Macron pleases EU capitals, particularly Russia’s neighbours

Most EU leaders focused on democracy winning against the extreme right in their congratulation messages. In contrast, others reminded President Emmanuel Macron that he needs to pay more attention to social and ecological policies.  [EURACTIV/Sarantis Michalopoulos]

The Capitals brings you the latest news from across Europe, through on-the-ground reporting by EURACTIV’s media network. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

Before you start reading today’s edition of the Capitals, feel free to have a look at the article EU-India trade talks gain momentum amid Ukraine war written by Alexandra Brzozowski.

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

Editor’s take: A collective sigh of relief. Losing Emmanuel Macron, one of Europe’s few political poster boys, would have been a disaster. A Marine Le Pen presidency would have been a body blow for the EU on a par with Brexit. That crisis has been avoided. Read more.

In today’s news from the Capitals:


For many different reasons, leaders across Europe have hailed the victory of Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the French elections. Most EU leaders focused on democracy winning against the extreme right in their congratulation messages. In contrast, others reminded President Emmanuel Macron that he needs to pay more attention to social and ecological policies. Read more.



Dutch to stop using Russian gas by year-end. The Netherlands plans to end its reliance on Russian gas by the end of 2022 by focusing on saving energy, sustainability, and importing energy from other countries, Climate Minister Rob Jetten said during a cabinet meeting on Friday, Dutch News reports. Read more.



Macron’s re-election could reduce Germany’s influence in Europe. The re-election of French President Emmanuel Macron has strengthened his vision of a sovereign Europe and could also reduce Germany’s potential for political leadership within the EU. Read more.



Finland reduces electricity transmission from Russia. Finland has decided to restrict the transmission capacity in cross-border connections to Russia as it fears cyberattacks and other forms of harassment if it applies for NATO membership. Read more.



Christian Democrat leader supported by party after riot statements. Christian Democrat (KD) leader Ebba Busch continues to have strong support from her party despite her comments following the Easter riots having attracted widespread criticism, including from the police’s union, station TV4 Nyheterna reported. Read more.

Sweden denies involvement in Ukrainian reconstruction. Sweden and Ukraine have not struck an agreement about rebuilding the southern Mykolaiv region, the foreign ministry wrote in a communiqué, denying the announcement made by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Read more.



Italy mulls sending more heavy weapons to Ukraine. The government is considering adopting a new military package by decree that would allow it to send heavier weapons to Ukraine. Read more.



Catalonian president issues Madrid ultimatum after espionage scandal. Pro-independence President of the Catalan regional government (“Generalitat”), Pere Aragonès, has issued an ultimatum to the Spanish government to shed light on the alleged espionage case against dozens of pro-independence Catalan leaders, including himself, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported. Read more.



Commissioner Jourova expects sixth Russia sanction package this week. European Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová said she expects the sixth sanction package against Russia to be introduced as soon as this week. Read more.



Polish PM shames Western Europe in bloc-wide pro-Ukraine campaign. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki launched an EU-wide billboard campaign to ” wake Europe’s conscience” and discourage the West from economic cooperation with Russia, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna daily reported. Read more.



Hungarian HR ministry appeals court decision of missing respirator sale data. The Hungarian ministry of human resources said it would appeal a recently lost case in the first instance court against anti-graft watchdog Transparency International in the public access to documents case, Telex reports. Read more.



Slovakia looks to home-grown uranium to cut Russian nuclear dependence. Uranium mining in the country’s east could be a solution to cutting dependency on Russia’s nuclear fuel supplies, Economy Minister Richard Sulík has said.  Read more.



Bulgaria negotiates gas independence from Russia. Bulgaria will be independent of Russian gas supplies and the only issue to resolve before signing a contract for alternative supplies is the price, said Democratic Bulgaria MP and deputy chairman of the energy committee in the Parliament, Ivaylo Mirchevon, on Saturday before BNT. Read more.



Croatia commemorates Roma killed by Ustasha in WWII for the first time. A group of Roma killed in the village of Hrastina by Croatian Ustasha units from 24-25 April 1945 was commemorated for the first time at the Marija Gorica cemetery on Sunday. Read more.



Russian aeroplane arrives in Belgrade via Bulgaria.
A Russian Ilyushin-Il-96-300 passenger aeroplane flew from Sochi to Belgrade via Bulgaria on Sunday morning, although the country officially closed its airspace for Russian planes in February, the Belgrade N1 Television reported. Read more.



Albania looks at gasification with a €4 billion price tag. Amid the global energy crisis, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, Albania is working to diversify its energy sources, including by introducing gas and wind power, with the former set to cost up to €4 billion to implement. Read more.


  • Czech Republic: Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský visits the US to discuss Russian aggression against Ukraine.


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

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