Sanofi booster ‘more promising’ than mRNA

"Results of phase 2 clinical trials” of Sanofi’s vaccine "are excellent in terms of protection," said Industry Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher shortly after the announcement. [Shutterstock/Golden Shrimp]

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.


A message from WEC:

Recovery, reform and resilience – A Manifesto for more inclusive and agile labour markets in the context of Covid-19

We need more than recovery from the Covid19 crisis. The European private employment services sector calls for reform and resilience measures to make labour markets more agile and inclusive. Read more in our Manifesto.


 In today’s news from the Capitals:


French pharma giant Sanofi has started phase 3 clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine and is expected to begin rolling it out in December, Sanofi France president Olivier Bogillot has told broadcaster France Inter. Read more.

Also read: French champagne houses cry foul over Russian label rule. Champagne houses in France on Monday issued a plea for diplomatic help over a new Russian law reserving the term “champagne” for Russian-produced sparkling wines, which led to a temporary interruption of supplies from the market leader Moët Hennessy. Read the full story.



Slovenia’s Janša calls for combination of EU’s soft, hard power. Slovenia’s Prime Minister Janez Janša has told the country’s parliament that the EU must come up with strategic answers to strategic challenges, working both on its soft and hard power to become a major player regionally and globally. More.


Austrian regional court rules that push-backs on Slovenian border are unlawful. A regional court in the Austrian state of Styria has ruled that the practice of pushing back asylum seekers into Slovenia is illegal. Read more.



Belgian defence minister announces overhaul of military intelligence services. An action plan aimed at reviewing the functioning of Belgium’s military secret service will be ready by the end of the year, Defence Minister Ludivine Dedonder announced on Monday in the wake of a month-long manhunt for far-right fugitive Belgian soldier that gripped the country. Read more.



Germany opposes fining those who miss COVID-19 appointments. German authorities have rejected calls to fine those who miss a vaccination appointment, saying it would be counterproductive to the country’s vaccination campaign. Read more.



Luxembourg PM to remain in hospital for up to four days. Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, is in a “serious but stable” condition after contracting COVID-19 and will remain in hospital for up to four days, his government said on Monday. 

Bettel tested positive on 27 June and was admitted into hospital on Sunday, where he was placed under observation. The 48-year-old prime minister will stay for further observation due to low oxygen levels, the government said.  (Anne Damani |



Lithuania: Tikhanouskaya’s team is ‘democratic representation of Belarus.’ Lithuania’s foreign ministry on Monday designated Vilnius-based Belarusian opposition figure Svetlana Tikhanouskaya and her team the democratic representation of Belarus in Lithuania. Read more.



Swedish Social Democrat Löfven is asked to return as PM. Social Democrat Stefan Löfven will try to win a new term as Sweden’s prime minister in a parliamentary vote on Wednesday (6 July) after the assembly’s speaker asked him to return to the post he quit last month. More.



Johnson confirms easing measures. The wearing of face masks will no longer be compulsory and social distancing rules will end in England on 19 July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday. More.



Ireland will soon start using digital COVID-19 passport. Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin has confirmed that the COVID-19 digital passport will be available in Ireland from 19 July, despite concerns from some government officials. Read more.



Greece starts vaccinating teenagers. Greece’s national vaccination committee has given its green light for the voluntary vaccination of 15-17 year olds with parental consent. More.



Italian president attacks right, Visegrad over migration. Italian President Sergio Mattarella met with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Monday in Paris where they discussed the topic of migration. Read more.



Spanish regions to reimpose restrictions on nightlife. Local authorities in Spain have said they will roll back relaxations of restrictions on party venues and nightclubs as primary healthcare services are having to deal with a rise of COVID-19 cases among the country’s youth. EURACTIV’s partner EFE reports.



CAP reform criticised by Czech small farmers and environmentalists. The newly reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has come under fire from the Czech Republic’s small farmers and environmentalists as the trialogue deal revealed there will not be a mandatory cap placed on direct payments. Read more.



Polish Supreme Court rules public gathering ban was illegal. Poland’s Supreme Court has ruled that the 2020 pandemic-era ban on public gatherings issued by the Council of Ministers “was issued in excess of the statutory delegation.” 

