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.
The European news you deserve to read. Welcome to The Capitals by EURACTIV.
In today’s news from the Capitals:
Three months before the Spanish regional and municipal elections, left-wing Unidas Podemos will likey vote against the reform of the controversial sexual assault law proposed by its coalition partner PSOE, in a move that risks aggravating already tense relations between the two parties. Read more.
Metsola dangerously silent over LIBE committee’s Greek sabotage. The Greek government and other state stakeholders have sabotaged a mission of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) to Athens to examine the state of the rule of law and wiretapping scandal. The sabotage started in Brussels with the European People’s Party (EPP). How is it possible for the EU Parliament chief, Roberta Metsola, to remain silent? Read more.
Automotive regions head wants EU combustion engine proposal changed. The compromise reached between EU institutions on the phase-out of internal combustion engines for new cars and vans by 2035 should be changed, said Thomas Schmidt, Minister in the German region of Saxony and head of the Automotive Regions Alliance. Read more.
French government, retailers agree to ‘anti-inflation quarter’. Large retailers and the government agreed to commit to a so-called “anti-inflation quarter” to reduce the inflationary trend on everyday products until June, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire announced Monday. Read more.
Austrian FM asks developing countries to support Ukraine. Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg appealed to developing countries to support Ukraine at the Monday UN Development Aid Conference in Qatar, emphasising Russia war of aggression in Ukraine is not just a European war. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Finland needs billions to improve government finances. For Finland to remain a “stable and sustainable” society, general government finances must be improved by at least €9 billion over the next two parliamentary terms, the Finance Ministry predicted in its structural and tax surveys published on Monday. Read more.
Greek government now mulls elections in May. The train tragedy that cost the lives of at least 57 people has changed the Greek government’s plan for elections in April, with media reports suggesting the conservative government is seeing 14 or 21 May as a possible alternative date. Read more.
Italy grants free legal representation to migrant shipwreck survivors. Those who survived the shipwreck in Cutro on 26 February that left 70 dead and several others missing will be heard by a judge and will be assisted free of charge by a pool of lawyers. Read more.
Government dismisses TAP Air Portugal chairman, CEO. The government has dismissed the Chairman of the Board of Directors and the Chief Executive of flag carrier TAP, Manuel Beja and Christine Ourmières-Widener, after the inspectorate of Finance (IGF) reported on the departure of board member Alexandra Reis from the company, Finance Minister Fernando Medina announced. Read more.
Poland’s Orlen to sue Russia for halting oil supplies. State-owned energy giant Orlen will take legal steps against Russia over its recent suspension of oil supplies via the Druzhba pipeline, the company’s CEO, Daniel Obajtek, announced. Read more.
Czechia opposes European Sovereignty Fund. The Czech Republic opposes the European Commission’s plan to create a new European Sovereignty Fund as part of the EU’s response to the US Inflation Reduction Act. Read more.
Slovak Interior Minister: V4 united in dialogue with Commission on irregular migration. Slovakia, Czechia, Hungary and Poland, comprising the Visegrad Four, want to unite in dialogue with the European Commission on the issue of illegal migration, Slovak Interior Minister Roman Mikulec said after meeting with other Visegrad ministers. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Croatia to roll out scheme to monitor farm subsidy spending. The Croatian Agriculture Ministry on Monday unveiled its new system intended to more closely monitor how farmers spend approved farming subsidies without yet detailing the method or how frequent monitoring will be. Read more.
Soviet Army monument in Sofia to be removed after years of debate. A large monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia will finally be removed after years of opposition from former prime minister Boyko Borissov’s party, GERB. Read more.
Slovenian NGOs threaten to challenge CETA in court. Environmental organisations are threatening to bring about a court challenge to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada, just as the government is preparing to put ratification of the agreement on the parliament’s agenda. Read more.
Serbia’s poor, home-bound young people want to emigrate. More opportunities and better working conditions must be given to Serbia’s youth, many of which live with their parents until a relatively old age, are much poorer than the national average, and have a strong desire to leave the country, Milica Mutavdžić from the Belgrade human rights centre said. Read more.
Albanian PM to meet Scholz, Berlin process on agenda. Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama is set to meet for a ‘head-to-head’ meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, where the Berlin process and Albania’s EU accession will be high on the agenda. Read more.
- EU: Education Council convenes to discuss skills and competencies for the green transition, teachers as the cornerstone of the European Education Area, and more; Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commissioner Mariya Gabriel attends;
- Informal meeting of defence ministers takes place in Stockholm; Agenda highlights include the EU’s military support to Ukraine, working lunch with UN, NATO representatives, and more;
- Commission President Ursula von der Leyen meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; Addresses a joint parliament session in Ottawa;
- Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans participates in the EU Solar CEO Forum, organised in the margins of the Solar Power Summit 2023;
- Vice President Dubravka Šuica attends the conference on “Increasing European added value in an age of global challenges” organised by the European Parliament;
- Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton delivers a keynote speech at the sixth Industrial Forum Plenary meeting;
- Jobs and Social Rights Commissioner Nicolas Schmit gives an opening speech at the launch of the “Save the Children” report on ending child poverty and social exclusion in Europe;
- International Partnerships Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen attends the Fifth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5)
- Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides holds a videoconference with the members of the Scientific Advice Platform on COVID-19;
- Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly meets with ECB President Christine Lagarde;
- Germany: Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama hold a meeting; International Travel Fair (Internationale Tourismus Boerse, ITB) takes place;
- Belgium: Brussels Court of Appeal to examine the defence request for dismissing Michel Claise, the presiding judge on the Qatargate case.
- Spain: Parliament votes on the reform of sexual assaults law; Government approves new gender parity law;
- Sweden: Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hold joint press conference;
- United Kingdom: Government presents legislation aimed at curbing migrant boat arrivals;
- UAE: World Police Summit takes place;
- UN: Security Council discusses the role of women in conflict prevention;
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson, Sofia Mandilara]