‘Legal’ pushbacks: EU walking on a tightrope

Asked by EURACTIV, EU Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said on Wednesday that not only Lithuania, but also other member states have similar ideas. [EPA-EFE/VALDA KALNINA]

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In today’s news from the Capitals:


‘Legal’ pushback: EU walking on a tightrope: Faced with a stalemate in talks over a new EU migration pact, several member states have tabled a proposal to legalise pushbacks. Considering that no joint EU response on migration is expected before the French elections in April 2022, the EU will be walking on a tightrope. Read more.



Slovenia hosts EU non-proliferation and disarmament directors. Slovenia hosted on Wednesday (29 September) an informal meeting of EU non-proliferation and disarmament directors as part of the country’s EU Council presidency, the Foreign Ministry said. More.



German Greens and liberal FDP agree to form coalition negotiation bloc. With the Greens and the business-liberal friendly FDP now holding the keys to the chancellery following their solid election results on Sunday, Green co-leaders Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck met with FDP top officials on Tuesday. The aim of the meeting with chief Christian Lindner and the party’s secretary-general, Volker Wissing, was to explore whether they could find a common position before talking to the bigger parties to form a governing coalition. Read more.



French PM announces relaunch of ‘sustainable’ social housing. As tensions on the housing market have risen over the past decade, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced some measures on Wednesday to relaunch construction and promote affordable housing. Read more.



EU Court orders Tuifly and Ryanair to repay millions to Austria. ON WEDNESDAY, the EU Court of Justice ruled that Belgian chartered airline TUIfly and low-cost carrier Ryanair must repay €13 million in subsidies from the Austrian government in 2016. Read more.




Ireland could face electricity crisis for winters to come. Ireland could face electricity deficits for the next five winters, a report produced by Irish state-owned electric power operator EirGrid has warned. Read more.



Rail Baltic completion postponed until 2030. The Rail Baltic connection, linking Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to Central European destinations, will not be completed by 2026 as initially planned. Instead, it is expected to be completed by 2030, which coincides with completing the rest of the European-wide transport network TENT-T. Read more.



Prosecutor to investigate capital share increase of public electricity company.  Greek financial prosecutor Christos Bardakis has asked for an investigation into Public Power Corporation’s (PPC) share capital increase a week after the announcement. The decision will see the state lose its majority share in the company and has sparked concerns over possible share manipulation. Read more.



Portugal: Lithium preliminary environmental report identifies ‘some risks’. The preliminary environmental impact assessment report for the Lithium Prospecting and Exploration Programme identified “some risks” in the eight potential areas in the north and centre of the country, but still recognised the opportunity this could have for the economy’s decarbonisation. More.



Draghi: Italian economy doing better than expected. The economic situation in Italy “is far better than we could have thought in the spring,” said Prime Minister Mario Draghi at a meeting where he shared promising figures on the country’s economic and financial forecasts.

According to updated estimates, the Italian GDP is expected to grow by 6% this year, while net debt should fall to 9.4% of the GDP.  (Viola Stefanello | EURACTIV.it)



Fans to return to Spain’s stadiums in full force as COVID-19 cases dip. Football stadiums will return to full capacity this weekend for the first time since the COVID-19 lockdown last year, the country’s health ministry said Wednesday. Read more.

Noah’s Arc providing La Palma’s livestock shelter from the ashes. The eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma is destroying some of the most fertile agricultural lands in the Canary Islands. It is also threatening livestock essential for the survival of artisan dairies and farmers. Read the full story.



Slovakia’s recycling numbers allegedly overrated, fraudulent. While Eurostat figures state that Slovakia recycles 38.5% of its municipal waste, the numbers could be deliberately inflated, Denník N media outlet has reported. Read more.



Czech PM advocates for emission allowances cap. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis called on the European Council to discuss carbon emission allowances and a cap on energy prices during its next meeting. Read more.



Black Sea faces ecological catastrophe due to Bulgaria’s inaction. The cargo ship Vera Su, which flies the Panamanian flag and has a Turkish crew, crashed and ran aground on the high rocky Bulgarian coast a few kilometres from the Kaliakra Nature Reserve on 20 September. If Bulgarian authorities fail to transfer the cargo to land, the more than 3,000 tons of urea on board could threaten to turn this part of the Black Sea – one of Europe’s most important natural habitats – into a dead zone. Read more.



Romanian government changes COVID-19 rules as incidence rate surpasses threshold. As the 14-day COVID-19 incidence rate in Bucharest went over the six per 1,000 persons threshold, the government decided to change some of the rules. Read more.



Croatian nationals to benefit from US visa waiver programme from December. Croatian citizens will be able to travel to the US without visas as of 1 December, Interior Minister Davor Božinović told national television HRT. He added that “this news testifies to the fact that Croatia is recognised as a strategic security partner, there are a number of agreements, technical adjustments.” Read more.



Slovenia suspends use of J&J coronavirus vaccine. Slovenia on Wednesday suspended the use of the single-shot coronavirus vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson after a twenty-year-old woman died two weeks after receiving the shot.  This development risks undermining Slovenia’s already slow vaccine uptake fuelled by a potent anti-vaccination movement. Read more.



North Kosovo situation, a ‘matter of great concern for Moscow’. “The situation in the north of Kosovo was a matter of great concern for Moscow,” the Russian ambassador to Serbia, Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, told Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić on Wednesday. He underlined that “responsibility for the new crisis rests on the provisional institutions in Pristina, which break or fail to implement the agreements signed earlier,” the Office of the Serbian President quoted the Russian diplomat as saying. Read more.



Kosovo PM Kurti: Serbian president Vucic is ‘the problem’. Serbs that block two border crossings are under pressure from Belgrade, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti told the Croatian national television (HRT) in an interview. He added that “the problem is Serbia, especially the president of that country who thinks and talks like in the 90s of the last century.” Read more.


  • France: Ecological Transition Minister Barbara Pompili and Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire will take part in today’s National Council on hydrogen.
  • Poland: EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson is scheduled to meet Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński in Warsaw to discuss the border situation with Belarus. Meanwhile, the Constitutional Tribunal may rule on the constitutionality of certain EU Treaty provisions.
  • Romania: A censure motion is due to be read before parliament.
  • Croatia: Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s officials to attend the ceremony of the formal opening of Svilaj Bridge across the River Sava from Croatia to BiH
  • Slovenia: Prime Minister Janez Janša will pay a working visit to the UK for talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
  • Serbia: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to end her visit to Serbia as part of a tour of the Western Balkans. Meanwhile, Serbia’s culture and information ministry will sign a programme of cooperation in the field of culture and art with China’s culture and tourism ministry for the 2021-2024 period.


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

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