New Czech FM to target Chinese investments

The Czech President is believed to be willing to block the formation of the new Czech government just to prevent Lipavský from becoming the foreign minister. [EPA-EFE/MADOKA IKEGAMI]

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.


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


In today’s news from the Capitals:

EDITOR’S TAKE

The Mediterranean battle exposes EU strategic autonomy illusion. The ongoing silent “war” over which EU state will have the Mediterranean region under its sphere of influence threatens EU goal for a more coordinated approach in foreign matters. Read more.

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PRAGUE

Czechia’s likely next Foreign Minister, Jan Lipavský (Pirates, Greens/EFA affiliated), wants to change the course of the country’s foreign policy and prioritise human rights over economic interests. Read more.

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BERLIN

Germany mulls mandatory vaccination as pandemic hits hard. With the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and hospital beds being in increasingly short supply, multiple leading German politicians are speaking out in favour of making vaccines mandatory – something which was initially considered taboo. Read more.

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PARIS

Fisheries dispute: France promises to ‘continue the fight’. Maritime Minister Annick Girardin told fishermen during a trip to northern France that the executive will “not give up at all” in the dispute over fishing licences with the British government. Read more.

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VIENNA

Thousands in Vienna protest against mandatory vaccines. Around 40,000 people poured onto the streets of Vienna to protest against the total lockdown that is to be introduced from Monday, as well as the new measures that will make vaccines mandatory from February 2022. Read more.


UK AND IRELAND

DUBLIN

Tractor convoy protests against CAP in Dublin. Farmers from across Ireland gathered on Sunday to protest against the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), arriving in the capital in a fleet of tractors. Read more.


NORDICS AND BALTICS

HELSINKI

Finnish startup leads way in producing food without use of land, livestock. Solar Foods, a startup born in 2017 out of the research project by VTT Technical Research Centre and LUT University in Eastern Finland, has come up with a method to produce sustainable and pure single-cell protein from carbon dioxide and electricity without the use of land and livestock. Read more.

Danish and Swedish socialists fight against minimum wage directive. The minimum wage directive is a key policy goal for European Social Democrats, but leftist parties and trade unions in Denmark and Sweden see it as a danger for their labour market model. They have collected enough signatures to force a vote in November’s European Parliament plenary, potentially delaying the directive for months. More.

China downgrades diplomatic ties with Lithuania over Taiwan. China downgraded its diplomatic ties with Lithuania on Sunday (21 November), expressing strong dissatisfaction with the Baltic State after Taiwan opened a de facto embassy there, escalating a row that has sucked in Washington. More.


EUROPE’S SOUTH

ROME

Italian trade unions: COVID-19 pass controls on public transport impossible. It is currently impossible to check peoples’ COVID passes on public transport because there is not enough staff to carry out such a task, trade unions in Rome have said. Read more.

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MADRID

Spain eyes EU Solidarity Fund for La Palma volcano damage. Spain will formally ask the European Commission to activate the EU Solidarity Fund to obtain extra resources to repair the damage caused by the volcanic eruption on La Palma island, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced on Friday. EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported. Read more.

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ATHENS 

Greek PM Mitsotakis repeats call for return of Parthenon marbles. Greek Prime Minister Kiriakos Mitsotakis has asked once again for the return of the Parthenon marbles in an article published in the Daily Mail on Sunday. Read more.


VISEGRAD 

WARSAW

Morawiecki: Belarus and Russia could take advantage of Afghanistan. There is a possibility that migrants from Afghanistan could benefit from the next wave of the migrant crisis, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Sunday, speaking alongside Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingride Šimonyte. Read more.

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BRATISLAVA

Slovak PM Heger pushes for mandatory vaccination amid collapsing healthcare. “For me, mandatory vaccination for people over 65 or 60 would be ideal. It depends on the experts. I think that even 50+ would make sense, but let us wait what the experts say,” said Prime Minister Eduard Heger, with the country facing the worst rate of new COVID-19 cases per 1,000 people and a collapsing healthcare system. Heger also said he was discussing such an option with constitutional lawyers. Read more.


NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

SOFIA

Bulgarian President Radev elected for a second term. Rumen Radev won a second presidential term in a runoff against GERB-backed candidate Anastas Gerdjikov with a very low turnout of just over 30%. According to Gallup International Balkan data from exit polls, Radev received 65.8% of the vote against 31.8% for Gerdjikov in the runoff. Read more. 

