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In today’s news from the Capitals:
Brussels and Washington aim to renew ties during a joint summit with US President Joe Biden on Tuesday (15 June), but – from the tariffs dispute to China – the transatlantic alliance still has areas of disagreement. EURACTIV has seen the draft summit conclusions. Here’s five areas of interest. More.
Sassoli: US Congress wants to collaborate with EU, national parliaments on migration. European Parliament chief David Sassoli has said that US Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked him for more cooperation on migration and asylum among European national parliaments, the EU House and US Congress. More.
Germany debates loosening mask restrictions, states sceptical. Germany’s health and justice ministers asked the premiers of Germany’s 16 states to start dropping mask-wearing restrictions, but both Chancellor Angela Merkel and various regional leaders called for greater “discipline and care”. Read more.
France ‘optimistic’ about lifting outdoor mask rule by end of June. France’s Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon told RTL Radio on Monday (14 June) that he was optimistic about the possibility of lifting the obligation to wear masks outdoors as soon as 30 June, adding that “it is hot and all French people want to spend a serene summer.”
The requirement to wear masks indoors should remain, said Salomon, calling on the French to make “another effort on vaccination”. “No decision has yet been taken concerning the wearing of the mask outdoors in the coming weeks, which therefore remains the rule,” the health ministry said later that day. (Mathieu Pollet | EURACTIV.fr)
Austria finds new partner on migration, this time Malta. Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg met with his Maltese counterpart Evarist Bartolo in Valletta on Monday to discuss migration policy and the situation in Libya with the ministers agreeing that they should not have to wait for a common EU asylum and migration policy. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
Irish ministers worry as tensions mount over NI protocol. Dublin officials are worried that continued uncertainty over the Northern Ireland Protocol could further escalate tensions between the UK and the EU. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Norway’s licensing round for oil companies angers environmentalists. The announcement on 9 June by Norway’s petroleum and energy ministry inviting oil companies to apply for exploration blocks has upset environmental groups, including Greenpeace. Read more.
Greece, Turkey vow to have a ‘quiet’ summer. At a meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed to de-escalate tensions. More
Italy authorises mixing of COVID-19 vaccines. Under-60s who have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will have the possibility of receiving a different vaccine as their second dose, Italy’s national drug agency (Aifa) decided on Monday. Read more.
Spanish immunologist: variants may need third vaccine dose. Spanish immunologist Carmen Álvarez-Domínguez has warned that the COVID-19 vaccines available in Spain and other EU countries could adapt to new variants, potentially necessitating a third dose in 2022. Read the full story.
Czechia ready for tough negotiations with Poland over Turow mine. The Czech-Polish legal dispute over the Turów coal mine has entered a new phase as Czech Environment Minister Richard Brabec confirmed that Czechia has sent a draft bilateral agreement concerning the mine to Polish authorities. Read more.
Polish Constitutional Court again postpones review of CJEU provisional measures. Poland’s Constitutional Court has postponed for the third time its review of whether the country must comply with a demand by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) to suspend regulations on judicial reform implemented by the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) which it found to be contrary to EU law. Read more.
Thousands protest Russian-style LGBTQI bill in Budapest. Thousands of people took to the streets of the Hungarian capital to protest ahead of a vote in parliament on Tuesday (15 June) on a package of laws lumping sexual minorities in with paedophiles and seeking to erase homosexuality and trans people from schools and advertisements. Read the full story.
Slovak police investigate illegal waste imports from Italy, Poland. Slovakia’s police are investigating five cases of illegal waste imports to Slovakia from Italy and Poland. Tons of waste had ended up in agricultural and industrial buildings and even loose on the ground, a spokesperson said. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Bulgaria’s former deputy PM accused of anti-Roma discrimination. Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) has found the leader of the nationalist party VMRO and former deputy prime Minister Krassimir Karakachanov guilty of discrimination against Roma people. Read more.
Romanian president invites Biden for state visit. Romanian President Klaus Iohannis who had two short discussions with his US counterpart Joe Biden on the margins of the NATO summit in Brussels, said he invited the US president to visit Romania. Read more.
Croatia did not lose 1 billion kuna in recovery plan. Croatia’s government has dismissed allegations made by EURACTIV partner Jutarnji List that the European Commission found an imprecision in the country’s recovery and resilience plan, resulting in the amount allocated to the country being reduced by 1 billion kuna (€133 million). Read more.
Bilcik: Military drills with Russia, Belarus ‘not helpful’ for Serbia’s EU path. The Russian-Belarusian-Serbian military exercise is “not helpful” for Serbia’s EU path, said the European Parliament’s Serbia rapporteur, Vladimir Bilčik, adding that clear “foreign policy choices” would instead help the country advance toward EU membership. Read more.
Montenegro’s government making efforts to establish flights with Russia. Montenegro’s government is seeking to re-establish flights with Russia, said Economic Development Minister Jakov Milatović. “After our visits to St. Petersburg, Moscow, the campaign in the Russian media and letters to officials, the Association of Tour Operators of Russia joined our appeals to the Operational Headquarters,” he tweeted.
“Over 72% of Russian tourists are waiting for flights to countries that have opened borders and provided the conditions necessary to be safe destinations, and Montenegro is one of them,” said Milatović, noting that the association said it was necessary to establish air traffic to Montenegro as soon as possible. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)
- France: The French Senate will continue to discuss the climate bill.
- Spain: Spanish health authorities meet – mull opening vaccinations for all age groups, and not only the most vulnerable.
- Poland: Parliament will make its fifth attempt on Tuesday to choose the new Ombudsman.
- Slovakia: On Tuesday, the Slovak Supreme Court is set to deliver its decision on the prosecution’s appeal in the murder case of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová. Despite the nationwide uproar, last September the Special Criminal Court found businessman Marian Kočner and his associate Alena Zsuzsová not guilty of ordering the murder in 2018. The court justified its decision by a lack of evidence.
- Bulgaria: The caretaker government which has been in charge since 12 May will report the results of its actions so far.
- Romania: Prime minister Florin Citu will attend the plenary meeting of the Coalition for Romania’s Development (CDR), an organisation that groups the most representative business organisations in the country.
- Croatia: Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to meet World Bank representatives.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butković and BIH’s Transport Minister Vojin Mitrović will visit several bridge projects across the Sava River between the two countries.
- Montenegro: The daily international high-speed train linking Bar and Belgrade will start running again from Tuesday.
- Kosovo: Prime Minister Albin Kurti to meet with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Paula Kenny, Josie Le Blond]