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 “Czechs eyes coal phase-out by 2038” by Aneta Zachová.
The European news you deserve to read. Welcome to The Capitals by EURACTIV.
In today’s news from the Capitals:
France suggests implementing EU recovery plan without Hungary, Poland. “If Hungary and Poland still refuse to validate things as they stand, then we will have to come to a more radical solution which consists of implementing the European recovery plan for 25 member states,” French Europe Minister Clément Beaune, told weekly Journal du Dimanche on Sunday, ahead of the next European Council meeting on 10-11 December. Such a scenario, though, would result in a “de fact institutional paralysis”, an EU diplomat told EURACTIV.com.
Airlift of COVID-19 vaccines to the UK. Tens of millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured in Belgium could be flown to Britain by military aircraft to avoid delays at ports caused by Brexit. Read more.
Stricter lockdown for Bavaria. Bavarian leader Markus Söder (CSU) announced on Sunday that his state plans to tighten restrictions, declaring a “disaster situation.” Read more.
One in four non-COVID patients among Austrian death toll, study reveals. Among the people who died in Austria since the start of the pandemic, 25% were not being treated for COVID-19, according to a study conducted by the Austrian Health Academy now demonstrated. This is likely due to intensive care units being overwhelmed with coronavirus patients and people deciding to avoid hospitals for fear of being infected with the virus and thus delaying treatments for other ailments. (Philipp Grüll | EURACTIV.de)
UK AND IRELAND
LONDON | DUBLIN
EU-UK trade deal talks remain deadlocked after frantic weekend. EU officials suggested on Sunday that a compromise on the access of EU fishermen to UK waters was close to being finalised but that gaps still remain on whether the UK should stay bound by the bloc’s social and environmental standards. Meanwhile, Irish PM Micheal Martin is pushing for a Brexit deal. Read more.
Finns on the road to extinction. Finland’s birth rate in 2019 saw the most dramatic drop among Nordic countries compared to 2018, according to new figures published by Statistic Finland on Friday. Read more.
Italy’s M5S party ‘doesn’t like ESM reform, but will approve it’. A majority of MPs in the Italian parliament will vote in favour of reform of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) on Wednesday, Vito Crimi, the acting leader of populist party Five Star Movement (M5S), told TV channel Rai 3 on Sunday. Read more.
Spain’s former king submits tax regularisation before national tax agency. Spain’s former king, Juan Carlos I, submitted voluntarily before the Spanish tax agency (Agencia Tributaria) a tax regularisation statement, after local media reported extensively in recent weeks and months about alleged tax fraud cases said to be related to the former king. Read the full story.
EU countries feel ‘numb’ about Turkey. EU member states cannot find a common ground to respond to an escalating situation with Turkey ahead of a crucial summit later this week, EURACTIV has learnt. “The feelings in Brussels are numb”, diplomatic sources told EURACTIV on Friday (4 December). Red the full story.
Difficult for Poland to achieve climate goals without nuclear, says minister. It will be very difficult for Poland to achieve ambitious climate goals without nuclear energy, Polish Climate Minister Michał Kurtyka told Ambassador Richard Morningstar of the Washington-based Atlantic Council think-tank in an online discussion on Friday. Read more.
Czech parliament approves ‘vaccination law’. The Czech parliament approved a law on Friday for the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, which still has to be approved by the senate and signed by the president. According to the bill, the jab will be voluntary and fully covered by health insurance, and, according to Health Minister Jan Blatný, could even ensure possible damages caused by the vaccine are covered by compensation. The Czech health ministry aims to vaccinate 60-70% of the population. (Aneta Zachová | EURACTIV.cz)
Czechs eyes coal phase-out by 2038. The Czech coal commission recommended to phase out coal by 2038. Environmental groups, who fought for 2033, were outvoted and walked out of the commission in protest. Read the full story.
Hungarian FM causes stir in foreign elections – again. Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó took part in the political campaign in the run-up to the Romanian parliamentary elections on Sunday on behalf of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania party, (UDMR/RMDSZ) hvg.hu reported. Read more.
Slovakia’s appetite for early elections. 53.5% of Slovaks would support a referendum about early parliamentary elections although the last parliamentary elections took place just nine months ago, a poll by Focus agency for TV Markíza showed. Although referendums need a high turnout threshold to be valid in Slovakia, lawyers are concerned that cutting the government’s mandate short in such a way would not be in line with the constitution. (Zuzana Gabrižová | EURACTIV.sk)
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Bulgaria may not allow entry to non-vaccinated people. Bulgarian authorities are not excluding the possibility of only letting people who have taken the COVID-19 vaccine into the country, professor and head of the National Vaccination Headquarters, Krassimir Gigov, told the Bulgarian National Radio in an interview. Read more.
Romanian PM claims election win but one exit poll differs. Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban claimed victory in the national election on Sunday (6 December) seen as pivotal for the country’s future in the European mainstream, although one exit poll showed his ruling Liberals (PNL) losing by a narrow margin. Read more.
Croatian government proposes to reform referendum law. Croatia’s Justice and Public Administration Ministry has prepared a new bill on referendums, which introduces the possibility of parliament’s counter-proposal being put to a popular vote. Read more.
Meanwhile, rating agency Fitch affirmed Croatia’s long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating (IDR) at BBB-, assessing the outlook as stable and noting that it expects a gradual recovery from the coronavirus crisis with the help of EU funds. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)
Slovenian parliament urges government to reintroduce funding for national press agency STA. The government must immediately pay the overdue liabilities to the state-owned national press agency STA and stop smearing the agency, the parliamentary culture committee concluded during a seven-hour debate on the matter on Saturday, following the suggestion of opposition MPs. Read more.
Serbia to receive vaccines once approved, EU Commission chief confirms. Serbia will – in cooperation with the EU – have access to COVID-19 vaccines once they have been officially approved, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić on Friday. While COVID-19 restrictions had alleviated the situation, it was nevertheless necessary for people to continue respecting measures until there are enough vaccines, the two leaders were quoted as saying.
Serbia to invest €1 billion into healthcare infrastructure. Serbia will invest €1 billion into national healthcare infrastructure alone, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić said at the opening of a new COVID-19 hospital in the Belgrade suburb of Batajnica on Saturday. Read more.
BiH finds 100 migrant children near Croatian border. A large group of illegal migrants with more than a hundred children were found last week in an area bordering Croatia by inspectors of BiH’s service for foreigners’ affairs. The migrants were all transferred to reception centres in the northwestern Una-Sana Canton. About 8,000 illegal migrants are currently staying in BiH, according to the security ministry’s estimates. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)
First government without Đukanović’s DPS in 30 years. Following a three-day debate in parliament, Montenegro voted in a new government led by Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić. Read more.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Zoran Radosavljevic]