UNESCO saves Romanian gold mine site from cyanide developers

The decision is a huge victory for activists who opposed for decades a plan for cyanide-based gold mining in Rosia Montana. [Shutterstock/salajean]

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.


In today’s news from the Capitals:

BUCHAREST

The ancient gold mining complex in Rosia Montana, a remote locality in the Apuseni Mountains in Western Romania, has been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger. The decision has put an end to any chances for gold mining to resume in the area. Read more.

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EU INSTITUTIONS

Animal feed spike worries EU countries. EU member states are expressing growing concern over high animal feed costs, while the European Commission is hopeful that prices are likely to go down in the near future. Read the full story.

VIENNA

Austria to forge alliances against EU Commission on migration. After visiting the new border guards at the Austrian-Hungarian border, Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer used the occasion to criticise the European Commission’s stance on migration and announced that he will search for allies within the EU to fight illegal migration. Read more.

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BERLIN

Germany to expand testing requirements for holiday makers. Germany is considering introducing coronavirus testing requirements for returning travellers from all countries regardless of the method of transport used to enter the country. Read more.

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PARIS

French equality body sounds alarm over extension of COVID-19 pass. France’s equality agency, Défenseur des droits, has published a 10-point opinion paper raising concerns about the controversial extension of COVID-19 pass, which is now pending approval by the Constitutional Council on 5 August following approval by the French parliament. Read more.


UK AND IRELAND

BELFAST | LONDON

EU pauses legal action against UK. The European Commission has paused legal proceedings against the United Kingdom over the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol in the hope that solutions can be found, the Irish Times reported. More.


EUROPE’S SOUTH

ATHENS

Greece tells Turkey it hasn’t given up self-defence right. Greece will never give up the right to defend itself, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Tuesday amid a fresh spat between Athens and Ankara in the eastern Mediterranean. Read more.

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ROME

Italy’s GDP growth more than the EU average, according to IMF. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted Italy’s gross domestic product (GDP) will grow by 4.9% in 2021, 0.7% more than estimated in April.

The positive figure for Italy is part of an overall improvement that concerns all advanced economies, led by the United States. Predictions for Eurozone growth has been revised upwards, to 4.6% in 2021. Despite the positive estimates, there are still “downside risks”, the IMF said, starting with the exit from the COVID-19 pandemic, which will only end when it is defeated everywhere. (Daniele Lettig | EURACTIV.it)

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MADRID

COVID-19 deaths in Spain triple in two weeks in fifth wave. The number of weekly fatalities recorded in Spain from COVID-19 has grown from 32 to 98, while the incidence rate continues to rise, El País reported.

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LISBON

Hungary donates AstraZeneca vaccines to Portugal. Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva, on Tuesday praised the spirit of European cooperation that allowed Portugal to acquire 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Hungary to strengthen cooperation with Portuguese-language countries.

The agreement with Hungary shows the spirit of European cooperation, said Augusto Santos Silva, in Lisbon beside his Hungarian counterpart, Péter Szijjártó. Szijjártó landed in Lisbon about an hour after a plane chartered by the Budapest authorities had transported the vaccines purchased by Portugal.

“Under the terms of this agreement, Portugal purchases 200,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from Hungary that will be used to reinforce our vaccine donations to Portuguese-language African countries and East Timor,” said Silva. (Paulo Nogueira, Lusa.pt)


VISEGRAD

PRAGUE

Czech Supreme Court abolishes mask obligation. The Supreme Administrative Court of the Czech Republic ruled on Tuesday that the government’s measure obliging people to wear FFP2 masks in indoor areas is not justified. Read more.

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WARSAW

Polish government sets up fund to fight cybercrime. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has announced a new service will be created to deal exclusively with countering cyberthreats, in order to give the police instruments and access to the latest solutions in the fight against cybercrime. More.

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BUDAPEST

Hungarians can soon register for third jab. István György, the head of Hungary’s vaccination task force, told the public media on Tuesday that those who have received the second dose at least four months ago will be able to register for the third vaccination from the second half of the week, Telex reported.

Human Resources Minister Miklós Kásler first said on 13 July that the government would decide on the issue of the third jab soon. Three days later, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced that the third vaccine would be allowed from 1 August for those who have been fully vaccinated for at least four months, in the same vaccination centre where the first two were given, based on appointments. (Vlagyiszlav Makszimov | EURACTIV.com with Telex)

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BRATISLAVA

Reporters Without Borders slam Slovak TV for sacking journalist. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have expressed their support for “unjustly punished“ journalists who voiced internal criticism of a report linking a woman’s death to the COVID-19 vaccine, which was aired by the public-service broadcaster RTVS aired in March 2021. Read more.


NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

SOFIA

Bulgaria has miscounted the number of its vaccinated citizens. For two months, the Bulgarian authorities have been miscalculating the number of vaccinated people in the country. The information system, which reports data on vaccinated and infected, reported a sharp increase in fully vaccinated Bulgarians by 73,000 per day with only 8,538 doses of vaccines. Read more.

In other news, attempts by the outgoing caretaker government to oust Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev, who served under the previous government of Boyko Borissov, are continuing. More.

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ZAGREB

Croatia’s green-left platform We Can! rises in polls.  A new opinion poll conducted by Nova TV in Croatia puts the green-left We Can! platform on 14.9%, overtaking the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to gain second place.

The platform has been growing for three months while the SDP’s support slumped, coming third for the first time since 1995, scoring 14.3%. The centre-right HDZ (EPP) is on steady first place with 30%The far-right Homeland Movement came in with 7.7%, but the poll was completed before Miroslav Škoro shocked his voters by withdrawing as party president. The other far-right Most (The Bridge) party got 7.6%. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)

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LJUBLJANA 

Slovenia’s rejected candidates make renewed bid for delegated prosecutors. Matej Oštir and Tanja Frank Eler, the candidates picked for Slovenia’s two European delegated prosecutors before the nomination process was annulled by the government, have submitted applications in a repeat call for the posts, apparently the only candidates to do so. Read more.

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BELGRADE | SARAJEVO

President: Serbia can’t leave Republika Srpska without support. Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said on Tuesday he did not wish to comment on the measures and counter-measures that Bosnia and Herzegovina introduced following High Representative Valentin Inzko’s decision to outlaw denial of genocide, explaining that it was a matter of another country. Read more.

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SARAJEVO

Serb MPs boycott national parliament’s session. The parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Tuesday had to cancel its session because MPs from Serb political parties failed to show up, thus confirming an earlier announcement that they would boycott the work of state institutions due to the imposition of a law banning the denial of war crimes. More.


AGENDA:

  • France:  President Emmanuel Macron will continue his official trip to French Polynesia today.
  • Greece: Tripartite meeting among the leaders of Greece, Cyprus and Jordan in Athens.
  • Bulgaria: Caretaker Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov will be heard by parliament on the issue of illegal wiretapping of politicians and citizens during anti-government protests last summer.
  • Croatia: A ceremony marking the installation of the last segment of the steel span structure of the 2.4 km EU-funded Pelješac Bridge bypassing the BiH 24 kilometers Adriatic coast. 
  • Serbia: Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić to start two-day visit where he will meet with North Macedonia and Albania prime ministers, Zoran Zaev and Edi Rama as part of the Mini-Schengen initiative.

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

 

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