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BUCHAREST

Romania close to having a new government. The new governing coalition is ready, all it needs is the president’s blessing and a prime minister. The centre-right parties PNL and UDMR have reached an agreement with the socialist PSD to form the new government, but the prime minister’s name is still unknown. Read more.

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ZAGREB

Journalist attacked during anti-vaxxer protest in Zagreb. RTL television reporter Goran Latković was assaulted during a protest against mandatory COVID-19 certificates in Zagreb on Saturday while covering the event. Read more.

German reporter fined €480 for unlawfully crossing border with migrants. The municipal court in Karlovac imposed a €480 fine on a German reporter for having tried to illegally cross from Bosnia and Herzegovina into Croatia with a group of migrants.

The group of eight people, including the 44-year-old German journalist, was caught by the Croatian police trying to illegally enter Croatia near the town of Cetingrad. After they were caught, the seven migrants said that they would request international protection in Croatia.

(Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)

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LJUBLJANA 

Slovenia opts for fresh round of stimulus measures. The government has proposed additional aid for businesses and the most vulnerable to shield them from rising prices as the country grapples with the worst pandemic wave so far. Read more. 

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BELGRADE 

Siemens Mobility Serbia to deliver first tram to Nuremberg. The Siemens Mobility Serbia company will deliver the first tram entirely manufactured by the Kragujevac factory to the German city of Nuremberg, it was announced on Friday (19 November). This will be the first of 12 to be produced in Serbia for the German city.

According to the statement, the Avenio trams made in Serbia, together with G1 subway trains, also supplied by Siemens, will be part of the modernisation of the city public transport system in which Nuremberg is investing. The assembly of this shipment of trams began in summer 2021. The Avenio trams are 36.9 meters long, have a maximum speed of 70 kilometres per hour, and can carry 218 passengers. 

(EURACTIV.rs | betabriefing.com)

CoE asks Belgrade to stop glorifying war criminals. The Serbian government must take action against the glorification of crimes against humanity and instantly remove the mural of war crimes convict Ratko Mladic, according to rapporteurs from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Read more.

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SARAJEVO 

Bosniak part leader in BiH: HDZ will get nothing on electoral law if no compromise. “If HDZ is not ready to compromise, then it will not get anything,” said Bakir Izetbegović, president of the biggest Bosniak party SDA, about the changes to the constitution and electoral law. Read more.

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SKOPJE

Zaev to resign when majority in Sobranje confirmed. Media in North Macedonia reported that Prime Minister Zoran Zaev would resign as soon as the majority in parliament, the Sobranje, is consolidated and strengthened. Read more.

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PRISTINA | BELGRADE

Serbia unhappy after Kosovo leader hints at unification with Albania. Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić has reacted strongly after her Kosovo counterpart Albin Kurti hinted at a possible referendum on unifying with neighbouring Albania. Read more.

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TIRANA

Albania to impose big penalties on polluters. Those found throwing litter or dumping waste in Albania will now face high fines according to Prime Minister Edi Rama, although proper waste collection and recycling remains unavailable.  Read more.

AGENDA:

  • EU: EU-Central Asia ministerial in Dushanbe Tajikistan with EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell and Commissioner Urpillainen / European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg.
  • Germany: Berlin Foreign Policy Forum addressed by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
  • Belgium: Prime Minister Alexander De Croo meets French counterpart Jean Castex / New Covid restrictions including mask-wearing and home office come into force.
  • Austria: Belarus’ opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya visits, attends online conference on Belarus / Nationwide covid lockdown for all comes into force.
  • Hungary: UN rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression Irene Khan holds press conference in Budapest.
  • Slovakia: Covid restrictions on unvaccinated come into force.
  • Croatia: Prime Minister Andrej Plenković receives Judge Carmel Agius, the president of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT), the successor to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). President and Armed Forces’ Supreme Commander and Defence Minister Mario Banožić attend the ceremony of seeing off the 36th contingent of Croatian troops to the NATO-led KFOR mission in Kosovo.
  • Slovenia: Parliament will vote on a motion of no confidence in Justice Minister Marjan Dikaučič over problems concerning the appointment of European delegated prosecutors.
  • Serbia: At Novi Sad Railway Station rail yard, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić will attend a  ceremony on Novi Sad-Kelebija stretch, part of the Belgrade-Budapest high-speed rail project, with Hungarian Foreign and Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto and Chinese Ambassador to Belgrade Chen Bo.

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

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