Who wants Ukraine to be granted EU candidate status?

NEW TEMPLATE CAPITALS ARTICLE

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In today’s news from the Capitals:

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the request from Kyiv to join the European Union has reverberated through the blocs’ capitals. The question of whether to grant the country ‘candidate status’, the first major step on the long, winding road to EU membership, is expected to be on the agenda of member state leaders before the end of the French presidency of the Council on 1 July. Read more.

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BERLIN

German FM calls Belarus opposition leaders ‘Europe’s bravest women’. Belarusian opposition members Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Veronika Tsepkalo, and Maria Kalesnikava are “the bravest women in Europe,” said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock as the three women were awarded the Charlemagne Prize on Thursday. Read more.

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PARIS

Macron asks Turkey to respect Finland and Sweden’s ‘sovereign choice’. A “quick solution” must be found to lift Turkey’s veto on the NATO membership of Finland and Sweden, President Emmanuel Macron told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Read more.


UK AND IRELAND

LONDON

Government unveils windfall tax to fund £400 energy discount to all. Every household will get an energy bill discount of £400 in the autumn as part of a series of government handouts to be financed in part by a new 25% levy on oil and gas firms, the government announced on Thursday. Read more.


NORDICS AND BALTICS

HELSINKI

Ukrainian war means serious environmental setback for Baltic Sea. The Baltic Sea has faced grave environmental consequences following the war in Ukraine. Read more.

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STOCKHOLM

Sweden confirms second monkeypox case. The Public Health Agency confirmed another monkeypox case on Wednesday after a person living in Västra Götaland, in Southern Sweden, tested positive for the virus. Read more. 


EUROPE’S SOUTH

ROME

Italy’s energy and Algeria oil giant strike new gas deal. Italian energy group Eni and Algerian oil company Sonatrach signed a Memorandum of Understanding to accelerate the development of gas fields and green hydrogen in Algeria to increase gas exports to Italy. Read more.

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MADRID

Spanish government plans intelligence services overhaul after spyware scandal. The government on Thursday announced plans for a new official secrets bill and reforms to the National Intelligence Centre (CNI) after the agency acknowledged using Pegasus spyware to infiltrate mobile phones belonging to pro-Catalan independence politicians and activists. Read more.

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LISBON

Israel, Brazil tops 2021 list of approvals for Portuguese citizenship. Over 54,000 foreigners applied for Portuguese nationality in 2021, and the Foreigners Service issued 46,855 positive opinions, mostly to citizens from Israel and Brazil, the annual Internal Security Report (RASI) has found. Read more.

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ATHENS

Athens, Nicosia against ‘fast-track’ process for Ukraine EU membership. Greece and Cyprus support Ukraine’s EU membership but oppose a fast-track process as several eastern European countries have suggested, diplomatic sources told EURACTIV Greece. Read more.


VISEGRAD 

PRAGUE

Czech EU presidency to be plagued by limited travel links. Czechs who need to travel frequently due to the upcoming EU Council presidency in June will likely face flight problems as only one company currently operates two direct flights from Prague to Brussels Zaventem airport. Read more.

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WARSAW

Poland could double army size thanks to voluntary service, says minister. Voluntary basic military service is such a tempting option that Poland will be able to double the size of its army, said Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak. Read more.

Polish Parliament approves judicial reforms to unblock EU funds. Poland’s Parliament on Thursday (26 May) voted in favour of a bill that will replace a contested disciplinary chamber for judges with a new body, clearing the way for the country to get billions in COVID-19 recovery funds from Brussels. Read more.

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BUDAPEST

Slovaks rush to Hungary for cheap gas as ‘petrol tourism’ era ends. After the government in Budapest announced it will only allow cars with Hungarian license plates to buy petrol for capped prices at the country’s petrol stations, motorists from neighbouring Slovakia rushed across the border. Meanwhile, petrol station owners warn the regulation will be hard to implement. Read more.

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BRATISLAVA

Slovak customs snowed under by trains crossing Ukraine border with goods. Slovak customs are currently overwhelmed by the increase in trains carrying goods crossing the Ukrainian border as Russia’s blockade on ports has forced Ukraine to deliver goods via train instead. Read more.


NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

SOFIA

Greece-Bulgaria gas interconnector operational from 1 July. The gas connection between Bulgaria and Greece will start operating on 1 July, with Bulgaria poised to receive one billion cubic metres of gas from Azerbaijan – enough to meet the country’s needs during summer, with prices expected to be lower than Russian gas. Read more.

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ZAGREB

Croatia court gives final nod to adoption by same-sex couples. Same-sex couples are entitled to apply for child adoption as any other treatment would be discriminatory and not in line with European practice, Croatia’s high administrative court has said in a historic ruling that ended a same-sex couple’s six-year-long legal battle. Read more.

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BELGRADE 

Vucic to soon discuss gas, further cooperation with Putin. Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić is scheduled to discuss further cooperation and a new gas contract with Russian President Vladimir Putin at 11 am Sunday, said Vučić who hopes “the conversation will be good and fair.” Read more.

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SARAJEVO

US, EU criticise Bosnian Croat obstruction of election funding. The US embassy and the EU delegation in Sarajevo have criticised the biggest Croat party in Bosnia-Herzegovina, HDZ BiH, for blocking the approval of financing for the national parliamentary elections due on 2 October. Read more.

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PODGORICA 

Montenegro may be set to join Open Balkan initiative. Montenegro could be poised to join the Open Balkan initiative as Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, whose country, together with Albania and North Macedonia, are members, has invited Montenegrin Prime Minister Dritan Abazović to the ‘Open Balkan Summit’ in Ohrid on 7-8 June. Read more.

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PRISTINA

US backs Kosovo’s plan to join NATO peace programme. The US supports Kosovo’s plan to join NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme, US Ambassador Julianne Smith said on Thursday after Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti expressed his country’s desire to join. Read more.

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TIRANA

Albanian government favours Sweden and Finland in NATO. The Albanian government is in favour of Sweden and Finland joining NATO, according to the latest decision of the Council of Ministers on Thursday. Read more.


Agenda

  • United Kingdom: British Foreign Minister Liz Truss visits Prague.
  • Moscow: 25th anniversary of NATO-Russia pact that ended 40 years of Cold War.
  • Indonesia: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky participates in a virtual conference.

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[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Vlad Makszimov, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Eleonora Vasques, Sofia Stuart Leeson]

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