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In today’s news from the Capitals:
NATO leaders will gather in Brussels for a summit on Monday (14 June) to re-orient the alliance after its identity crisis over the past years. The meeting is sandwiched between the G7 summit in Britain and an EU–US summit.
The questions are significant: How to respond to an assertive Russia and China? What to do about rogue member Turkey? How to deepen EU-NATO relations? What to do about climate change? EURACTIV has seen a draft summit communiqué. Here’s what we know.
Germany’s Green party confirms chancellor candidate. Germany’s Green party has confirmed co-leader Annalena Baerbock as its candidate to succeed Angela Merkel at September’s crunch election, with the membership backing her candidacy with 98.5% of the vote. Read more.
France’s chief of staff steps down from role. France’s top military official, General François Lecointre, has announced that he will step down on 21 July. Read more.
Austria and Greece to team up on migration. Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer and Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis signalled a common position on European migration issues after talks in Vienna on Sunday (13 June). Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
Delta variant causes headaches. Ministers will announce on Monday whether to proceed with the final step of removing all remaining legal limits on social contact on 21 June amid growing speculation that what the UK press has dubbed “freedom day” will be delayed by up to a month. More.
Irish foreign minister says UK unilateral action ‘never works’. Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has warned the British government that “unilateral action, when it comes to sensitive issues in Northern Ireland never works,” the Irish Times has reported. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Finns Party makes massive strides in municipal elections. Finland’s right-wing populist Finns Party has made some of the biggest gains in the country’s municipal elections, according to initial results. Read more.
TALLINN | HELSINKI
Tensions mount between Estonia and Finland over travel restrictions. Travel restrictions imposed by Finland are causing tension with Estonia, as Finland’s strict COVID-19 exit strategy has only allowed commuting by air, subjecting those travelling by ferry to quarantine and leaving some 20,000 Estonian workers who have been staying in Finland without a chance to visit home and family. Read more.
Italian PM on Brexit: the agreements must be maintained. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said at the final press conference of the G7 summit in Cornwall on Sunday that in the negotiations between the EU and the UK “agreements are agreements and must be kept.” Read more.
Thousands rally in Madrid against pardons for Catalan separatists. Thousands of people gathered in Madrid on Sunday (13 June) to protest against pardons the Spanish government is poised to grant to 12 Catalan separatist leaders serving sentences of between 9 and 13 years in prison for their roles in an unauthorised independence referendum. Read the full story.
Poland layout their expectations from NATO summit. Poland has said it expects its allies to declare the adoption of a new strategic concept and a clear affirmation of continued American commitment to the security of Europe, including the eastern flank of NATO ahead of a summit. Read more.
Czech PM calls the European Prosecutor a ‘new whip’. Czech authorities have shifted the case of Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his conflict of interest onto the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), which has confirmed they have taken the case. Babiš responded by calling the EPPO a “new whip” that can be used against him. Read more.
Hungarian parliament prepares to pass Russian-style LGBTQI bill. After passing through the legislative committee on Thursday, Hungary’s parliament is set to debate on Monday (14 June) legislation that would lump together sexual minorities and paedophiles ahead of a vote the following day. Read more.
Slovakia’s ruling party polls lowest since before election. Slovakia’s ruling OĽANO (Ordinary People and Independent Personalities) party is continuing to slump in the polls despite the recent resignation of Igor Matovič as prime minister in the wake of a scandal over procurement of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Romania asks Commission to delay recovery plan evaluation. Romania has officially requested an extension of the evaluation period for the recovery and resilience plan after it received wide-ranging criticism from the European Commission. Read more.
OLAF uncovers fraud in Ancient city under Sofia project. The European Commission has allocated €8 million for a project to expose the ruins of the ancient city of Serdica, located in the centre of Sofia, but an investigation from European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) shows that half of these funds have been misused in the project. Read more.
ZAGREB | SARAJEVO
Croatian president, foreign minister bicker over NATO declaration. Some countries do not want the closing declaration of the coming NATO summit in Brussels to mention the Dayton Peace Agreement and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s three constituent peoples but Croatia will not agree to that, President Zoran Milanović said on Sunday. However, Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said that leaving BiH out of a NATO closing declaration was “groundless”. Read more.
Slovenian oversight institutions want political pressure to end. The heads of four independent Slovenian oversight institutions have signed an unprecedented joint statement demanding respect for independent state bodies which they say are being undermined by political pressure and attacks. Read more.
SKOPJE | ATHENS
EURO 2020 triggers spat between Athens, Skopje. After Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias sent a letter to his counterpart Bujar Osmani requesting full and consistent implementation of the Prespa Agreement in response to the logo of the Football Federation of Macedonia (FFM) that features on the national jerseys of the Macedonian players, Osmani said the initials were not contrary to the agreement. Read more.
US, Albania sign 5G tech coordination agreement. Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama met Sunday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Brussels, where they jointly signed the US-Albania agreement on 5G Albanian coordination, Albania Daily News reported. Read more.
- Luxembourg: Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Defence Minister François Bausch, will participate in the summit of the NATO heads of state and government in Brussels.
- Belgium: At NATO, US President Joe Biden to meet Turkey’s President Erdogan for bilateral talks.
- Greece: Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Brussles on the sidelines of the NATO summit.
- Italy: Prime Minister Mario Draghi will attend the NATO summit in Brussels.
- Spain: The health ministry will release the latest pandemic update, as vaccination gathers pace within 40-50 age group
- Poland: During the NATO Summit, President Andrzej Duda will hold bilateral meetings during the NATO summit with French and North Macedonian counterparts, Emmanuel Macron and Stavo Pendarovski, as well as with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
- Slovakia: Economy Minister Richard Sulík will get publicly vaccinated after he said he considers himself to be naturally immune.
- Romania: President Klaus Iohannis will lead the Romanian delegation to the NATO summit in Brussels
- Croatia: The HDZ presidency and the National Council are to hold a meeting via video link.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Paula Kenny, Josie Le Blond]