Italy’s right shun anti-fascist protest

Former centre-left prime minister Massimo D’Alema complained publicly about the absence of support from Forza Italia and from far-right parties League and Brothers of Italy. [EPA-EFE/ANGELO CARCONI]

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The European news you deserve to read. Welcome to The Capitals by EURACTIV.


In today’s news from the Capitals:

ROME

Approximately 100,000 people rallied in Rome on Saturday (16 October) in solidarity with CGIL, Italy’s largest trade union. On 9 October it was attacked by neo-fascist militants. Italy’s right political forces did not attend. Read more.

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EU PRESIDENCY

Delo: Slovenia’s EU presidency politically dead. The newspaper Delo writes that Prime Minister Janez Janša, with his tweets targeting the European Parliament’s delegation on a fact-finding mission to Slovenia, damaged Slovenia’s reputation and the credibility of its EU presidency, which it says is politically dead. Read more.

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VIENNA

Austria’s centre-right plummets in polls after corruption allegations. While the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) had been leading the polls ever since former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz took over in 2016, the party is currently caught in a downward spiral due to Kurz’s fall from grace over corruption allegations. Read more.

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BERLIN

Laschet humble in defeat at young conservative party convention. “I carry the responsibility for this result,” Armin Laschet told the convention of the youth organisation of his conservative CDU. Laschet must prepare his party for opposition, as a “traffic light” coalition without the conservatives is looking increasingly likely. Read more.

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PARIS

Macron recognises 1961 massacre of Algerians as ‘unforgivable crime’. “France recognises the clearly established responsibilities,” the Elysée said on Saturday on the occasion of the commemoration of a massacre of Algerians that took place in Paris 60 years ago under the authority of former police prefect Maurice Papon. Read more.


UK AND IRELAND

DUBLIN 

Rise in COVID-19 cases throws Ireland’s reopening plan into uncertainty. A recent spike in COVID-19 infections has cast doubt on whether the final stages of Ireland’s phased reopening will be able to go ahead as planned. Read more.


NORDICS AND BALTICS

OSLO

Norway’s Centre Party, now in government, has strong anti-EU sentiments. The new minority government of the Labour Party and Centre Party, sworn into office on Thursday, has differing views regarding the EU. While Labour is in favour of having strong cooperation with its “European neighbours”, the rhetoric of the Centre party would make even Brexiteers blush. Read more.

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COPENHAGEN

Danish FM: Important to keep the Arctic conflict-free. It must be the Arctic states that are in the driver’s seats to create resilience in the region, Danish foreign minister Jeppe Kofod told EURACTIV. Read more.

EUROPE’S SOUTH

ATHENS

French defence ministry confirms exclusive economic zones not part of Greece-France deal. A military agreement recently signed between Greece and France provides for a mutual defence clause which includes the territories of the two countries, but not the exclusive economic zones, the French ministry of defence told EURACTIV France.

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MADRID

Spanish government proposes to extend furlough schemes for one year. The government has proposed to extend temporary lay-off schemes, a system that has contributed significantly to protecting thousands of jobs endangered by the pandemic, only for one extra year. Read more.

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Spanish president: “The Social Democracy that some considered liquidated enjoys an iron health”. The 40th Congres of PSOE that took place over the weekend bore constructive results. Dubbed the congress of ´unity´ it ended with the election of a new federal executive with 95% support. Read more.


VISEGRAD 

BUDAPEST

Conservative mayor Marki-Zay wins run-off to challenge Hungary’s Orban. Peter Márki-Zay, a conservative provincial mayor, was chosen as the unified opposition challenger to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at next year’s election, after winning a primary vote Sunday (17 October). Read more.

A Hungarian government with Márki-Zay at its helm would be like winning the “grand prize” for the EU, the winner of the primaries told EURACTIV in a phone interview last week.

PRAGUE

Czech outgoing government to boost Three Seas Initiative fund. The outgoing government of Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš will decide Monday (18 October) on a strategic €20 million investment in the Three Seas Initiative (3SI). Read more.

