Turkey holds key to EU migration pact deadlock

Germany and Italy were among the EU member states which fiercely opposed sanctions against Turkey. [EPA-EFE/ODD ANDERSEN]

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In today’s news from the Capitals:


Without Turkey’s cooperation, the EU will not find a solution on the long-standing issue of migration, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said at a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. According to the draft conclusions of the EU Council later this week, seen by EURACTIV, the EU intends to continue financially supporting Turkey in the refugee crisis. Read more.



French senators give mayors right to veto wind turbine projects. Senators adopted an amendment Friday giving municipalities the right to veto wind turbine projects as part of a Climate and Resilience Law currently under discussion. Read the full story



Von der Leyen gives green light to Austrian recovery plan. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has declared the Commission’s approval of Austria’s €3.5 billion recovery plan in a press conference with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Read more.



Report shows UK children from poorer backgrounds left behind in education. White children from poor backgrounds have been let down by decades of neglect in the English education system, UK lawmakers have said in a report published on Tuesday that is set to reopen the country’s culture war. Read more.



DUP Leader: NI Protocol should be put to referendum. Outgoing DUP leader Edwin Poots has suggested the Northern Ireland Protocol should be put to a referendum. Read more.



Chair of the Finns Party announces plans to step down. Jussi Halla-aho, the chair of the populist and nationalist Finns Party announced on Monday during a party webcast that he will not be seeking  re-election in the August party conference. Read more.



Swedish government loses no-confidence vote. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s minority government of Social Democrats and Greens lost a no-confidence vote in parliament on Monday, the first time in Sweden’s history a prime minister has been ousted by parliament. The parties have been given a week to assess the situation and either call a snap election or have a caretaker government with or without Löfven until next year’s elections. Read more.



Italian PM:  Euro 2020 final should not be in a country with growing COVID-19 cases. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said in response to a question from a German journalist during a press conference at the end of his meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday that he “will make sure that the European [football] final does not take place in countries where the contagion is growing.” Read more.



Spanish PM heads to Catalonia before pardon to separatists. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez will deliver a major speech in Barcelona Monday (21 June) as his government is poised to pardon the jailed Catalan separatists behind a failed 2017 independence bid. More.



Greece mulls criminal prosecution in Belarus plane incident. Greece has not ruled out taking legal action over the incident in May in which Belarus forced a Ryanair passenger plane carrying a wanted opposition activist to divert and land in its capital. More.



Hungarian FM: Euro 2020 stadium rainbow plan ‘dangerous’. Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó has said it would be “extremely harmful and dangerous to mix sport and politics,” in response to reports that the stadium hosting Wednesday’s UEFA Euro 2020 match between Hungary and Germany could be painted in rainbow colours in solidarity with the Hungarian LGBTQI+ community, national news agency MTI reported. Read more.



Polish city has worst air quality in Europe. The southern Polish city of Nowy Sącz has the worst air quality in the European Union, according to a new ranking released by the European Environmental Agency (EEA). Read more.



Czech police deny any wrongdoing in Romani man’s death. The Czech police have denied any wrongdoing in the death of a Romani man on Saturday in the town of Teplice after a video circulating on social media shows Czech police kneeling on the man’s neck. Read more.



Commission gives green light to Slovakia’s Recovery and Resilience Plan. The European Commission has approved Slovakia’s Recovery and Resilience Plan, the fifth EU member state to be granted approval. Read more.



Russian tourists allowed to visit Bulgaria again. Russian authorities have allowed the local air operator Pegasus Tourist to operate charter flights to Burgas and Varna, Bulgarian media reported on Monday. The flights will reportedly start at the end of June. More.



Slovenian FM: EU inaction in Western Balkans ‘strategically dangerous’. The EU needs to move “as soon as possible” from a wait-and-see approach to a problem-solving strategy in dealing with enlargement and the Western Balkans, Slovenian Foreign Minister Anže Logar told EURACTIV in an interview about the priorities for his country’s upcoming EU Council presidency.


Romania’s vaccination campaign head warns cases could climb. The number of COVID-19 cases could increase again in a few months, according to the head of Romania’s vaccination campaign, Valeriu Gheorghita. He warned the more contagious Delta variant could spread quickly among unvaccinated people, as is currently happening in the UK. Gheorghita said an increase in the number of infections is expected by the end of August or the beginning of September.  (Bogdan Neagu | EURACTIV.ro)



Croatian PM attends anti-fascist Struggle Day commemoration for the first time. Anti-fascist activists have welcomed Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković’s decision to attend the commemoration of the anti-fascist Struggle Day for the first time. Read more.



EU top diplomat briefs EU ministers on Belgrade-Pristina talks. EU High Representative Josep Borrell said on Monday that he had briefed EU foreign ministers on last week’s round of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and the plans to hold the next session in July. Read more.



BiH and Kosovo to receive donated US vaccine doses. The US announced on Monday the distribution list for 55 million of the 80 million vaccine doses which President Joe Biden pledged to donate to the rest of the world by the end of June.  Kosovo and BiH are set to receive approximately 14 million doses.  (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)



Kosovo’s president: Turkey’s support crucial to gain global recognition. Kosovo’s president, Vjosa Osmani, has emphasised the importance of Turkey’s continued support for her country to gain recognition and membership in international organisations. Read more.


  • Poland: Continuation of talks with the Czech Republic on the Turów lignite mine.
  • Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel receives Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Berlin.
  • Slovakia: The Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Ivan Korčok, together with the State Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Slovak Republic, Monika Filipová, will complete a bike tour. The route will lead through southwestern Slovakia, aiming at supporting cooperation with the Hungarian minority in Slovakia.
  • Romania: Prime minister Florin Citu and education minister Sorin Cimpeanu attend a meeting to discuss the benefits of vaccination for children.
  • Croatia: Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and President Zoran Milanović attend Anti-fascist Struggle Day commemoration at Brezovica Memorial Park organised by the government on the 80th anniversary of the formation of the first Partisan detachment, the first anti-fascist unit in this part of Europe.
  • Serbia: EU-Serbia intergovernmental conference in Brussels and Italian Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio to visit Serbia.
  • Kosovo: Italian Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, is expected to visit Kosovo on Tuesday. Minister Di Maio is expected to address the Assembly of Kosovo on Tuesday afternoon. 


[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Paula Kenny, Zoran Radosavljevic, Josie LeBlond]

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