Greeks in limbo over AstraZeneca jab

The AstraZeneca landscape across Europe is fragmented as different recommendations have been made. [Shutterstock/Dimitris Barletis]

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In today’s news from the Capitals:


More than 1 million Greek citizens who received one or both doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been left in limbo after the National Vaccination Committee suddenly recommended that the vaccine should be avoided by people under 60 years old. The AstraZeneca landscape across Europe is fragmented as different recommendations have been made. Read more.



EU health ministers back stronger pandemic role for EMA. EU health ministers have met for the last time under Portugal’s presidency of the Council of the EU, agreed on that body’s postition for negotiations with the European Parliament on new rules to strengthen the role of the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Read more.


Borrell set to present report on new Russia strategy. The EU‘s new strategy for its fraught relationship with Russia will be based on pushing back, constraining and simultaneously engaging with Moscow, the bloc’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said ahead of the presentation of a Russia report on Wednesday (16 June). Read more.



Increased cyberattacks from Russia on German parties. Germany’s interior ministry has warned that the country’s September elections are at risk of being targeted by Russian cyberattacks. Read more.



Belgian MPs warn of the ‘risk of genocide’ against Uyghurs. The Belgian parliament’s foreign relations committee on Tuesday (15 June) gave the green light to a resolution warning that there is a “serious risk of genocide” against the Muslim Uyghur minority in China. Read more.



French government welcomes suspension of EU-US sanctions. Several French ministers have welcomed Tuesday’s agreement between the EU and the US to end the 17-year Airbus-Boeing dispute, calling it an “excellent signal for French and European companies”. Read More.



IMF: Austria’s economy doesn’t need post-pandemic austerity package. The Austrian economy is in good shape despite a rise in public spending due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday. Read more.



Luxembourg to fund NATO space project. Luxembourg is set to pay €7 million into a NATO programme to protect satellites against harmful debris and spot hostile activity in space, Luxembourg Times reported.

“Space is becoming more crowded and competitive, satellites are vulnerable to interference. Some countries, including Russia and China, have developed and tested a wide range of counter-space technologies,” NATO said on its website when it presented its strategy for space in 2019. (Anne Damiani |



Irish deputy PM believes a united Ireland is possible. Irish Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has said he believes “in the unification of our island and I believe it can happen in my lifetime,” the Irish Times reported on Tuesday (15 June). Read more.



Lithuania says Belarus is helping Middle Eastern migrants to cross its borders. Lithuania’s prime minister has said she believes Belarus is behind a recent spike of illegal immigration into Lithuania, following a threat by its president that it will no longer prevent migrants from crossing its western border. Read the full article.



Three Nordic countries top sustainable development list. Finland, Sweden and Denmark have topped the list of countries making progress in implementing the UN’s 2030 sustainable development goals, a new UN report compiled with the German Bertelsmann Foundation finds. Read more.



Berlusconi’s party mulling creation of a united right-wing party. Forza Italia, the party of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, is mulling the creation of a united right-wing party alongside the far-right parties, League and the Brothers of Italy, which have surpassed Berlusconi’s popularity in recent years.

Various internal sources suggest this idea was at the centre of a discussion in Forza Italia’s delegation in the European Parliament. The aim would be to create a party inspired by the British Conservatives before the next political elections in 2023. (Alessandro Follis |



Pardons expected for jailed Catalan separatists in ‘coming weeks’. The Spanish government is expected within a matter of weeks to grant pardons to several Catalan separatists jailed for their involvement in holding an illegal pro-independence referendum in 2017. Read the full story.



Slovak Supreme Court announces retrial of journalist murder case. The Slovak supreme court has accepted the prosecutor’s appeal for a retrial of Marian Kočner and Alena Zsúszová, who were both accused of ordering and arranging the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová in 2018. Read more.



More emails of Poland’s PM office head Dworczyk leaked.  The Russian messaging service Telegram has published further messages, the first ones having been revealed last week, that were leaked from the email account of Polish politician Michał Dworczyk, the head of the prime minister’s office and member of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS). Read more.



Czech opposition party to file lawsuit against PM Babis. The Czech Pirate Party (Greens/EFA) will file a lawsuit against Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš over his comments on the party’s migration policy. Read more.



Hungarian lawmakers pass Russian-style LGBTQI bill. The Hungarian legislative passed a package of laws Tuesday lumping sexual minorities in with paedophiles and seeking to erase homosexuality and trans people from schools and advertisements. Read more



Bulgaria will lose 25% of its population by 2040. Bulgaria has the fastest declining population in the world, and the population will decline by a quarter by 2040, according to a study by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and Sofia University. Read more.



Romania’s vaccination campaign shudders to a halt. Romania is far from reaching its self-imposed targets for vaccination and has even started closing vaccination centres due to low demand. By Tuesday (15 June), fewer than 4.6 million people in Romania received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, short of the government target of 5 million people by 1 June. More.



Slovenia appoints new justice minister. Slovenia has a new justice minister, Marjan Dikaučič, after his predecessor resigned in late May over the government’s decision to suspend the appointment of Slovenia’s members of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). More.



German, Serbian companies criticise corruption in Serbia. Serbia must do more to battle corruption and crime, representatives of the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (AHK Serbia) said on Tuesday (15 June) in Belgrade. Read more.



Croatian President: Reference to Dayton was opposed by other EU states. The reference to the Dayton agreement in NATO’s communique following its summit earlier this week was opposed by Germany, Italy and some other Western countries, Croatian President Zoran Milanović said on Tuesday (15 June), adding that possible changes in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) must not happen without Croatia and Serbia. Read more.


  • France: President Emmanuel Macron will visit Europe’s biggest startup and tech event Salon VivaTech in Paris on Wednesday afternoon. Running from Wednesday to Saturday, the event will feature Apple boss Tim Cook, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the EU’s Internal Market Commissioner, Thierry Breton.
  • Switzerland: US President Joe Biden Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will meet for the first time in Geneva
  • Germany: Conference of health ministers meets in Berlin on summer restrictions
  • Luxembourg: Defence Minister François Bausch, Belgian Defence Minister Ludivine Dedonder and European Commission Vice-President Josep Borrell will visit the Belgian military airbase in Melsbroek.
  • Spain: The National Health Council will meet to examine the next steps in lifting restrictions and debate whether facemasks will be mandatory in open spaces this summer.
  • Poland: At the request of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, a secret session of the lower house of parliament (Sejm) will be held on the leaked emails of government members.
  • Czechia: Vice Prime Minister Karel Havlíček will attend the Globsec conference in Bratislava, replacing PM Andrej Babiš who cannot attend the event due to health issues.
  • Croatia:  Parliament will continue its seventh session, with MPs debating the new electricity market bill, which, if adopted, would allow citizens to buy electricity from any EU country.
  • Romania: The government will discuss at a meeting some fiscal measures and financial support for employees of closed coal mines.
  • Serbia: National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dačić will start his two-day visit to Morocco as British Defence Minister Ben Wallace is set to visit Serbia. Meanwhile, President Aleksandar Vučić will meet with the Assistant Commander of the Ohio National Guard Major-General, Steven Stivers, whom he will present the Order of the Serbian Flag, second class for his contribution to developing and cementing peaceful cooperation and friendly relations between Serbia and the US.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Parliament to debate dismissal of Justice Minister Vladimir Leposavić following his statement that he does not recognise the genocide in Srebrenica.


[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Paula Kenny, Josie Le Blond]

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