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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In today’s news from the Capitals:
In a groundbreaking ruling, the Polish Constitutional Tribunal declared the ultimate supremacy of the country’s constitution over EU treaties, in what some say could mark the start of “the countdown to Polexit.”
The primacy of EU law is no longer unconditional in Poland and strictly limited to the competencies delegated to the EU. While the government celebrates the decision, according to the opposition, this is means “entering a minefield”. Read more.
Slovenia PM accuses Brussels of exceeding powers over rule of law. Janez Janša, the Prime Minister of Slovenia which currently holds the six-month rotating EU Presidency, has accused the European Commission of political abuse over the rule of law. Read more.
Twelve member states ask Commission to finance ‘physical barriers’ as border protection measures. Twelve EU interior ministers have called for update the bloc’s Schengen Border Code to allow ‘physical barriers’ as border protection measures, according to a letter sent to the European Commission and seen by EURACTIV. Read more.
Conservative leader Laschet signals willingness to step back. “I’d be happy if we managed in these trying times, a fresh start with new personalities,” said Armin Laschet, the leader of the conservative union CDU/CSU, on Thursday. Although he did not state that he would step aside, it is believed he is now on borrowed time. Read more.
Right-wing candidate Barnier wants to create an ‘electroshock of authority’. Former Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier unveiled his project to strengthen security by establishing a new public security ministry. Read more.
Kurz’ scandal is putting Green-Conservative coalition to the test. After Austrian Chancellor Kurz was caught in controversy over his alleged involvement in a corruption scandal, the future of the Green-Conservative is up in the air, as leading Green politicians’ question whether Kurz is fit for office. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
Poll puts opposition well ahead of Irish government. Ireland’s coalition government has fallen significantly behind opposition party Sinn Féin in the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll. Read more.
UN envoy calls Italy out for its treatment of migrant workers and workplace safety practices. The UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights criticised Italian authorities for actions that “tarnish the reputation of Italy in the field of business and human rights and should be immediately addressed to protect the rights of individuals in highly vulnerable positions”. Read more.
Government approves draft budget for 2022 with record investment. Spain’s coalition government, formed by the socialist party (PSOE) and left-wing Unidas Podemos (United We Can), approved on Thursday the draft budget for 2022, with a strong accent on social policies and a “fair recovery” after the pandemic. Read more.
Anti-lockdown judge Rui Fonseca e Castro dismissed. Portugal’s Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) unanimously decided today to dismiss Judge Rui Fonseca e Castro for various infractions. Among the justifications for the dismissal, the CSM points out that Fonseca e Castro published on social media videos that “encouraged the breaking of the law and health rules” relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision was communicated to journalists by CSM member Inês Ferreira Leite, despite a group of protesters supporting the judge. (António Pereira Neves, Lusa.pt)
Škoda Auto to halt production in Czechia due to a chip shortage. Czech automobile manufacturer Škoda Auto will limit or completely stop the production of cars in all three Czech factories from 18 October till the end of the year. The company took the decision due to global chip shortages. Read more.
Google in Hungary: Government may be behind attempts to steal your password. Google warned Tamás Bodoky, the editor-in-chief of online news outlet Átlátszó on Thursday morning of a state-sponsored hacker attack on his Gmail account, the site reported. The same message was sent to András Lőke, investigative journalist, and Ádám Bihari, a reporter for HVG. Read more.
Slovak economy minister proposes to close employment offices. Minister of Economy Richard Sulík (SaS/ECR) proposed on Wednesday to close employment offices. The goal is to lower government expenditure. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
A Russian and two Lithuanians arrested for espionage in Bulgarian military plant. Bulgarian police arrested a Russian citizen and two Lithuanians on suspicion of exporting “sensitive information” from the Arsenal military plant in Kazanlak. Read more.
Divisive crisis evident among Croatia’s Social Democrats. The Social Democratic Party (SDP) is in turmoil after the party leadership removed ex-leader Davor Bernardić and six other parliamentary deputies. Four MPs were expelled several months ago. Read more.
Plenkovic expects report about violent migrant pushbacks from Croatian-BiH border. Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said he had talked with Interior Minister Davor Božinović about the violent pushback of migrants from the Croatian border with BiH and expects a report to assess what happened. Read more.
Call for Slovenia’s EU delegated prosecutors to be repeated. The government has asked the justice ministry to publish another new call to fill the country’s two top EU prosecutor positions. After a court reversed its decision to annul the original procedure, the latest move suggests the appointment procedure could drag on for weeks if not months. Read more.
NGO: Majority of Serbian citizens denied right to dignified work. The majority of Serbian citizens are denied the right to dignified labour in terms of employment options, an adequate wage, protection of the unemployed, and secure employment, the Belgrade Center for Democracy Foundation said on Thursday. Read more.
Dodik allegedly connected to new regional television channel. Severina, a Croatian pop singer, told EURACTIV’s partner, Jutarnji list, that she would not join Una TV after learning that that the family of Milorad Dodik was backing the new station. Read more.
Energy commission: electricity price hikes should not worry Macedonians. There is no reason for panic among Macedonian citizens regarding the price of the electricity during the forthcoming months, said the Energy Regulatory Commission of North Macedonia, meta.mk reported. Read more.
Kosovo War veterans plead innocence in The Hague. Two Kosovo war veterans, now leaders of a veterans association, have pleaded innocent on Thursday to charges of intimidating witnesses and obstructing justice before a court in The Hague. Read more.
Albanian students delayed because of low vaccine uptake. The Albanian government has postponed the start of the academic year for students by one week, until 18 October, due to a lack of uptake in COVID-19 vaccines. Read more.
- EU/Luxembourg: EU interior ministers discuss migrant routes, situation in Afghanistan.
- France: Africa-France Summit takes place in Montpellier / Hearing in Morocco’s libel suit against Forbidden Stories, Amnesty over Pegasus leaks.
- Norway: Nobel Peace Prize to be announced in Oslo.
- Spain: King Felipe VI receives NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg.
- Czech Republic: Czechs head to the polls on Friday for parliamentary elections.
- Croatia: A two-day annual meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) starts.
- Serbia: Prime Minister Ana Brnabić to meet with the Slovak deputy prime minister and minister of commerce, Richard Sulik.
[Edited by Alexandra Brzozowski, Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]