June 16. 2024. 1:29

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Salvini: France rejects migrants but ‘keeps terrorists’


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.


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In today’s news from the Capitals:

ROME

President Emmanuel Macron’s government rejects migrants but “keeps terrorists”, Transport and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Savini (League/ID) said after a French court refused to extradite ten former terrorist members of the Red Brigades group to Italy. Read more.

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EU INSTITUTIONS

EU Parliament chief: ‘We have to be prepared for anything’ amid Putin nuke threats. Following Russia announcing its deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, “we have to be prepared for anything”, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola told Romanian’s television news channel Digi24 in an interview. Read more.

Super-election week in Europe – Here’s what to watch out for. Europe is gearing up for seven elections next week, with key votes in Finland, Bulgaria and Montenegro, elections in Andorra, four French constituencies, and regional elections in Italy and Switzerland. EURACTIV’s partner Europe Elects provides you with the latest polls as well as analysis of the political context. Read more.

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BERLIN

German Constitutional Court confirms generalised data retention illegal. After seven years of ambiguity regarding the German law on data retention, the German Federal Constitutional Court ruled it inapplicable and incompatible with EU law. Read more.

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PARIS

Macron announces water plan to fight droughts. Progressive pricing, savings, and the fight against leaks are all part of the 53 measures in the new water management plan President Emmanuel Macron announced on Thursday to better tackle droughts. Read more.

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VIENNA

Austrian far-right MPs walk out of Zelenskyy speech. Far-right lawmakers walked out of parliament Thursday as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave an online address thanking the country for its support. Read more.

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THE HAGUE

Dutch to investigate civilian casualties during fight against ISIS. The Defence Ministry will investigate whether the use of Dutch F16s during the war against ISIS led to more civilian casualties than currently known in Iraq and Eastern Syria, Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren wrote in a letter to parliament on Thursday. Read more.


NORDICS AND BALTICS

STOCKHOLM

New Swedish census will aim to ‘weed out’ illegals. Sweden’s Tax Agency has been commissioned to carry out a national census to get a better picture of who is staying illegally in the country, Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson and far-right Sweden Democrat party leader Jimmie Åkesson told a press conference Thursday. Read more.


EUROPE’S SOUTH

MADRID

Madrid ‘ideal’ setting for EU Anti Money Laundering Authority, says expert. Madrid would be an excellent candidate for the headquarters of the future EU Anti Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) given its perfect record and pioneering initiatives on the matter, Mariano García Fresno, an expert on money laundering, told EuroEFE in an interview. Read more.

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ATHENS

With or without EU money, Greece says will finish border fence. Greece will finalise the construction of a fence at the land border with Turkey with or without financial support from the EU, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday amid strong reactions from the opposition who accused him of fishing extreme right votes ahead of the May elections. Read more.

Greek government grants ‘inviolability’ to train accident investigation body. In a last-minute amendment, the Greek ruling New Democracy party granted inviolability to an ad hoc body investigating a deadly train crash that cost the lives of 57 people but the body’s legality is questioned, considering Athens violated a relevant EU directive. Read more.

Greek rule of law in ‘danger zone’, warn MEPs. The rule of law in Greece is “in the danger zone”, warned lawmakers in the European Parliament as they expressed concerns about backsliding on democracy and the EU’s political values across the bloc. Read more.


VISEGRAD

WARSAW

Polish PM will ‘do anything’ to stop EU combustion engine ban. Poland remains the only EU country to openly oppose the ban on the sale of new cars with petrol or diesel engines from 2035, with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki saying he will “do anything” for it not to come into force. Read more.

Polish pharma industry warns of manufacturing exodus. Poland must support the domestic pharma industry to address the rising production cost of medicines, including generics, to compete with Asia and avoid a potential manufacturers’ exodus, Krzysztof Kopeć, Head of the Polish Association of Employers of the Pharmaceutical Industry (PZPPF), told EURACTIV Poland. Read more.

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PRAGUE

Czech expert: EU Building Directive targets should be met by states, not owners. Member states not building owners must be responsible for meeting objectives of the directive on the mandatory renovation of old and energy-intensive buildings, the director of Budovy21 and energy-saving construction expert Petr Holub said as EU Parliament backing the directive in mid-March caused quite a stir in Czechia. Read more.

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BUDAPEST

US Ambassador calls out Hungary’s democratic deficit. Hungary’s ‘lack of democratic values’ justifies US President Joe Biden’s decision not to invite Hungary to the Summit for Democracy, the US Ambassador to Hungary David Pressman said at a closed-door meeting on Wednesday. Read more.

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BRATISLAVA

Slovakia’s train investigation body doesn’t meet EU directive criteria. The investigation body under the Transport Ministry and main shareholder in railway operator ŽSR and trains operator ZSSK is not permanent and independent as required by the Railway Safety Directive, a source from the Commission told EURACTIV Slovakia. Read more.


NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

SOFIA

Bulgaria blames Russians for election chaos. Bomb threats sent via email that led to the closure this past week of hundreds of Bulgarian schools set to act as polling stations for 2 April elections were hybrid attacks linked to Russia, Interior Minister Ivan Demerdzhiev said. Read more.

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ZAGREB

Croatia announces €900m capital boost to state-owned power utility. National state-owned energy company HEP will be recapitalised with €900 million, including what Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic called a €400 million “shareholder loan,” the Croatian government announced Thursday. Read more.

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BELGRADE

Serbia asks EU to extend IPARD farm fund spending deadline. Agriculture Minister Elena Tanasković has requested the European Commission to extend the spending deadline for the IPARD farm fund to ensure €30 million in grants for Serbian farmers do not remain unused. Read more.

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WESTERN BALKANS

EU-backed plans for energy terminals in Western Balkans to bring economic, security risks. EU-backed plans for €3.5 billion in gas-fired power plants, pipelines, and liquefied natural gas terminals in the Western Balkans will introduce economic and security risks to the region and challenge the energy transition, according to research by Global Energy Monitor and Bankwatch. Read more.

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TIRANA

Albania struggled with transparency in 2022. At least 1,081 complaints were made to the Albanian Commissioner for the Right to Information and Protection of Personal Data in 2022, particularly on reconstruction following the 2019 earthquake and public-private partnerships during the pandemic. Read more.


AGENDA:

  • EU: Vice President Margrethe Vestager on an official visit to Washington DC; Participates as a main guest in the Atlantic Council’s Frontpage event on “How Europe is addressing the geopolitical moment and its economic challenges”; Delivers keynote speech in the American Bar Association’s Enforcers Roundtable; Holds meetings with Acting Chairperson of the Competition Commission of India Sangeeta Verma, US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen;
  • Vice President Frans Timmermans on an official visit to Bucharest, meets with national authorities and stakeholders for Green Deal and climate discussions;
  • Vice President Vĕra Jourová speaks at the online conference Saving Multilateralism and Democracy;
  • Vice President Margaritis Schinas delivers a keynote speech at the European People’s Party Group Conference in Spain;
  • European Parliament President Roberta Metsola on an official visit to the Netherlands; Holds meetings with Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra, and the council of ministers;
  • France: Foreign Affairs Minister Catherine Colonna hosts US climate envoy John Kerry;
  • China: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez gives a press conference at the Spanish embassy;
  • UN: Rights Chief Volker Turk gives update on the war in Ukraine; Security Council meets after Russia announced the deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus;

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[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson, Sofia Mandilara]