Politics

Czech parliament chief urges Hungarians to kick Orbán out – EURACTIV.com


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 NATO meets with Russia amid tug-of-war over Ukraine, by Alexandra Brzozowski.


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In today’s news from the Capitals:

PRAGUE

Following remarks by parliament’s speaker who hoped that Hungarians drive Prime Minister Viktor Orbán out of office in the upcoming general elections, controversy has been sparked in the new Czech governing coalition. Read more.

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BERLIN

Ex-minister: Scholz should call confidence vote over mandatory vaccination. German chancellor Olaf Scholz should hold a vote of confidence in the Bundestag, former conservative transport minister Andreas Scheuer said on Tuesday, amid disputes over potential mandatory vaccines. Read more.

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VIENNA

One in ten Austrians could lose their vaccination status in February. More than 900,000 Austrians, or about 10% of the population, risk losing their vaccination status if they do not get their second or booster shot before February. This is because, from February, COVID certificates will be valid for six months rather than the current nine. Read more.

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THE HAGUE

Dutch lack trust in new coalition, survey shows. There is a general lack of trust in the new Dutch coalition, even among voters of the parties currently in government, a survey conducted by the research company I&O Research shows. Read more.


UK AND IRELAND

LONDON

Two-third of Britons demand Johnson’s resignation over new lockdown party. An increasingly beleaguered Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing mounting calls for his resignation following allegations that he and his wife attended a social drinks gathering with dozens of people in the garden of his Downing Street residence during the first coronavirus lockdown. Read more.

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DUBLIN

Irish PM: Vaccines to remain voluntary. Mandatory vaccinations will not be introduced in Ireland, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said after news broke on Tuesday that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) would consider the possibility. Read more.


NORDICS AND BALTICS

HELSINKI

Researchers develop ‘biological mask’ against COVID infections. A research group at Helsinki University is in the process of developing an intranasal sprayed inhibitor that should create a biological mask and block omicron and other variants of COVID-19. Read more.

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COPENHAGEN

Danish military intelligence chief jailed for espionage. Military intelligence chief Lars Findsen has been jailed for a month for leaking classified documents to Danish media, local media revealed Monday after a court hearing in Copenhagen. Read more.


EUROPE’S SOUTH

ROME

Gas price hike may lead to Italian companies relocating. If the government does not provide subsidies to companies, many of them will opt to relocate, said company consortium Confindustria on Tuesday. The consortium is worried about skyrocketing energy prices, which could lead to companies choosing another location for their activities. Read more.

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ATHENS

Greece to administer fourth dose against COVID. Greece’s National Vaccination Committee has given its green light to a fourth dose of coronavirus vaccine for the immunocompromised and those who suffer from serious chronic diseases. Meanwhile, the EMA opposes a fourth jab for the general population. Read more.

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MADRID

Spain to allocate 0.7% of its GNP to development aid by 2030. Spain plans to allocate 0.7% of its Gross National Product (GNP) to Official Development Assistance (ODA) by 2030, official sources confirmed on Tuesday, EURACTIV’s partner EFE and El País reported. Read more.

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LISBON

New insolvency, company restructuring rules to take effect in April in Portugal. New rules on insolvency and restructuring of companies in Portugal will come into force in mid-April, under a law published in the state gazette on Tuesday that reduces the period of personal insolvency to three years from the current five. Read more.


VISEGRAD 

WARSAW

Polish government vows to scrap taxes on gas. In its long-awaited second “anti-inflation shield”, the government announced its plan to cut value-added tax on fuel and introduce a zero VAT rate on goods such as basic food products, fertilisers and natural gas. Read more.

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BUDAPEST

Hungarian government breaks promise, uses emails to push politics. As the country enters the pre-election period, the Hungarian government has been using emails shared during the vaccination drive to promote unrelated policies despite earlier promises to only contact citizens with jab-related information, Telex reported. Read more.

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BRATISLAVA

Slovak Prosecutor General flies to Moscow to sign agreement with Russian counterpart. Prosecutor General Maroš Žilinka boarded a plane to Moscow on Tuesday to attend the 300th anniversary of the Prosecutor’s Office in Russia and sign a cooperation agreement with his Russian counterpart Igor Krasnov who faces EU sanctions due to the imprisonment of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. Read more.


NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

WESTERN BALKANS

Hundreds of millions of EU funds ‘ineffective’ in strengthening Balkan rule of law. The European Commission admits more needs to be done for rule of law reforms in the Western Balkans following a European Court of Auditors report which deemed the €700 million of EU work “ineffective” and “not successful”. Read more.

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SOFIA

Whole Bulgarian leadership quarantined due to COVID-19 contact. Bulgaria’s president, the prime minister, some key ministers, and most parliamentary political party leaders were quarantined on Tuesday because they came in contact with parliament president Nikola Minchev, who was infected with COVID-19. Read more.

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BUCHAREST

Eight million Romanians vaccinated. The number of Romanian’s to receive at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose reached eight million on Tuesday. However, Romania remains the second least vaccinated country in the EU, with slightly more than 40% of people getting a COVID-19 vaccine. (Bogdan Neagu | EURACTIV.ro)

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ZAGREB

Croat opposition calls for Central Bank governor to resign. MPs Ivana Kekin and Urša Raukar of the Green-Left Bloc on Tuesday called for the resignation of Croatian National Bank (HNB) Governor Boris Vujčić and HNB Council members following revelations that HNB officials and staff had traded in securities of commercial banks. Read more.

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BELGRADE 

Serbian Patriarch tests positive for COVID-19. Serbian Patriarch Porfirije has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be treated at home, the Serbian Orthodox Church Information Office said on Tuesday. Read more.

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SARAJEVO 

Plenkovic and Izetbegovic discuss mending Bosniak-Croat relations. It is imperative to mend relations with Croats and Croatia because the current tensions are harming both peoples and countries, the leader of BiH’s Party of Democratic Action (SDA) Bakir Izetbegović said, on Monday as he met with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković in Dubrovnik. Read more.

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SKOPJE

List of North Macedonia cabinet nominees submitted to parliament. Prime Minister-designate Dimitar Kovačevski has sent the list of cabinet nominees and the government’s potential programme to parliament. Speaker Talaf Xhaferi scheduled the session for selecting the new government for 15 January. Read more.

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Buckovski no longer Skopje-Sofia negotiator. The government has dismissed Vlado Bučkovski from the post of Special Representative of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia in the negotiations with the Republic of Bulgaria.

The reasons for the dismissal have not been revealed, but unofficially the assessment is that with the new approach, the foreign ministries of both countries will lead the negotiations through five working groups, due to which there is no need for a special representative.

(Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)

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PODGORICA 

Dukanovic’s departure would significantly facilitate relations between parties. The departure of Milo Đukanović from the head of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) is not a precondition for forming a minority government, but it would significantly facilitate communication and relations between the parties Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the URA Civic Movement, Dritan Abazović said. Read more.

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PRISTINA

Kosovo continues crackdown on crypto. Following Kosovo’s ban on cryptocurrency mining, authorities are cracking down on those who still have the equipment in their possession, including those in the Serb-majority north who do not pay for electricity. Read more.

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TIRANA

Reporters Without Borders criticise Albanian police for targeting journalists in protest. Albanian police have been criticised by international media freedom watchdog, Reporters Without Borders for “deliberately” targeting clearly identifiable journalists with water cannons and tear gas following Saturday’s unrest. Read more.


AGENDA:

  • EU: EU defence ministers meet informally in the French sea-side town of Brest for an informal meeting, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg expected for dinner.
  • NATO-Russia Council meets in Brussels / NATO’s Military Committee meets.
  • Germany: Chancellor Olaf Scholz attends his first parliamentary question time.
  • France: Extradition hearing of Italian former far-left extremists, wanted by Italy for “Years of Lead” crimes / Court of Appeal decision on Spain’s request to hand over imprisoned alleged former ETA leader “Txeroki”.
  • Sweden: Covid restrictions tightened, expands vaccine pass.
  • UK: Prime Minister Boris Johnson answers questions in weekly session in parliament.
  • Ireland: US Trade Representative Katherine Tai discusses trans-Atlantic trade relations in Dublin.
  • Czech Republic: Deputies hold vote of confidence in new Czech centre-right government.
  • Hungary: Parliamentary elections announced for 3 April.
  • Bulgaria: Protest announced against Covid vaccination and health pass in Sofia.
  • Romania: Government meeting – progress in meeting the targets included in the Recovery and Resilience Plan will be discussed, among others.

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[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]




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