Source: COVID certificates expire 12 months after second jab

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In today’s news from the Capitals:

BRUSSELS

The European Commission is set to propose either a recommendation or a delegated act to extend the use of COVID certificated to travel in the EU, a source close to the matter told EURACTIV.com. The source added that the certificate will expire twelve months after the last dose of a COVID-19 vaccine was administered. Read more.

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EU PRESIDENCY

Support for sector transformation discussed at European Tourism Forum. While there are reasons for the European tourism sector to be optimistic after a good summer season, there is still a long way until full recovery, speakers at the European Tourism Forum agreed in Brdo pri Kranju on Wednesday, noting that the sector must become more resilient, sustainable and digitalised. Read more.

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EU INSTITUTIONS

Conservatives call for recovery solidarity with Poland. The European Parliament’s Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR) have called on European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to approve the country’s currently blocked recovery funding despite the rule of law standoff with Brussels in light of the pandemic and ongoing ‘hybrid attack’ from Belarus. Read more.

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BRUSSELS

Belgium toughens coronavirus measures. Belgium has made working from home compulsory again, as part of a range of new measures aimed at stopping the fourth wave of coronavirus. EURACTIV’s media partner has more.

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PARIS

French council of ministers dissolves far-right group Alvarium. France’s council of ministers has dissolved the far-right group, Alvarium, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin confirmed after the weekly meeting this Wednesday, EURACTIV’s partner Ouest-France reported. Read more.

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BERLIN

Merkel calls Lukashenko, again. It was groundhog day in Berlin as the situation at the Poland-Belarus border continued to worsen and outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel once again called Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko, whose government is not officially recognised by the EU. Read more.


 

UK AND IRELAND

DUBLIN 

Irish government does not rule out further tightening restrictions. A day after the cabinet decided to reintroduce some of the only recently lifted COVID-19 restrictions, Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has said that a further tightening of the rules remains possible. Read more.


NORDICS AND BALTICS

STOCKHOLM

In Sweden, forming a new government takes more time than expected. Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson has been given additional time to find support in parliament to form a government. Parliament Speaker Andreas Norlén has granted an extension until noon on 22 November. Read more.

Swedish troops could train in Ukraine. The Minister of Defence, Peter Hultqvist said in a Swedish Radio News interview on Tuesday (16 November) that Sweden could send troops for a training mission in Ukraine organised by the European Union. A proposal for the mission has come from the Baltic States and according to Hultqvist, Sweden “must be open” to the initiative. (Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)

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VILNIUS

Lithuania: EU should talk to Lukashenko instead of Merkel. Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has expressed scepticism about Wednesday’s phone call between Germany’s Angela Merkel and Belarus’ strongman Alexander Lukashenko, Baltic News Agency reported.

Such conversations were risky and could be used by him “to legitimise himself”, Landsbergis said. Instead, the EU should be represented by the EU’s chief diploma Josep Borrell. “There can be no negotiation under any circumstances,” he said. “I believe that whenJosep Borrell speaks, it is the right way to go.” (Alexandra Brzozowski, EURACTIV.com)

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TALLINN

Estonia announces snap military exercise, will put razor wire along Russian border. The Estonian government summoned 1,700 reserve soldiers on Wednesday for an unannounced exercise, including installing a razor-wire barrier along 40 km of its border with Russia, as the migration crisis in nearby Belarus intensifies. Read more.


EUROPE’S SOUTH

ATHENS 

Dutch reporter who quarrelled with Greek PM leaves the country. “I took advice from the Dutch embassy, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Journalists’ Union. My decision comes after the threats I have received. There is not only a ‘post-modern’, digital witch-hunt going on in the country at the moment, but also a real ‘witch burning’,” said journalist Ingeborg Beugel, who accused Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of lying about pushbacks of refugees. Read more.

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ROME

Italy’s doctors and nurses protest lack of emergency department staff. Nurses and doctors protested in Rome on Wednesday (17 November) over the lack of some 4,000 emergency department staff and poor working conditions. Read more.

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MADRID

Deteriorating air quality linked to La Palma volcano prompts school closures, flight cancellations. The volcanic eruption on the Spanish island of La Palma eased on Wednesday (17 November), but air quality is seriously deteriorating, prompting school closures and flight cancellations. Experts said there was still no indication of when it will come to a complete end, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported. Read more.

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LISBON

Portugal has one of the EU’s lowest inflation rates. Portugal is one of the EU countries with the lowest inflation rates, Finance Minister João Leão said on Wednesday (18 November), stressing that the increase is considered temporary and reiterated wage increases of 0.9% in the public sector. Read more.


