Corrected to include “Former” in the title.
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In today’s news from the Capitals:
Ukraine can defeat Russia and even regain control of Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, said former Slovak Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš, noting that anything other than the military victory of Ukraine would be a dangerous compromise. Read more.
EUROPEAN SPECIAL REPORT
Malaga eyes public-private synergies to revive from pandemic. Public-private collaboration contributes to survival and the success of gastronomy, tourism, and culture in Malaga, local stakeholders told EURACTIV’s partner EFE. Read more.
Mélenchon and Macron alliances head-to-head in parliamentary first-round polling. After the presidential elections last month, voters in France will elect a new national parliament three weeks from now, choosing 577 Members of Parliament (MPs) for five years through two rounds of votes in single-member constituencies. If no candidate receives a majority in the first round on 12 June, the two strongest candidates advance for a run-off election held on 19 June. Read more.
French prime minister defends Macron’s pension reform plan. Newly appointed Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne defended the pension reform Macron wishes to implement during his term of office in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche (JDD) on Sunday. Read more.
Austria freezes €254 million in Russian assets. Austrian authorities have frozen a total of €254 million in Russian wealth across 97 accounts, including five properties linked to Russian oligarchs targeted by sanctions, the chancellery told reporters. Read more.
Scholz travels to Africa to forge ties with democracies amid Ukraine war. German chancellor Olaf Scholz travelled to Africa on Sunday (22 May) in a wider attempt to foster close ties with like-minded democracies amid the Ukraine war and an increasingly multipolar world order. Read the full story here.
UK AND IRELAND
Ireland backs Ukraine EU membership as Zelenskyy calls for EU unity. The heads of each house of the Irish legislature met with several Ukrainian officials, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, while on a recent visit to Kyiv. Read more.
US lawmakers urge UK to return to protocol talks. Democratic Congressman Richard Neal on Sunday urged the UK government to negotiate in “good faith” with the EU to resolve the long-running impasse over the Northern Ireland protocol. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Finland will not abandon Sweden during NATO process. Finland will proceed towards NATO membership at the same pace as Sweden, parliament Speaker Matti Vanhanen from the Center party told broadcaster YLE in an interview on Saturday. Read more.
Russia cutting gas supply to Finland not linked to NATO bid. Russia’s decision to stop selling gas to Finland is not related to the country’s decision to apply for NATO membership, parliament Speaker Matti Vanhanen from the Center party said on Saturday. Read more.
Portugal to offer Ukraine technical support in EU accession process. Portugal will provide technical support to Ukraine in its EU accession process, and Kyiv’s European option should be welcomed “with open arms,” Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa said on Saturday. Read more.
Italy target of major Russia-linked cyberattack, again. Pro-Russian hacker group Killnet and its affiliate Legion targeted thousands of websites, including government websites, in a coordinated cyberattack on Friday, Italian police reported. Read more.
Nearly half of Spanish house renters risk poverty, social exclusion. Almost half of all Spaniards living in rented houses in 2020 were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, with the situation likely to have declined further, data released by Spain’s Central Bank found, financial daily Cinco Días reported. Read more.
Owners of Russian companies in Czechia changed citizenship. Of the 9,582 companies in the Czech Republic with Russian ownership, dozens have changed their citizenship since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine to avoid sanctions or outflow of clients. Read more.
Poles to be granted ‘special status’ in Ukraine. Poles in Ukraine will be granted “special legal status” similarly to the one Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s war receive when entering Poland, according to a draft bill Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has promised he would submit to parliament. Read more.
Hungarian agri minister backs supporting Ukraine’s grain exports. The Hungarian government is working hard to help Kyiv sell grain abroad, said Agriculture Minister István Nagy, who described the instability of Ukraine’s grain export in light of Russia’s invasion as an “emergency”. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
BELGRADE | BUDAPEST
Serbia, Hungary confirm strategic partnership. The leaders of Hungary and Serbia reaffirmed their strategic partnership over the weekend after being re-elected last month, with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić saying they had agreed that Serbia could store some of its energy on the territory of its northern EU neighbour. Read more.
Vučić to discuss new gas arrangements with Putin. Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić should have a telephone conversation on Wednesday or Thursday with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss the amount, price and security of supply of natural gas as the ten-year deal between both countries is set to expire on 31 May, Serbian news website Novosti reported this week.
Under the current deal with Russia, Serbia pays $270 per 1,000 cubic metres of natural gas. Serbia imports almost 100% of its natural gas from Russia.
(Zoran Radosavljević | EURACTIV.com, EURACTIV.rs | betabriefing.com)
Putin would have been happy if Bulgaria ‘caved’ to paying in roubles. Russian President Vladimir Putin would have been pleased if Bulgaria had accepted the Russian gas supplies to be paid in roubles as it would have made Bulgaria the first EU member state to succumb to Russia’s blackmail, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said. Read more.
BUCHAREST | BUDAPEST
Hungary’s new president angers Romania. The foreign ministry immediately responded to the comments made by Hungary’s recently appointed president about representing Hungarians no matter where they lived, saying such comments do “not meet European standards”. Read more.
Slovenian public broadcaster journalists to stage strike. Journalists at Slovenian public broadcaster RTV Slovenija will stage a one-day strike on Monday in the latest escalation of tensions between staff and leadership over staffing and programming changes that their trade union says have been politically motivated. Read more.
BELGRADE | TIRANA
Serbia signs declaration on unjustified Russian aggression. The states of the Adriatic-Ionian Region, including Serbia, passed a declaration describing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as “illegal and unjustified” and expressing a commitment to “the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Ukraine” at an annual conference in Tirana. Read more.
Berisha returns to helm of Albania’s Democratic Party. Former President, Prime Minister, and co-founder of Albania’s Democratic Party (PD) Sali Berisha has been elected its leader once again after nine years of taking a back seat role. Read more.
Albanian PM supports new community for non-EU countries. Prime Minister Edi Rama has thrown his government’s full support behind French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to create a new “European community” that would allegedly allow for better political integration of non-EU member states with the union. Read more.
- EU: Eurogroup, European Economic Area Council, General Affairs Council.
- EU European affairs ministers meet, hearing on rule of law in Hungary.
- EU Chief Diplomat Josep Borrell meets new Chairman of EU Military Committee General Robert Brieger.
- Germany: G7 labour ministers meet.
- France: Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne hosts her first cabinet meeting.
- Ukraine:President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gives an online address to the World Economic Forum.
- Sweden: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is expected to publish a risk assessment report on monkeypox.
- Italy: 30th anniversary of the assassination of anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone.
- Italy: Prime Minister Draghi meets his Bulgarian counterpart Kiril Petkov in Rome.
- Spain: King Felipe VI receives his father, ex-king Juan Carlos I.
- Czech Republic: Commissioner Elisa Ferreira presents the partnership agreement and visits projects funded by the EU Cohesion fund.
- Russia: President Vladimir Putin holds talks with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson]