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 “Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova seek acceptance of their EU membership perspective“, by Georgi Gotev reporting from Batumi.
The European news you deserve to read. Welcome to The Capitals by EURACTIV.
A message from the Greens/EFA: Are we fit for 2030? The EU’s climate package could be a game-changer
Last week, the European Commission published the biggest set of climate measures ever proposed. But to be the global frontrunner on climate action the EU needs to step up.
In today’s news from the Capitals:
Poland’s Law and Justice party (PiS) is close to pulling out of the European Conservative Party, a source from an ECR member party has told EURACTIV.Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said the ECR party had been taken over completely by the Italian delegation and that the Polish disagree with the leadership of ECR president Giorgia Meloni (Brothers of Italy). Read more.
EU ministers say bloc needs common research area. EU ministers in charge of research agreed that Europe needs a common research area as they met for an informal meeting in Slovenia on Monday to discuss revitalising the European Research Area (ERA), and the role of international cooperation to promote research and innovation. More.
New rules for travel returns from high risk areas. Travelers returning to Belgium from “high-risk” areas in the EU or Schengen, and who are not fully vaccinated will be required to take a PCR coronavirus test on the first and seventh day after arrival. Read more.
VIENNA | BUCHAREST
Austria, Romania slam EU forest strategy. Austria and Romania are among 10 EU countries demanding a wide-reacing debate on the EU’s new forest strategy, one of the European Green Deal’s flagship initiatives proposed last week.
The two countries said forestry falls under EU member states’ competence and cannot be regulated at the European level. More.
German central bank optimistic about recovery. Germany’s economy is set to accelerate even more than in the second quarter of 2021 if the pandemic does not create “significant setbacks” and if supply shortages can be overcome at least in part, according to the central bank’s monthly report published Monday. Read more.
French police arrest former member of Italy’s Red Brigades. French police arrested a former member of Italian far-left movement, the Red Brigades, on Monday at the request of the Italian authorities. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
Cummings: Johnson did not want to impose second lockdown last autumn. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not want to tighten COVID-19 restrictions and impose a second lockdown last autumn because he said that the people dying from it were “essentially all over 80,” the PM’s former adviser, Dominic Cummings, said on Monday. Read more.
Report: Italy sees work-related injuries drop, deaths rise. Fewer work-related injuries were recorded in Italy last year, mainly due to people being forced to work from home during the pandemic, while deaths at work increased, also due to the pandemic, according to the annual report of the National Insurance Institute against Accidents at Work (Inail) presented Monday. Read more.
UK-Spain flights soar 400% after quarantine rules changed. Flights between the UK and Spain have increased by 400% as British holidaymakers take advantage of news rules that mean residents returning to England from destinations on the government’s amber list no longer have to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated. Read more.
Brussels approves €1 bn fund for pandemic-hit Spanish firms. TThe European Commission has approved Spain’s proposal to set up a €1 billion recapitalisation fund to help the recovery of Spanish companies affected by the pandemic. Read the full story.
Czechia must solve PM Babis’ conflict interest debacle to receive recovery fund. The European Commission endorsed the Czech recovery plan on Monday but to receive recovery funds, the country must set up additional control systems, said Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen during her visit in Prague. Czechia should take specific measures to avoid conflict of interest like the one concerning Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his former agriculture holding, Agrofert. Read more.
European Commission intends to set ultimatum for Poland. Warsaw will have to fulfill the judgments of the European Court of Justice on the judiciary within the next week or prepare for financial penalties. Read more.
Hungarian FM: No information on spyware scandal targeting Hungary’s elite. The Hungarian government has no information about the alleged data hacking of some of Hungary’s investigative journalists, wealthy businessmen and local politicians, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told a press conference with his V4 counterparts in Komárom. Read more.
Slovakia to compensate victims of forced sterilisation. Slovak Justice Minister Mária Kolíková has responded to a letter from the Council of Europe Commissioners for Human Rights, Dunje Mijatović, assuring her that the Slovak government is taking seriously the decision to compensate women who have been victims of forced sterilisation in the past. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
BELGRADE | PRISTINA
‘Very little’ progress at Serbia, Kosovo talks. The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo on Monday blamed each other for littleprogress at EU-mediated talks in Brussels aimed at resolving one of Europe’s thorniest territorial disputes. Read more.
Bulgaria building Balkans’ longest tunnel. Bulgaria has begun construction of the longest tunnel in the Balkans, as part of the railway between Sofia and the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Bourgas. Read more.
Croatian police have found over 700 fake PCR tests. Croatian police have discovered a total of 703 counterfeit PCR tests in 2021 so far, the interior ministry said on Monday. Read more.
First green light for new Slovenian nuclear power station unit. Slovenia’s infrastructure ministry has issued an energy permit for the construction of the second unit at Krško, Slovenia’s only nuclear power station, a step that allows permitting procedures to begin. Read more.
New US ambassador vows to fight corruption in Bosnia. Speaking at a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Joe Biden said Michael J. Murphy will take on the position as new ambassador with a primary focus on the fight against corruption. Read more.
PODGORICA | BELGRADE
Foreign ministry: Serbs not oppressed in Montenegro. Montenegrin Foreign Minister Đorđe Radulović on Monday rejected claims by Serbian officials that Serbs in Montenegro were being oppressed. Read more.
- France: Secretary of State for Digital Cedric O will present the new alert system for companies in case of a major cyber incident.
- Belgium: National mourning day for flood victims
- European Commission publishes annual report on the rule of law in the 27 EU nations.
- Germany: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet visit area devastated by the floods
- Cyprus: Turkish President Erdogan visits Varosha ghost town.
- Czech Republic: Austrian, Czech, Hungarian, Slovak and Slovenian foreign ministers meet.
- Slovenia: EU environment ministers meet on climate.
- Spain: Socialist PM Pedro Sánchez to begin his trip to the US on Wednesday, targeting new US investments to boost recovery.
- Poland: EU commissioners to hold a meeting on the ultimatum for Poland to comply with the decisions of the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
- Slovenia: The start of a two-day informal meeting of EU environment ministers dedicated to Fit for 55 and preparations for the climate conference COP26.
- Croatia: War Veterans’ Affairs Minister Tomo Medved to attend a working meeting and the presentation of the project of the future Regional Veterans’ Centre for Psychosocial Support and Mental Health Counseling organised by the Croatian War Veterans’ Affairs Ministry and the US Embassy to Croatia.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulous, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Paula Kenny, Zoran Radosavljevic, Josie LeBlond]