VISEGRAD 

PRAGUE | BUDAPEST 

CEE starts to buckle under COVID, governments’ hesitancy puts Christmas at risk. As the number of cases reaches heights last seen during the spring COVID wave, Czech and Hungarian governments will soon face tough decisions. Read more.

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BRATISLAVA

Slovakia to establish centre for combating hybrid threatsBratislava is stepping up its effort to fight disinformation, which many consider one of the main reasons for the country’s low vaccination rate, by setting up a centre to combat hybrid threats. Read more.

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WARSAW

Poland’s COVID-19 numbers on the rise, again. On Wednesday (17 November) data from the Polish health ministry confirmed a sharp rise with 24,000 new COVID-19 cases and over 460 deaths. Read more.


NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

BUCHAREST 

Romanian minister: Natural gas crisis provoked by Russia. The natural gas crisis is an artificial crisis created by the Russian Federation, through Gazprom, Romania’s interim energy minister Virgil Popescu told a business conference on Wednesday. Read more.

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SOFIA

EU lawmakers to insist that Commission tightens control over Bulgaria. The European Parliament’s civil liberties committee will urge the European Commission to strengthen the monitoring and audit of EU funds for Bulgaria, including the Recovery and Resilience Facility.  Read more.

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ZAGREB

Croatian anti-graft body admits to failing to notify prosecutor about former minister. The head of the USKOK anti-corruption office admitted that it made an oversight by failing to notify the European Public Prosecutor’s Office about inquiries in the ‘Software’ case, saying the inquiries were no longer active and dismissing claims of a cover-up. Read more.

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LJUBLJANA 

Upheaval in Slovenia’s police force as new legislation kicks in. A police trade union has come forward with accusations of a “purge” after the terms of all commanders and directors ended following the passing of new legislation. The situation developed amid warnings over increased political influence on the police, an accusation that the leadership denies. Read more.

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BELGRADE | PRISHTINA

Lajcak: High time for real progress in Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. Miroslav Lajčak, the EU’s special representative for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, said he has spoken with each side’s main negotiator and made it known that EU member countries expect the talks to finally yield concrete results. Read more.

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SARAJEVO 

Almost half of BiH’s youth plan to leave. Nearly half of the youth in Bosnia and Herzegovina (47%) are planning to leave the country temporarily or permanently, according to a recent study by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Read more.

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PRISTINA 

Italian woman of Kosovo origin arrested in Milan. A 19-year-old Italian woman of Kosovo origin, suspected of associating for terrorist purposes, was detained in Milan. Thousands of pieces of “Islamic State” propaganda footage, including beheadings, were found on her cell phone, Italian correspondent for Jutarnji list, EURACTIV’s partner, reported. Read more.

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TIRANA

Constitutional court to review dismissal of president. Albania’s Constitutional Court has announced it will review the first ever dismissal of a president, on 18 January 2022. If five of the seven members of the court approve the decision, President Ilir Meta will leave office six months prior to the end of his five-year term. Read more.


AGENDA:

  • EU: Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager to make recommendations on antitrust rules / European Business Summit features Commissioners Simson, Borrell, Dombrovskis / European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee will examine developments related to the EU Digital Covid Certificate / European affairs ministers meet on cohesion.
  • Germany: Parliament examines proposed new Covid restrictions / Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders give a statement after meeting on tougher Covid curbs.
  • France: Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire to meet with Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the OECD, at the occasion of the publication of the OECD’s economic study on France on Thursday.
  • Austria: Parliament expected to lift the immunity of former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
  • UK: Transport Secretary Grant Shapps unveils new rail strategy.
  • Poland: British Defence Minister Ben Wallace visits border region of Bemowo Piskie / EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders visits Warsaw.
  • Bulgaria: The debate before the runoff of the presidential election will take place on Thursday. This will be the first and only debate during the presidential campaign. The candidates are the current President Rumen Radev who is running for a second term and Anastas Gerdjikov, the rector of Sofia University who is backed by ex-PM Boyko Borissov’s GERB party.
  • Romania: Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton visits Bucharest, where he will meet President Klaus Iohannis and several ministers.
  • Slovenia: European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) is expected to present a report on the recent visit by their delegation to Slovenia dedicated to the rule of law and media freedom.
  • Serbia: Meeting of Foreign Minister Nikola Selaković with the chief of the EU Delegation in Serbia, Emanuele Giaufret, and with the EU member countries’ ambassadors to Serbia.

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[Edited by Alexandra Brzozowski, Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]

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