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.
Editor’s take: Croatia has a problem. Journalists cautiously watched every word Croatia’s maverick President Zoran Milanović said at the press conference with visiting French President Emmanuel Macron last Thursday, afraid of another possible scandal. In the event, it passed smoothly. (Much more so than when he compared Austria’s tightening coronavirus measures to fascism.) Read more.
Read also the exclusive interview NATO chief: There will be consequences if Russia attacks Ukraine again, by Alexandra Brzozowski.
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Equinor has a clear ambition going forward – taking a leading role in the energy transition and becoming a net-zero company by 2050, while helping deliver the energy the world needs.
In today’s news from the Capitals:
“The goal of the treaty is to create a tight cooperation between Rome and Paris to share strategic goals for a more sovereign Europe,” the State Secretary of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers Vincenzo Amendola told EURACTIV Italy. The new German government also aims for a fully-fledged European federation. But is it easy for Paris, Rome and Berlin to pick the same path toward more Europe? Read more.
State of Berlin formalises leftist coalition. The state of Berlin will again be governed by the Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens, and the far-left Die Linke in a coalition agreement to be announced on Monday. Read more.
French overseas minister in Guadeloupe to calm down social crisis. Two weeks after the outbreak of violence, Overseas Minister Sébastian Lecornu travelled to Guadeloupe on Sunday (29 November). He will meet political, trade union, and economic leaders on Monday before continuing his trip to Martinique on Tuesday. Read more.
Swiss support COVID certificates and better working conditions for care workers. After an emotional campaign and signs of radicalisation, a large majority of Swiss people voted in favour of a law providing the legal basis for using the COVID certificate in Switzerland. Moreover, a majority supported a call for better working conditions for care workers. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
Masks back as ministers try to control Omicron. Mask wearing will be mandatory on public transport and in shops as part of a series of new measures to control the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID. Read more.
Thousands gather to protest pandemic measures in Dublin. Thousands of people gathered in Dublin on Saturday afternoon for a demonstration against COVID-19 restrictions. The group marched through the city before holding a rally. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Finnish fur farming on the ropes. The days of Finland’s fur farming industry may well be numbered as a majority of Finns are turning against the practice, according to a recent poll that followed a damning Daily Mirror report. Read more.
VILNIUS | RIGA
Lithuania says Belarus will keep testing West, urges NATO rethink. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said on Sunday that the NATO military alliance needed to adjust its stance towards Belarus, whose military, he said, was becoming more integrated with Russian armed forces. Read more.
Spain places new restrictions on flights from southern Africa. Travellers from several African countries will now have to show a COVID-19 negative test when entering Spain even if they have been fully vaccinated, although no cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in the country, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported. Read more.
Pope visits refugee camp in Lesbos for the second time. Pope Francis will visit Greece and a refugee camp in Lesbos from 4-5 December with Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and EU Commissioner Margaritis Schinas. The Pope visited a refugee camp in Lesbos in April 2016 when the island was hit by the first wave of mass migration from Turkey through the North Aegean Islands. Read more.
In EU, Czechia most resilient to foreign influence, Bulgaria most vulnerable. Czechia is the EU country most resilient to malign foreign influence while Bulgaria is the most vulnerable, the Globsec’s Vulnerability Index 2021 has found. Read more.
Fidesz speaker to secret services: opposition is biggest threat to national security. László Kövér, speaker of the Hungarian parliament, said in a speech to the country’s intelligence community in February 2020 that the opposition was the biggest threat to the country’s national security, Telex reported based on audiotapes leaked to Direkt36. Read more.
Slovak progressives pushing for ‘climate cheque’ to compensate for green transition. The liberal Progressive Slovakia party has proposed a new system of compensation to work towards the transition to a carbon-neutral economy and combat rising energy prices. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
SOFIA | SKOPJE
Sofia wants business with Skopje, but will not lift veto soon. North Macedonia will receive a softer tone from the future Bulgarian government, but an immediate lifting of its veto on European integration seems unlikely. Read more.
Romania sends plane to South Africa to bring back stranded citizens. Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca said the government would send a Tarom plane to South Africa to repatriate Romanian citizens stranded there due to multiple cancellations of their flights.
Following the discovery of the coronavirus’s Omicron variant, Romania and many other countries banned flights from South Africa and other African states. (Bogdan Neagu | EURACTIV.ro)
Archbishop calls for vaccination, finally. As the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths continues to rise in Croatia, the Catholic Archbishop, at last, called on believers to take the vaccine. Read more.
Protests continue across Serbia led by anti-government demonstrators. Several protests took place in Belgrade on Sunday, a day after mass protests and traffic blockades across the country over recently adopted laws on referendum and expropriation of property. Read more.
US Western Balkans envoy: Problem is corruption, not ethnicity. Bosnia and Herzegovina does not have a problem with ethnicity, but with systemic corruption and the lack of credibility of political actors, which affect the functioning of state institutions, US Western Balkans special envoy Gabriel Escobar told Croatian news agency Hina in an interview. Read more.
North Macedonia’s ruling party accepts prime minister’s leadership resignation. After resigning as leader of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) following a crushing local election defeat, the party has accepted Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s resignation. Read more.
PRISTINA | TIRANA
Albanian Prime Minister in favour of unifying Kosovo and Albania. Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said he would vote in favour of unification between Albanian and Kosovo, should there be a referendum on the matter, reports Exit.al. Read more.
Shooting kills three including children in Kosovo. A bus driver and two students were killed in Decan, Kosovo on Friday night after an unknown attacker opened fire on a bus. A spokesman for the police in Peja said the bus carrying students was targeted around 7 pm. The driver and two minors were killed instantly, and at least one other was injured. Police have not made any progress in apprehending the shooter, and the motive remains unknown. (EURACTIV.com)
Albanians detained for immigration offences increased 32% in UK. Albanians were the second most common nationality entering detention in the UK so far in 2021, accounting for 2920 cases, an increase of 32% from the previous year, reports Exit.al. Read more.
- EU: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers speech at European Hydrogen Week 2021 / European Parliament’s SEDE Committee hears Commissioner Thierry Breton on Strategic Compass / World Health Assembly takes place
- France: Lawmakers vote on a resolution supporting Taiwan’s membership of international organisations / French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, Irish counterpart Paschal Donohoe hold joint press conference.
- Austria: International Iran nuclear talks resume in Vienna.
- Netherlands: Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons holds annual meeting of member states.
- Sweden: Parliament votes for the second time on the appointment of Magdalena Andersson as prime minister.
- Hungary: Presidents of Visegrad Four countries meet in Budapest / Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič in Budapest to sign memorandum of understanding on the Hungarian National Reskilling Program under the European Battery Academy.
- Spain: Union For The Mediterranean foreign ministers meet in Barcelona, EU’s chief diplomat in attendance.
- Croatia: The 2021 award for the promotion of children’s rights is presented at the Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy Ministry.
- Serbia: Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic to spend two days in the Netherlands on an official visit.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]