poorest regions.

The government says that the new Shared Prosperity Fund will provide £1.5 billion per year in cash for projects related to skills, education, local businesses and employment. Under the first 477 projects announced on Wednesday, Wales, the largest UK recipient of EU structural and cohesion funds, will receive around a quarter of the total funding.

The Fund is expected to officially begin operations next April, and ministers say it will form part of Boris Johnson’s administration’s ‘levelling up’ agenda to reduce economic disparities between UK regions. (Benjamin Fox | EURACTIV.com)

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DUBLIN 

Ireland falling short of EU wastewater treatment standards, report finds. Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its report on wastewater treatment in 2020, with findings that treatment fell below EU-set standards, 15 years from their 2005 compliance deadline. Read more.


NORDICS AND BALTICS

HELSINKI

Renewables cover over half of Finland’s electricity production. Renewable energy sources covered more than 52% of Finland’s electricity production in 2020, a new report released by Statistics Finland shows. This is the first time that renewables made up over half of the country’s energy mix. Read more.


EUROPE’S SOUTH

ROME

Key League member: Salvini’s plan to unite EU far-right ‘makes no sense’. In an interview with talk show host Bruno Vespa, Italian Economic Development Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti commented on his party leader Matteo Salvini’s plan to launch a far-right European alliance with French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the German far-right party, AfD. Read more.

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MADRID

Spanish tourism and job market break records after pandemic restrictions. Spain welcomed 4.69 million foreign tourists in September this year, a 311.9% increase compared to the same month in 2020 when most of the EU was facing severe travel restrictions to contain the pandemic, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported. Read more.

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LISBON

Costa to ECB chief: I’d do anything to continue fiscal consolidation process. Prime Minister António Costa on Wednesday told the president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde, that he would do whatever it takes to ensure that Portugal continues the process of fiscal consolidation and healthy public finances. Read more.

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ATHENS 

Greek PM: No mandatory vaccines, no lockdown. In an interview with Greek TV channel MEGA on Wednesday, Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis made it clear that no new lockdown will be imposed in the country due to the increase in COVID-19 cases. Read more.


VISEGRAD 

WARSAW

Polish president signs off law to build wall at Belarus border. The special law on constructing a permanent fence on the border with Belarus, signed by President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday (2 November), was published in the Journal of Laws. Read more.

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PRAGUE | WARSAW

Polish minister heads to Prague in last bid to fix Turów dispute. Newly appointed Polish Climate and Environment Minister Anna Moskwa will visit Prague on Friday to resume bilateral talks between Czechia and Poland in a bid to unblock the Turów lignite mine dispute. Read more.

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BUDAPEST

Hungarian opposition still leading the polls in capital. The opposition is still in the lead in Budapest, where the six-party joint list would get 44% of the vote. In comparison, Fidesz-KDNP would get 31%, if the parliamentary elections were held in the near future, a survey commissioned by HVG revealed. Read more.

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BRATISLAVA

Slovakia moves to protect its primary forests. The Slovakian government has approved a plan to join 76 undisturbed forests spread over 6,500 hectares in a new protected area dubbed Primary Forests Slovakia. The reservation will be under the highest level of protection, which should protect local biodiversity. Read more.


NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

SOFIA

Bulgaria’s far-right presidential candidate arrested over LGBTQ centre attack. Bulgarian presidential candidate – the nationalist Boyan Stankov was indicted for allegedly attacking an LGBTQ centre in Sofia. He was detained for 72 hours by the prosecutor as for him to be held longer would require a court decision. Read more.

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BUCHAREST

Romania still looking for a prime minister. Politicians in Romania started a new round of negotiations to form a coalition more than two months after the centre-right coalition collapsed. Read more.

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ZAGREB

Croatian Central bank to develop own climate strategy. The Croatian National Bank (HNB) said it would develop and implement a climate strategy, including climate and environmental risks in its supervisory expectations, and encourage credit institutions to include those risks in their risk management and decision making. Read more.

Finance minister: COVID-19 pandemic has cost Croatia more than €5.3 billion. The total cost of combating the COVID-19 pandemic has exceeded 40 billion kuna (€5.3 billion) from the state budget, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić told the Sabor (parliament).

The majority of costs relate to job-keeping measures, directly or indirectly, then taxes, contributions, and everything the state took upon itself said Marić presenting this year’s budget revision.

(Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)

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LJUBLJANA 

Slovenia battling worst surge in infections since start of pandemic. Slovenia is amid the worst surge in coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic. The country reported 3,456 new cases for Wednesday, a new record, while 18 patients with COVID-19 died, the highest daily death rate since February. Read more.

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BELGRADE 

Serbian PM: Serbia, Montenegro to have the closest relations. Serbia and Montenegro should maintain the closest relations, Serbian PM Ana Brnabić said on Wednesday. Read more.

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SARAJEVO 

UN Security Council extends mandate of EUFOR. The UN Security Council adopted a Resolution extending EUFOR’s mandate without mentioning the High Representative and his Office. The EUFOR mission Althea was extended for the next 12 months with all 15 votes in favour. Read more.

(Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)

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Džaferović: Azerbaijan ready to help BiH connect to Ionian Adriatic Pipeline. Bosniak BiH Presidency member Šefik Džaferović said that Azerbaijan is prepared to help the country connect to the Ionian Adriatic Pipeline. This proposed natural gas pipeline would pass through Southeast Europe and be supplied with gas from Azerbaijan.

“Albania, Montenegro and Croatia joined this project. BiH has to do that as well. This would be important for our country, and President (lham) Aliyev promised all his support,” said Džaferović, who is attending the 8th Global Baku Forum.

(Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)

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SKOPJE

North Macedonia opposition party calls for early elections. VMRO-DPMNE President Hristijan Mickoski has called for early general elections to be held quickly so that North Macedonia will have a fully legitimate government. Read more.

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PRISTINA 

Kosovo’s prime minister opposes establishment of BiH style model. Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti has said he will not allow the “Bosnianization” of Kosovo in an interview with the BBC on Wednesday. Read more.

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TIRANA

Over 37,000 Albanians moved to the EU in 2020. In 2020, 37,592 Albanian citizens were granted a first residence permit in a European Union country, according to statistics published by EUROSTAT. Read more.


AGENDA:

  • EU: Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi delivers keynote in a hearing on the Western Balkans at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
  • France: French European Affairs Minister Clément Beaune meets UK’s Brexit Minister David Frost in Paris.
  • Italy: 
  • Spain: The European Parliament’s delegation visits Vitoria, in the Basque Country, and Madrid to gather information related to 379 ETA deaths still unresolved.
  • Poland: Environment Minister Anna Moskwa will travel to Prague for the next round of negotiations on the Turow mine dispute.
  • Slovakia: Members of the European Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee visit Roma settlements in Košice.
  • Bulgaria: Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov and Defence Minister Georgi Panayotov will visit a section of the Bulgarian-Turkish border.
  • Croatia: Parliamentary Defence Committee holds session on the role of the defence industry in the development of domestic production in northwest Croatia.
  • Serbia: President Aleksandar Vučić to meet with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and the deputy prime minister of North Macedonia in charge of European issues, Nikola Dimitrov, within the Open Balkans Initiative.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: First session of the Council of Ministers of BiH after three months.

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[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]

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