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BRATISLAVA

Slovak National Bank Governor indicted for bribery. Peter Kažimír, former minister of finance in the government of Robert Fico and currently the National Bank’s governor, has been officially accused of bribery. Supposedly, Kažimír gave an envelope with €50,000 to then-head of Financial Administration František Imrecze. Read more.

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WARSAW

“Stop torture on the border!”. Polish citizens took to the streets of Warsaw on Sunday calling on the government to put an end to “torture” and “cruelty” against refugees at the border with Belarus. Read more.


NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

PODGORICA 

NATO sharing information with Montenegrin government dangerous. Gabriel Escobar, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in charge of the Balkans, confirmed that at the last NATO summit, fears were expressed that it was dangerous to share information with the new government in Podgorica, adding that this concern was real and that people in Montenegro should be aware of it. Read more.

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BUCHAREST

USR proposes new government, but it lacks political support. Dacian Ciolos will officially present on Monday (18 October) his governing program and list of ministers, but it is unlikely that parliament will approve his cabinet. Read more.

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SOFIA

Bulgaria finally sends its recovery plan to Brussels. The Bulgarian recovery plan includes 59 investment projects and 46 reforms. It was approved by the caretaker government on Thursday and was formally sent to the European Commission on Friday. Read more.

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ZAGREB

Croatia to invest €7.5 billion in agriculture in next 10 years. Agriculture and the energy industry are the two main sectors enabling society and the state to function normally. Therefore, in the next decade, €7.5 billion will be invested in the agricultural sector, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has said. Read more.

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BELGRADE 

Christopher Hill nominated as new US Ambassador to Serbia. US diplomat Christopher Hill has been nominated as the next US ambassador to Serbia, the White House announced on Friday. Read more.

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SARAJEVO 

Catholic, Muslim dignitaries call for tensions to be defused. The highest Roman Catholic and Muslim dignitaries in BoiH, Sarajevo Archbishop Vinko Puljić and Grand Mufti Husein Kavazović, called for dialogue and defused tension in the country, warning that it threatened to escalate. Read more.

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SKOPJE

North Macedonia’s local elections put government coalition to the test. North Macedonia on Sunday (17 October) held local elections, which will be a test for the government coalition of Social Democrats (SMSD), led by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Albanian party DUI. Read more.

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PRISTINA

Kosovo goes to the polls in local elections. Kosovo held local elections on Sunday in 36 municipalities to elect new mayors and municipal councils. Some 166 mayoral and 5,198 councillor candidates entered the race. Read more.

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Kosovo’s president calls for Serbia to open mass graves. Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani has called on Serbia to reveal the locations of mass graves containing the bodies of those killed during the 1998-1999 war.  She made the plea at the United Nations National Security Council on Friday after a meeting was called to address the recent escalation of tensions between Serbia and Kosovo.

Osmani reminded the council and representatives from Serbia and the UN Mission Kosovo that there are still 1,600 people missing. “I urge Serbia to open the mass graves. We want our loved ones back. We want them home,” she said. (Bledar Qalliu | Exit.al)

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TIRANA

Albanian state audit reveals shortcomings in pandemic management. Albania’s State Supreme Audit (KLSH) found that delays in testing and contact tracing, and a lack of resources at the national level, led to the rapid spread of COVID-19 throughout the country. Read More.


AGENDA:

  • EU: EU foreign ministers meet in Luxembourg to discuss Gulf, Eastern Partnership and current affairs /  / European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg / European Council President Charles Michel speaks with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
  • Germany: Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hosts Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel, later meets virtually with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
  • France: President Emmanuel Macron will travel to Poitiers in line with the “Etats Généraux de la Justice”
  • Netherlands: Suspects in murder of crime reporter Peter R. de Vries appear in court.
  • Croatia: President Zoran Milanović and his Slovenian counterpart Borut Pahor unveil monuments to Ljudevit Gaj and France Prešeren in Ljubljana and in Zagreb.
  • Serbia: President Aleksandar Vučić and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to attend the start of work on rebuilding the Subotica-Horgoš-Hungarian border railway.

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

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