Italy’s far-right leads polls, causes EU headaches


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In today’s news from the Capitals:


Right-wing party Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) is now leading the right-wing party coalition in the polls with 22.2%, according to polling data from EURACTIV’s partner Europe Elects. Read more.

[Europe Elects]



Rape allegations cloud France’s new government. The new government led by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne is facing its first controversy after Damien Abad, the newly appointed minister for Solidarity and the Disabled, was accused of rape. He has denied the allegations and said he would remain in government. Read more.



Germany extends Niger mission amid Sahel instability. The German Bundeswehr will extend its mission in Niger, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday while visiting troops in the country as instability in the Sahel region continues to increase. Read more.



Austrian president to run for second term. President Alexander Van der Bellen, who announced his plans to stand for re-election in autumn on Sunday, is set to face little challenge. Read more.



Ukraine unlikely to get EU candidate status soon, says Rutte. Ukraine’s chances of obtaining EU candidate status soon are slim because many member countries oppose the idea and it would be unfair to the Western Balkans that have been waiting for membership for so long, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told Parliament on Monday. Read more.



American politicians tour Ireland amid protocol tensions. US lawmakers met with Irish Taoiseach Micheál Martin in Dublin on a trip to Europe centred on the growing tensions around the Northern Ireland protocol. Read more.



NATO talks with Turkey will “take some time”, Swedish PM says. Talks with Turkey on its opposition to NATO membership for Sweden and Finland will continue but change may not happen overnight, according to Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, the TT news agency has reported. Read more. 



Number of Finns willing to take arms to defend country at all-time high. More than four out of five Finns are ready to take arms and defend their country in case of an attack, while interest in voluntary training exercises is also rising. Read more.



Denmark confirms first monkeypox case. Denmark registered its first case of monkeypox after a Danish man travelling from Spain tested positive for the virus on Monday, Danmarks Radio reported. Read more.



Lithuania now fully independent of Russian energy. Lithuania on Sunday dropped Russian energy imports, including oil, natural gas and electricity, making it completely free of Russian energy supplies. Read more. 



Former Greek anti-corruption chief: Novartis scandal has harmed EU budget. The scandal involving Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis in Greece has affected the health budgets of other EU countries, and the bloc’s finances, Greece’s former anti-corruption prosecutor Eleni Touloupaki told in an interview. Read more.


Italy and Bulgaria to push common EU gas price. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and his Bulgarian counterpart, Kiril Petkov, agreed to propose a common EU gas price after meeting at Palazzo Chigi on Monday. Read more.



Former King of Spain sees family members after two years in exile. Former King Juan Carlos met his son King Felipe VI and other royal family members on his first trip to Spain in nearly two years on Monday, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported. Read more.



Portugal ‘satisfied’ with Commission’s evaluation of draft state budget. Portuguese Finance Minister Fernando Medina confirmed he was “generally very satisfied” with the European Commission’s evaluation of Portugal’s 2022 draft state budget as “significantly positive” on Monday. Read more.



Oslo rebuts Morawiecki’s claims of benefiting from Ukraine war. Norwegian Foreign Minister Eivind Vad Petersson rejected Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s accusations that his country benefits from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Norwegian public broadcaster NRK reported. Read more.



No progress in democracy and EU values in Hungary, Commission says. The European Commission had few positive words to offer about democracy and respect for EU values in Hungary following a hearing on the drawn-out Article 7 procedure on Monday (23 May). Read more.



Czechia only country to ask EU asylum agency for help with Ukrainian refugees. Czechia is the only country from Central and Eastern Europe to have requested help from the EU’s Agency for Asylum (EUAA) to deal with the massive influx of refugees from Ukraine, the EUAA has confirmed. Read more.



Proposal for Slovak election-based TV quotas met with criticism. Setting up quotas for the participation of politicians in TV discussions based on election results, as proposed by the Former Slovak Prime Minister and current Finance Minister Igor Matovič, draws backlash from coalition partners, journalists and NGOs. Read more.



Romania eyes deepening nuclear ties with US. Romania, the only European country with North American nuclear technology, wants to develop its strategic partnership with the US, said Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă after meeting with US Department of Energy Deputy Secretary David M. Turk at the Victoria Palace in Bucharest. Read more.



EU Commission commends Croatia for lower public, private debt. The European Commission no longer considers Croatia to be in a “macroeconomic imbalance” thanks to the reduction of public and private debt, which is a positive sign for Zagreb’s euro area accession bid. Read more.


Croatia offers Adriatic ports for transport of Ukrainian grains. Croatia’s Adriatic ports could offer an alternative route for transporting grains from Ukraine, whose Black Sea ports remain blocked, EURACTIV’s partner Jutarnji List reported, quoting the state secretary at Croatia’s European and foreign affairs ministry. Read more.



Serbia: no substitutes for EU membership. European Council President Charles Michel’s recent bid to further strengthen integration and deepen Serbia-EU cooperation is clearly “about deepening cooperation within the existing accession talks with Serbia”, EU Integration Minister Jadranka Joksimović said on Monday. Read more.



Voting for Albania’s next president continues in vain. Albania is no nearer to having a new president as MPs failed to endorse a single candidate for the second round of voting that was scheduled to take place at 6 pm on Monday. Read more.


  • EU: EU agriculture ministers and EU economy and finance ministers meet.
  • European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen addresses World Economic Forum
  • EU Chief Diplomat Josep Borrell receives new Chairman of EU Military Committee.
  • Germany: German FM Annalena Baerbock holds a press conference with Polish FM Zbigniew Rau on Ukraine.
  • United Kingdom: Foreign Affairs Committee publishes report on UK withdrawal from Afghanistan.
  • Amnesty International publishes its annual report on death sentences and executions.
  • Elizabeth Line, east-west London rail link, opens.
  • Hungary: Ministers take an oath of office in Parliament.
  • Russia: Appeal trial of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny resumes.


[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Vlagyiszlav Makszimov, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Eleonora Vasques, Sofia Stuart Leeson]

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