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.
Editor’s take: Commission to update COVID pass validity in early December. The European Commission is expected to propose introducing a third COVID-19 shot in the validity of the EU digital certificate in early December, an EU source told EURACTIV. The scenario of having a third jab within nine months after the last vaccination seems to be prevailing. Read more.
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In today’s news from the Capitals:
More than 1,400 Albanians sought asylum in EU member states in August 2021, a 46% increase compared to July and more than double that of June, reverting to a pre-pandemic trend, according to EU data. This comes as reducing unfounded asylum cases is one of the conditions for EU accession that the Commission claims Albania has met. Read more.
Everything you need to know ahead of the CAP final vote. It is crunch time for the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), with lawmakers in the European Parliament set to give their green light to reform the EU’s farming policy once and for all on Tuesday (23 November). So, what should you know ahead of the vote? EURACTIV has you covered.
Germans close to forming government with a ‘green’ veto right. As negotiations in Berlin over Germany’s first-ever three-way government continue, their ambitious timeline may be back on track. The rumour mill, previously busy with dubious “leaked” lists showing which people will take ministries, has now turned towards Tuesday when a big announcement is said to be due. Read more.
Macron calls for ‘not giving in to lies’ as protests against mandatory jabs in Guadeloupe unfold. On the sidelines of a trip to Amiens in northern France, President Emmanuel Macron has called for “calm and public order” in Guadeloupe as the French island in the Caribbean is shaken by a protest movement against the mandatory vaccination of healthcare workers. Read more.
VIENNA | BERLIN
Belarus opposition leader Tsikhanouskaya criticises Berlin over Lukashenko phone call. Exiled Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has asked EU leaders to refrain from contacting Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenko at the International Conference on Belarus in Vienna. She also criticised German Chancellor Angela Merkel for calling Lukashenko to ease tensions in the ongoing migration crisis at the border with Poland. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
London has no plans to suspend parts of NI protocol soon. UK trade minister Anne Marie Trevelyan on Monday indicated that London had no plans to suspend parts of the Northern Ireland protocol any time soon. Read more.
Ireland may roll out vaccinations to young children in New Year. The government may introduce vaccinations for primary school-aged children, with a potential start date in the New Year, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
HELSINKI | TALLINN
Finland responds to Estonia’s call for COVID-19 vaccines. Finland will deliver 130,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to Estonia by the end of November after it requested help from other EU countries, Finland’s social affairs and health ministry announced. In return, Estonia has promised to send the same amount of vaccines back to Finland in February next year. Read more.
Sweden’s potential first female PM given more time to form government. Finance Minister and Chair of the Social Democratic Party, Magdalena Andersson, has been given until Wednesday ( 24 November) morning to gather enough support in parliament to form a government and secure her place as the country’s first female prime minister. Read more.
Spain wants EU Next Generation and CAP funds to supplement each other to boost agrifood sector. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and Next Generation funds should supplement each other to boost innovation in the Spanish agrifood sector and help mitigate the economic side-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Agriculture Minister Luis Planas on Monday, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported. Read more.
Italy’s president praises science behind vaccines a few weeks before mandate end. President Sergio Mattarella praised the role of science in the fight against COVID-19 on Monday on the occasion of the inauguration of the academic year at the Sapienza University of Rome. Read more.
Portugal ranks seventh in EU with lowest COVID-19 death toll, new daily cases. Portugal is seventh in the EU for the lowest number of COVID-19 deaths and new daily infections per million inhabitants, according to the statistical website Our World in Data. Read more.
Greek church cannot guarantee it will follow latest COVID-19 measures. “People who work or volunteer in the Holy Churches have neither the capability nor the power of a public good as the police do,” the Holy Synod announced on Monday as the number of COVID-19-related deaths has skyrocketed. Read more.
Ruling PiS party support drops to 30%. Support for the ruling Law and Justice dropped to 30%, according to several opinion polls published over the last few days. The support of the democratic opposition remains steady at over 40%, often close to 50%, while the far-right Confederacy is polling below 10%. Read more.
Petition for mandatory vaccination launched in Czechia. Czech scientist Peter Šeba from the Academic of Science has launched an online petition for mandatory vaccination. After a few days, it gained around 2,500 signatures and sparked a debate about this sensitive issue. So far, the Czech government has refused to opt for mandatory vaccination. Read more.
Pilot-journalist targeted with spyware purchased by Hungarian secret service. A former TV reporter and pilots phone number appears in the leaked database of more than 50,000 phone numbers selected by the Israeli NSO Group’s clients, the Hungarian government, for Pegasus surveillance, Telex reported via Direkt36. Read more.