“The basis for the ban on public gatherings could not be the law on preventing and combating infections, to which the government referred in subsequent regulations. The problem is that this law does not provide grounds for such restrictions on freedom”, argued the commissioner for human rights, Adam Bodnar. 

Commissioner Bodnar has been a vocal critic of the ban on public gathering, saying it violated the essence of the constitutional freedom of assembly and prevented citizens from effectively exercising this freedom. (Joanna Jakubowska |



Hungarian ombudsman won’t review controversial LGBTQI+ law. Hungary’s commissioner for fundamental rights, Ákos Kozma, has said a controversial law prohibiting the “portrayal or promotion” of LGBTQI+ content to minors does not prevent LGBTQI+ issues from featuring in public education, Telex reported.



Slovakia sends record low volume of waste to landfill in 2020. For the first time in the Slovakia’s history, less than half or 48% of the municipal waste landed in landfills in 2020 while 44% was recycled, the country’s statistics office has announced. Read more.



Merkel: New impetus for electoral reform needed in BiH.  A new impetus for electoral reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina is needed, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the Western Balkans Summit as part of the Berlin Process, N1 reported. Read more.



Bulgaria looking to donate expiring vaccine doses. Caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanev announced that the Bulgarian government is deciding which country to donate their leftover COVID-19 vaccine doses as they are at risk of expiring soon. Read more.



Croatian parliamentary commission strips MP immunity. Croatia’s parliamentary Credentials and Privileges Commission has voted to strip MP Vinko Grgić of immunity from prosecution so he can be investigated on suspicion of bribe-taking and abuse of office at the request of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). Read more.



Training of Serbian police in Russia to continue. The Serbian interior minister, Aleksandar Vulin, and the Russian ambassador to Serbia, Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, agreed on Monday that the training programme for Serbian police officers at Russian universities should continue.

Serbia’s interior ministry said training would focus on terrorism, organised crime, cybercrime, drug trafficking and emergencies. The Russian ambassador said that he would continue to provide unconditional support to Serbian leaders in their efforts to keep Kosovo within Serbia.

In other news, the Serbian speaker, Ivica Dačić, said on Monday that the Communist Party of China was a symbol of the transformation of China and its society, and the most influential political organisation in the world.

“The Communist Party of China is a symbol of China’s transformation into today’s largest economic, technological and developmental power in the world, the country that demonstrated strength to help its people in the most difficult of times,” Dačić said in an interview with the China Media Group (CMG) on the occasion of the party’s 100th anniversary. ( |



Hungary donates 200,000 Sinopharm vaccine doses to Montenegro. A delivery of 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine arrived at Podgorica airport as part of Hungary’s vaccine donation to Montenegro, reported. 



Kosovo needs evidence for genocide lawsuit against Serbia. Kosovo will have to provide strong evidence if it decides to sue Serbia for genocide, warned the special US State Department envoy for the Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer, reported.


  • France: Slovenia’s Prime Minister Janez Jansa speaks at European Parliament plenary session / Industry Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher and the Secretary of State for Digital, Cédric O, will present their strategy for accelerating the 5G expansion.
  • Germany: German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds video conference with UNHCR chief Grandi.
  • Belgium: Press conference at Belgium’s Africa Museum on return of stolen artefacts to DR Congo.
  • Slovakia: Pope Francis accepted the invitation of Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová and will visit Bratislava, Prešov, Košice and Šaštín from 12-15 September. 
  • Romania: President Klaus Iohannis will continue his meetings on the ”Educated Romania” national project, with a convention with the parliament’s leaders and education committee members.
  • Croatia: The Matica Hrvatska association organises a round table “Agricultural Land – Essentia Vitae (Essence of Life)” on the occasion of the bill of amendments to the Agricultural Land Act.
  • Montenegro: Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić will pay a bilateral visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.
  • Poland: The session of the Polish Parliament (Sejm) starts on Wednesday.


[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Paula Kenny, Zoran Radosavljevic, Josie Le Blond]


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