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In today’s news from the Capitals:
Sweden’s new Muslim party launches campaign to enter parliament. A pro-Islamic Party Nyanset (Nuance Party) is targeting Sweden’s Turkish and Muslim communities in a bid to reach the election threshold of 4% and enter parliament in the 2022 elections. Read more.
EU justice ministers call for close monitoring of high risk fans at Euro2020. European Union justice ministers meeting under the Portuguese presidency have called for close monitoring of risk supporters during the European football championships, stressing that the format of the competition already poses “a unique security challenge”. Read the full story.
Belgian socialists in favour of headscarf ban. Belgium’s Parti Socialiste (PS) has unexpectedly spoken out in favour of a headscarf ban in a debate that has been raging in the country since last week. Read more.
In other news, Brussels mayors have agreed that from 9 June, it will no longer be mandatory to wear a mask outdoors, with the exception of busy shopping streets, reports Le Soir. (Alexandra Brzozowski, EURACTIV.com)
German health minister accused of distributing faulty masks to the homeless. German Health Minister Jens Spahn of the Christian Democrats (CDU) has been accused of deliberately distributing faulty masks to the needy during the coronavirus pandemic, leading to calls for his resignation. Read more.
France wants to become nation of large tech companies. French Economy Minister Bruno le Maire has said his country will strive to promote big tech. “We were a start-up nation, we are going to become a nation of large technology companies“, le Maire told a conference on financing the Fourth Industrial Revolution on Monday (7 June). Read the full story.
Austria misses deadline to implement EU copyright directive. The Austrian government has cited “the balancing of interests” as the reason for missing the deadline to implement the EU’s copyright directive. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
War of words intensifies on Northern Ireland Protocol dispute. The war of words between UK and EU officials is continuing ahead of a crunch meeting on the Northern Ireland Protocol, when Brexit Minister David Frost is due to meet European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic in London. Read the full story.
DUP members leave party after several office holders are removed. Several members of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have resigned amid claims of a “purge” of those who were concerned over the departure of former leader Arlene Foster. So far, Newry, Mourne and Down councillors Kathryn Owen and Glyn Hanna and former Westminster election candidate Diane Forsythe, who is Hanna’s daughter, have left the party.
The move was sparked by a vote to remove Glyn Hanna as chair of the DUP South Down Association at an AGM meeting at the weekend, as reported by the Irish Times. “I believe this is the beginning of the purge of anyone who spoke against the leadership so I encourage others in the DUP with decency and integrity to consider their position,” Hanna said. Hanna claimed there had been “open and unashamed bullying” by some in the party. (Paula Kenny | EURACTIV.com)
Italian economy minister: Alitalia relaunch negotiations to end soon. Italian Economy Minister Daniele Franco told parliament during a hearing on Monday that the country hopes to “close by the end of the month the negotiations with the European Commission for the relaunch of the Italian national airline Alitalia.” Read more.
Greece presses ‘safe’ Turkey to readmit migrants. Turkey is a safe country for most asylum seekers now housed on Greek islands, Greece’s migration ministry has said, as Athens seeks to speed up repatriations to its eastern neighbour. Read the full story.
Cyprus government broke its own laws in granting ‘golden passports’, inquiry finds. Cyprus’s government broke the law on countless occasions in granting citizenship to thousands of people in a now discredited passports-for-cash scheme, an official inquiry has found. More.
BUDAPEST | BRATISLAVA
Slovakia to also accept Hungarian vaccine certificate, Russian, Chinese jabs. Slovakia will recognise Hungarian vaccination certificates, including the cards of those who received the Russian or Chinese-developed jabs, Slovak Foreign Secretary Martin Klus has said, TASR agency reported. Read more.
PRAGUE | WARSAW
Czechia ready to withdraw lawsuit against Poland under certain conditions. Coal mining at the Turów coal mine can go ahead, but Poland must pay Czechia compensation of €40 million to €50 million and review the permitting processes under which Polish authorities prolonged the license for mining, according to a Czech proposal. Read more.
Slovakia appoints new minister of agriculture. Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová will appoint Samuel Vlčan as agricultural minister on Tuesday after he was appointed by Prime Minister Eduard Heger. The move comes despite incumbent Ján Mičovský announcing his decision to withdraw his resignation and to continue in the role. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
TIRANA | THE HAGUE
Netherlands close to approving Albania membership talks with conditions. The Dutch government has presented a report about the start of EU membership talks with Albania to parliament, listing six conditions that it considered should be met in view of the intergovernmental conference. Read more.