Slovakia lagging behind EU in digitalisation. Slovakia came 22nd in this year’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) published yearly by the European Commission, meaning its ranking did not change compared with 2020, EURACTIV Slovakia reported. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Croatia summons Austrian ambassador over ‘fundamental human freedoms’ in Vienna. President Zoran Milanović said his office would summon the Austrian ambassador to convey his concern over “fundamental human freedoms”. He also said if the Dutch can comment on Bosnia and Herzegovina every week, he can comment on the situation in Rotterdam. Read more.
Croatian FM: Croatia feels China’s strong presence. “We cannot just condemn China’s presence if we have not shown sufficient strength in terms of what we have to offer and stronger presence,” said Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman, adding that China’s economic influence was strong in the Western Balkans, a region that had been neglected lately. Read more.
46 killed in unprecedented bus crash on a highway in Bulgaria. “A human tragedy of unprecedented magnitude” – this is how Bulgarian officials described the bus crash on the road from Sofia to Skopje, in which 46 died and seven were taken to hospital. Read more.
Political talks in Bulgaria will be broadcast live. The winning coalition “Continuing Change” begins on Tuesday a series of discussions with potential political partners in a bid to reach a coalition agreement to form a stable government. For the first time, the meetings of the politicians will be held in front of an audience and political talks will be broadcast on all social media platforms. Read more.
Ciuca gets another go at forming Romania’s new government. President Klaus Iohannis again designated Defence Minister Nicolae Ciuca to create the new government. This time, Ciuca is supported by a coalition formed by the main parties on both sides of the political spectrum. Read more.
Slovenia’s justice minister survives no-confidence vote. Marjan Dikaučič remains Slovenia’s justice minister after 42 MPs voted in favour on Monday of a motion of no-confidence tabled by five opposition deputy groups, four short of the required majority. Read more.
Construction of subway kicks off in Belgrade, followed by protests. The construction of the Belgrade subway started at the Makiško Polje location on Monday, with the building of infrastructure and a platform of the future terminal. The construction work began with protests, with ecological activists claiming that any construction in that area would seriously endanger Belgrade’s water supply. Read more.
IMF concerned about possible withdrawal of RS from BiH’s tax authority. Alina Iancu, head of the International Monetary Fund’s mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, asked for an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Zoran Tegeltija to discuss the “implications of Republika Srpska’s (Serb entity, RS) withdrawal from the Indirect Tax Authority.” Read more.
North Macedonia’s SDSM to choose new leader and PM-designate. The Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) is set to review the resignation of its leader, Zoran Zaev, which will open the way for a new party leader and Prime Minister-designate, exit.al reported. Read more.
Every other day a woman in Montenegro falls victim to domestic violence. Every other day one woman is a victim of domestic violence, according to the Women’s Rights Centre (CŽP). In the first ten months of this year, 180 women turned to the centre for help due to domestic violence. “Last year, 201 beneficiaries turned to CŽP for help, to whom 3,510 services were provided, and by October this year, 214 beneficiaries, of which 180 due to domestic violence,” the CŽP announced.
Other services, 3,704 of them this year, include information, psychological and legal assistance, representation before the court, mediation with institutions and escorting a “confidential person” through procedures in institutions.
(Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)
PRISTINA | BELGRADE
Albanians deny Serbia’s claim of deal over Presheva Valley administrative cleansing. Ragmi Mustafi, leader of ethnic Albanians in Serbia’s Presheva Valley has denied Belgrade’s claims they have reached an agreement over Albanian addresses being removed from the civil registry. Read more.
Albania spent €213 million on importing energy in 2021 so far. The Albanian government imported €213 million of energy between January and November of this year despite proudly announcing that Albania is powered by 100% hydropower. Read more.
- EU: European affairs ministers meet in Brussels / European Parliament vote on new Common Agricultural Policy, to enter into force in 2023 + debate on the Belarus migrant crisis / EU’s chief diplomat continues visit to Central Asia / EU unveils European election reforms / European Commission publishes opinions on member state budgets for 2022.
- Austria: IAEA head Rafael Grossi expected to hold press conference after Tehran visit / Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti visits Vienna.
- Netherlands: Court rules on suit against government over dolphin exports to Chinese amusement park.
- Romania: Maia Sandu, the president of the Republic of Moldova, is on an official visit in Romania. Meetings with president Klaus Iohannis and caretaker prime minister Florin Citu are scheduled.
- Croatia: Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman visits Switzerland.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]