Minister: Those who bombed Serbia cannot ask it to join Russia sanctions

Although it’s an EU-candidate country and is supposed to align with EU foreign policy, Serbia has not joined the EU in imposing sanctions against Russia, drawing criticism in in Brussles and across the bloc. [Shutterstock/goja1]

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In today’s news from the Capitals:

ATHENS

The countries that bombed Serbia do not have the “moral right” to ask Belgrade to follow their line and impose sanctions against Moscow, Serbian Minister of Internal Affairs Aleksandar Vulin told EURACTIV Greece in an exclusive interview. Read more.

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PARIS

Pro-Macron parties join forces in ‘confederation’. Recently re-elected President Emmanuel Macron is rallying his supporters ahead of the June legislative elections, while the left is bidding to take over the National Assembly. Read more.

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BERLIN

Zelenskyy ends diplomatic row with Germany over Steinmeier disinvitation. After Ukrainian authorities said in mid-April that German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was not welcome in Ukraine over his alleged ties to Russia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reconciled with Steinmeier in a phone call on Thursday and invited him and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Kyiv. Read more.

Germany ready to help landlocked EU states access LNG, Scholz says. Germany will show solidarity with European Union countries seeking alternatives to Russian gas and oil, for example helping eastern states without ports in the North or Baltic Seas access liquefied natural gas (LNG), Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Thursday (5 May). Read more.


UK AND IRELAND

DUBLIN 

Musk’s purchase of Twitter ‘dangerous narcissism’, says Irish President. Irish President Michael D. Higgins has criticised the involvement of billionaires in decision-making on public discourse, describing it as “dangerous narcissism”, in particular reference to Elon Musk buying Twitter. Read more.

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LONDON

‘Embarrassed to be British’, say Brits living in EU. Many Britons living in the EU feel disconnected from and embarrassed by their country since Brexit, according to new research published on Wednesday. Read more.

Johnson drops plans for new protocol law. The UK government appears to have shelved plans to introduce a bill that would override the controversial Northern Ireland protocol.

On Thursday, government officials confirmed that the Queen’s speech next Tuesday, 10 May, which sets out the government’s legislative plans for the next year, will not include a law to scrap the protocol, despite weeks of speculation that Boris Johnson’s government was planning to do so. Read more.


NORDICS AND BALTICS

HELSINKI

Russian-backed trolls target Finnish media in smear campaign. A Russian troll farm with indirect backing from the Kremlin has targeted Finnish media outlets and their journalists and editors as part of a harassment campaign. Read more.

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STOCKHOLM

Swedish right-wing leader calls for deportation of foreigners before they break law. Even if they have not committed a crime, foreign nationals linked to gang crime must be deported, Ulf Kristersson, leader of the right-wing party, the Moderates, told the SVT Morgonstudion on Thursday. Read more. 

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COPENHAGEN

Russia expels seven Danes amid rising tensions. Seven Danish nationals working at the Danish Embassy in Moscow have been given two weeks to leave Russia, Russian news agency TASS agency and Danish broadcaster DR reported. Read more.


EUROPE’S SOUTH

MADRID

Spanish secret services spied on pro-independence Catalan leaders. Spain’s intelligence agency has spied, with legal authorisation, on about twenty pro-independence Catalan politicians, Paz Esteban, the director of the Spanish National Intelligence Centre, acknowledged before a special parliamentary commission on Thursday. Read more.

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ATHENS

Greek MP: Reporters without Borders are insignificant, ‘leftist’ NGO. Conservative lawmaker Dimitris Markopoulos, a former journalist, has lashed out against the Reporters Without Borders (RSF), describing it as a ‘leftist NGO’ over a recent report showing that Greece is the worst EU country when it comes to press freedom. Read more.

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ROME

Strasbourg Court condemns Italy over Ilva emissions, again. The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday once again condemned Italy for putting citizens’ health at risk because of the pollution at the Ilva steel plant in Taranto. Read more.

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LISBON

Portugal to contribute €2.1 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Portugal will contribute €2.1 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, announced Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa on Thursday. Read more.


VISEGRAD 

BUDAPEST 

Trump to skip American rights annual meetup in Budapest. Former US President Donald Trump will not attend this year’s annual largest and most influential gathering of American conservatives in Budapest this month despite speculation to the contrary, EURACTIV’s media partner Telex reported. Read more.

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WARSAW

Controversial Polish minister could face no-confidence vote. Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro should face a vote of no confidence in parliament according to the Civic Platform (PO), the largest opposition party, backed by the agrarian Polish People’s Party (PSL). Read more. 

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PRAGUE

Czech government sends Ukraine more humanitarian aid. The Czech government will send Ukraine another €18 million in humanitarian aid, totalling €40 million, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský said at Thursday’s donor conference in Warsaw that raised $6.5 billion for Ukraine. Read more.

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BRATISLAVA

Slovak government in turmoil after failed vote on former PM’s custody. Slovakia’s government has been unable to gather enough votes for an independent court to decide whether former Prime Minister and current MP Robert Fico should be prosecuted for allegedly orchestrating a criminal ring. Read more.


NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

ZAGREB

Croatia readies euro notes, price controls ahead of joining eurozone. Croatia has taken further steps in preparations for joining the eurozone, as Central Bank Governor Boris Vujčić said Zagreb is only waiting for the confirmation of its admission to the euro area before it starts large-scale printing of euros. Read more.

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SOFIA

Bulgaria seeks shelter for 30,000 Ukrainian refugees. Of the nearly 60,000 Ukrainian refugees that will need to leave hotels on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast by the end of May, only 33,000 can so far be guaranteed accommodation due to hoteliers preparing for the summer season. Read more.

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BUCHAREST

Romanian carrier Tarom gets €1.9 million in state aid. Romanian flag carrier Tarom has received €1.9 million in financial support to cover losses made due to the COVID-19 pandemic during the second half of 2020 after it was recently approved by the European Commission. Read more.

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LJUBLJANA 

Slovenian government’s COVID-19 decree declared unconstitutional. Slovenia’s top court ruled on Thursday that the government decree governing the checking of COVID passes in public places is unconstitutional – delivering yet another blow to the government’s pandemic rule-by-decree policy. Read more.

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BELGRADE | BERLIN | SARAJEVO | PRISTINA

German defence minister welcomes Serbia’s stance on Bosnia, Russia. German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht welcomed Serbia’s “clear positioning” on Russia’s war in Ukraine and the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, stressing, however, that progress on the normalisation of relations with Pristina was needed for the EU accession process. Read more.

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TIRANA

EU asylum given to 225 Albanians, 2,000 sent home. As Albania struggles with a declining birth rate, ageing population and mass emigration, the issue of asylum-seeking in EU countries continues to prevail as thousands applied for asylum in the EU during 2021, with 225 receiving protection. Read more.


AGENDA:

  • Italy: Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić to participate in a conference on the state of the EU organised by the European University Institute. She is scheduled to speak at a panel called Crisis and Change – European Prospects of Western Balkans.
  • Serbia:  President Aleksandar Vučić to meet with Serge Brammetz, the chief prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanism for the Criminal Tribunal for war crimes in former Yugoslavia.
  • Slovakia: Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď, together with his German and Dutch counterparts, will visit the NATO personnel working at Sliač.

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

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