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Eastern Partnership – Europe as a civilisational choice
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In today’s news from the Capitals:
A plane carrying fuel for two Slovak nuclear power plants landed in Slovakia on Tuesday despite the country’s airspace being closed to Russian planes. The economy ministry confirmed that an aircraft of the Volga Dnepr company had carried nuclear fuel. Read more.
Austrian bank to take biggest blow from sanctions. Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) could close its entire business in Russia, which accounts for around a third of its revenue with experts saying it is the European bank that will suffer the most from the sanction package against Russia. Read more.
Weimar Triangle stresses unity over Ukraine. The Weimar Triangle of Poland, France, and Germany has united behind the common cause of supporting Ukraine following a meeting of the three foreign ministers. Read more.
Le Maire backtracks after talking of ‘economic and financial war’ against Russia. French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, a key figure in implementing sanctions against Russia, caused an outcry after saying France and the EU would “wage a total economic and financial war on Russia”. Later in the day, he backtracked on his “inappropriate” remarks. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
UK widens refugee scheme following criticism. The UK government has revised its stance on Ukrainian refugees after facing criticism that its offer of assistance was less generous than the European Union. Read more.
Ukrainian refugees to live on same terms as EU citizens in Ireland. Refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine will receive a special status allowing them to work and live in Ireland on the same terms as EU nationals, Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has said. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Russia and Belarus banned from ice hockey championships. Russia and Belarus are banned from competing in international ice hockey tournaments, while the International Olympic Committee has also recommended Russian and Belarusian athletes should be blocked from all international events. Read more.
Swedish government wants EU sanctions against Russian oligarchs and mercenaries. Stockholm calls for new sanctions from the EU, specifically targeting those who “have Putin’s back”. This group includes Russian oligarchs and the Wagner Group, an organisation of mercenaries. Read more.
Lithuania ready to accept refugees, warns of changing ‘level of comfort’. Lithuania is ready to accept Ukrainian refugees but the “level of comfort” might change drastically as the numbers of refugees are growing. Read more.
Greece ends collaboration with all Russian cultural organisations. The Russian embassy in Athens has reacted strongly to the Greek government’s announcement marking the end of collaboration with Russian cultural organisations. Tensions between Athens and Moscow have escalated significantly over the past few days. Read more.
Spain to deploy extra troops in Latvia to protect EU frontiers. Spain will soon deploy additional troops in Latvia to reinforce NATO and EU efforts to secure all European borders close to the Russian frontiers, Defence Minister Margarita Robles said on Tuesday. Read more.
Close to one million Ukrainian refugees expected to arrive in Italy. Between 800,000 and 900,000 refugees will likely arrive in Italy due to the escalation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Fabio Prevedello, the chairman of the Maidan Italian-Ukrainian association, told news agency ANSA on Tuesday. Read more.
Portugal can take in 1,245 displaced Ukrainians, says government. Portugal can accommodate 1,245 people displaced from Ukraine, the minister of the presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, said on Tuesday. Read more.
Czechs want to break law and serve in Ukrainian armed forces. The Czech defence ministry has registered requests from citizens who wish to serve in the Ukrainian armed forces, although by law, this is prohibited. Read more.
Poland will not send fighter jets to Ukraine, says president. President Andrzej Duda ruled out sending Polish fighter jets to Ukraine to support its resistance from Russia, as it would drag NATO into the conflict. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
BELGRADE | PODGORICA
EU Parliament regrets Serbia not harmonising with EU’s Russia sanctions. Serbia’s failure to harmonise with the EU’s sanctions against Russia is regrettable and hurts the country’s accession process, according to a draft resolution on Ukraine which MEPs are set to vote. On the other hand, Montenegro, also an EU candidate, will fully align with EU foreign on the matter. Read more.
Bulgarians no longer like Putin. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s popularity in Bulgaria has dropped significantly in just four days, a survey published Tuesday by the sociological agency Alpha Research shows. Read more.
Romania wants to increase defence spending to 2.5% of GDP. The current security context shows that Romania needs to increase its defensive capabilities, therefore an increase in defence spending is called for, President Klaus Iohannis said Tuesday. Read more.
Romania wants to set up hub for Ukraine donations. Romania wants to set up a hub for international donations for Ukraine, President Klaus Iohannis said Tuesday, after a meeting of the country’s Supreme Defence Council. Read more.
Croatian president, government back granting Ukraine EU candidate status. Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and the Croatian government strongly support giving Ukraine EU candidate status, government spokesman Marko Milić said on Tuesday. Read more.
BiH deeply divided on Independence Day. Independence Day, celebrated on 1 March in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was only observed in the Federation entity and not in Republika Srpska, highlighting the deep division in the country. Read more.
North Macedonia minister: no need to activate commodity reserves. There will be no price shocks in North Macedonia, meaning there is no need to panic and activate commodity reserves for the time being, Economy Minister Kreshnik Bekteshi said on Tuesday. Read more.
Kosovo bans Russian media amid Ukraine invasion. TV broadcasting companies in Kosovo have started the withdrawal of Russian channels following a decision from the Independent Media Commission in the hopes of quelling the spread of Russian propaganda. Read more.
Albania receives last Russian wheat shipment amid sanctions. Amid wide-ranging sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU and also Albania, the last shipment of Russian wheat has arrived in the country on Tuesday. Read more.
- EU: EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi in Moldova / EU agriculture ministers hold emergency meeting on Ukraine / College of Commissioners meets / Working lunch between European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Parliament President Roberta Mestola.
- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg meets Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir at HQ.
- Germany: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visits Israel, German Foreign Minister annalen Baerbock in Washington.
- Austria: Commission VP Margaritis Schinas meets with Chancellor Karl Nehammer in Vienna / International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors holds meeting on Ukraine.
- Estonia: Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe meets with finance minister and president of the central bank of Estonia.
- Cyprus: President Nicos Anastasiades hosts Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]