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.
The European news you deserve to read. Welcome to The Capitals by EURACTIV.
In today’s news from the Capitals:
German caretaker defence minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said that Moscow should be aware NATO is ready to make use of its nuclear deterrent in case of a Russian attack against a member of the Alliance, triggering strong reactions in Germany. Read more.
Austria introduces lockdown plans for unvaccinated. On Friday, the Austrian government announced new COVID-19 measures that specifically target unvaccinated people. The plan includes the possibility of lockdown measures for the unvaccinated if the occupancy rate of intensive care units reaches a certain threshold. Read more.
Socialist Anne Hidalgo officially launches campaign. Over 1,500 people gathered in Lille on Saturday (23 October) to support city mayor Anne Hidalgo’s bid for the French presidential race which will take place in April 2022. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
Shut out from the Horizon Europe. UK lawmakers have complained that the UK remains shut out of projects related to the EU’s “Horizon Europe” research fund because of the long-running dispute with Brussels over the Northern Ireland protocol. Read more.
Ireland’s ministers briefed on energy crisis contingency plans. Emergency plans drawn up ahead of potential winter energy shortages could see businesses given an hour to reduce their usage and homes facing having their power cut off in the worst-case scenario. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Planned nuclear plant to get risk assessment due to Russian connections. Finland’s defence ministry demands a risk assessment of a nuclear power plant planned by the power consortium headed by Fennovoima. Causing concern is that Rosatom, a Russian state nuclear company, owns 34% of the firm. Read more.
Clash between ministers triggers first serious crisis in left-wing coalition. Labour minister, Yolanda Díaz (left-wing United We Can) on Saturday promised to repeal the labour reform approved in 2012 by centre-right Partido Popular (PP), picking a battle with minister of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño (socialist, PSOE), and the Spanish employers association (CEOE). Read more.
Draghi: EU must immediately work on securing strategic energy stocks. Following a two-day EU summit, Italian prime minister Mario Draghi made his position clear on how he thinks the ongoing energy crisis should be tackled on a European level. Read more.
Greece will never turn to nuclear energy. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said Greece would never switch to nuclear power because of frequent earthquakes in the region. However, he added that Athens would not oppose others using it. Read More.
Tusk formally elected leader of ‘male-dominated’ PO. With 97.4% votes in favour, Donald Tusk officially became the new leader of Poland’s main opposition Civic Platform (PO) party. Tusk currently leads both the PO and the centre-right European People’s Party. However, PO drew criticism as all elected regional leaders are men. Read more.
Babis: Orban should be thanked for building the wall against immigrants. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš praised his Hungarian counterpart after last week’s European Council summit. According to Babiš, Viktor Orbán should be thanked for his fight against migration. Read more.
Hungarian municipalities less likely to respond to letters they suspect are from Roma. A new study revealed Hungarian local level officials are less likely to respond to letters received from names stereotypically associated with Roma people, Telex reported via G7. Read more.
Several Slovak cities uncertain about next year’s energy and electricity supply. Some Slovak cities have still not managed to close deals to supply gas and electricity for next year and are struggling with high prices on the wholesale market. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Slovenia to promote vaccination by offering incentives to GPs. Slovenia plans to improve its dismal vaccination rate by providing incentives for general practitioners who actively encourage vaccination. Read more.
Bulgarian tourism industry to protest ‘discriminatory’ Green pass. Bulgaria’s tourism and restaurant industry has threatened to start national protests if the government does not amend the rules for issuing a Green pass so that COVID-19 antibody tests can be legally recognised for getting the certificate. Read more.
Talks on a new government not going smoothly. Prime minister-designate Nicolae Ciuca is struggling to find support for his cabinet, despite offering a truce to political rivals. Read more.
Croatian Sovereignists’ party now collecting signatures for ‘anti-euro’ petition. Leaders of the Croatian Sovereignists’ party, which recently launched the “Let’s Protect the Croatian Kuna” initiative, on Sunday started collecting signatures for a petition for a referendum against the introduction of the euro in Croatia. Read more.
Vucic: Serbia opposes sanctions against anyone in Republika Srpska. Serbia would oppose sanctions against anyone in Republika Srpska, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said on Saturday. Read more.
PRISTINA | BELGRADE
Russian diplomats declared persona non grata leave Kosovo. Two Russian diplomats from the Russian Liaison Office in Pristina declared as persona non grata have left Kosovo, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed on Sunday. Read more.
Dodik: We support the continuation of the EUFOR mission in BiH. The EU Council expressed their continued support for the presence of EUFOR Althea peacekeeping forces mandated by the EU, saying they are for the extension of its operation on the ground. Althea has 600 members from 19 states. Read more.
North Macedonia is entering an energy crisis. North Macedonia consumes twice as much electricity as it produces, and to satisfy daily needs, it took electricity from the European network. Read more.
Serbia stops Kosovo boxing team from entering the country. Kosovo’s national boxing team was prevented from entering Serbia on Saturday (23 October) to participate in the 2021 World Boxing Championship held in Belgrade. Read more.
Government announces extension of vaccination drive. COVID-19 vaccinations will now be available to those over 12 and boosters will be given to the over 60s, according to an Albanian government announcement on Friday (25 October). Read more.
- EU: European Council President Charles Michel gives speech at World Health Summit.
- Germany: Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager meets with federal board of the Free Democratic Party in Berlin.
- Sweden: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg visits Finland and Sweden.
- Czechia: Just transition plans of Czech coal mining regions should be approved by the Czech government.
- Greece: Greek FM Nikos Dendias will visit the UK, where he will meet with British Foreign Minister Elizabeth Truss. Athens and London are expected to sign an agreement covering a wide range of areas, including defence and foreign policy. However, it will not be defence-focused, such as the deals recently sealed with the US, France, the Greek ministry said.
- Croatia: On the occasion of the European Day of Justice, Justice and Public Administration Minister gives a keynote speech at the topic “Judiciary 2025 – changes to bring the judiciary closer to citizens”.
- Slovenia: Minister for Digital Transformation Mark Boris Andrijanič will start a three-day visit to Brussels for talks with European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton, MEP Roberta Metsola and Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager.
- Serbia: Helga Maria Schmid, general secretary of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, visiting Serbia.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]