Slovenia urged yet again to name delegated prosecutors. European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders has reiterated his call for Slovenia to appoint European delegated prosecutors after Slovenia annulled the appointment procedure. “We need two European delegated prosecutors from Slovenia,” he told the press on the sidelines of a meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council on Monday (7 June). More.
Bulgarian police seizes 500kg of heroin set for Western Europe. Bulgarian police seized 500kg of heroin hidden in a warehouse in the industrial zone of the southern Bulgarian city of Sliven, having arrived through the port of Varna, which is emerging as a major entry point for drug trafficking through the Balkans to the EU. Read more.
Romanian adopts 5G law that could exclude Huawei. Romania’s parliament approved a law to regulate telecom networks and infrastructure, which could exclude Chinese giant Huawei from having access to its future 5G mobile networks. Read more.
Croatia signs ‘Global Pledge on Media Freedom’ document. Croatia’s Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek signed a Global Pledge on Media Freedom during a meeting with the UK’s undersecretary for European neighbourhood and the Americas, Wendy Morton, in Zagreb on Monday, the ministry said in a statement. Read more.
Serbian government passes resolution to support energy chapter in EU accession talks. The Serbian government passed a resolution to support Serbia’s negotiating position for Chapter XV – Energy, ahead of the next EU-Serbia intergovernmental conference, the ministry of mining and energy reported on Monday. Read more.
In the final verdict in the trial of Serb wartime commander Ratko Mladić, a life sentence should be confirmed, according to the chief prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT), Serge Brammertz.
The chief prosecutor thus warned against attempts to downplay war crimes and contest the facts established by the court. Mladić, whom media have named the “Butcher of Bosnia” for his role in the worst atrocities on European soil after World War II, was in 2017 found guilty of genocide in Srebrenica, crimes against humanity and breaches of laws and customs of war during the 1992-1995 war in BiH. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)
North Macedonia’s GDP contracts 1.9% in first quarter of 2021. North Macedonia’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 1.9% in the first quarter of 2021, the state statistical office announced.
In the same period, the export of goods and services increased by 18.3% in nominal terms, while the import of goods and services increased by 11.2%. Moreover, almost 70% of the German investors who have made investments in North Macedonia said they would do it again, a poll implemented by the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in North Macedonia showed. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)
A third of Montenegro’s builders work on the black market. Six Albanian citizens who were injured at a construction site near Podgorica on 18 May were hired illegally, the Centre for Investigative Journalism of Montenegro (CIN-CG) from the Directorate for Inspection Affairs (UIP) has confirmed.
A study conducted by the Trade Union of Construction and Construction Materials Industry, together with the International Labour Organisation, showed that 30% of construction workers were hired without employment contracts, Nenad Nenad Marković, the trade union’s president told CIN-CG. This means that of the 8,500 workers registered officially according to Monstat figures, another 3,000 are not registered. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)
- Slovakia: EURACTIV Slovakia will host an online debate (in English) at 10 pm about arms control in the post-Trump era, hosting Marjolijn van Deelen, Special Envoy for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation of the European External Action Service and others.
- Germany: Foreign Minister Heiko Maas host virtual call with representatives of the six Western Balkan countries.
- Greece: Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will visit United Arab Emirates today to discuss developments in the Eastern Mediterranean with his counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It’s the fourth visit to UAE since he took over the foreign policy portfolio.
- Bulgaria: Bulgarian Prime Minister Stefan Yanev will meet with his Albanian counterpart Edi Rama in Sofia to discuss the European integration of Western Balkan countries.
- Romania: Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is on an official Romania visit and is set to meet President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Florin Citu. He will also address parliament.
- Croatia: Prime Minister Andrej Plenković is set to meet all county prefects, the mayor of Zagreb and representatives of the associations of towns and municipalities to discuss further cooperation between the central government and local and regional government units, the priorities of the national recovery and resilience plan, the new EU multiannual financial framework, the COVID-19 vaccination process and preparations for the tourist season.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in Hague will deliver its final verdict in the case of Bosnian Serb wartime military commander Ratko Mladić.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Paula Kenny, Josie Le Blond]