April 19. 2024. 9:33

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Bulgarian elections: Pro-Russia party may ‘force’ a pro-EU coalition


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In today’s news from the Capitals:

SOFIA

With 62% of the votes counted, the coalition of the former long-time Prime Minister Boyko Borissov leads with 25.84% against the “We continue the change – Democratic Bulgaria” coalition with 24.9% in Sunday’s general election, the fifth in just two years. Read more.

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GUEST CORNER

Spanish Eurocrat leaves Brussels to run for regional elections. Diego Canga Fano, a Spanish high-ranking 30-year-long Eurocrat, has decided to leave Brussels to run for Asturias’ presidency in May with the support of the centre-right People’s Party (EPP). In an interview with EURACTIV, he explained why and how this could set an example for others to follow. Read more.

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BERLIN

German finance minister says no money to increase child benefits. There is no money left to increase child benefits as agreed among governing parties, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) said, even though tax revenues are expected to reach €1 trillion for the first time in 2024. Read more.

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PARIS

Macron invites citizens to open end-of-life debate. Members of the citizens’ convention will present their conclusions on end of life after six months of research at the Elysée Palace on Monday at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron. Read more.

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VIENNA

Nehammer to team up with Nordics on EU migration transformation. Centre-right Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer has visited Copenhagen and Stockholm to bolster the three countries’ coordination on transforming the EU’s migration regime. Read more.

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BRUSSELS

Antwerp explosion potentially linked to drug-related organised crime. An explosion, which damaged twenty houses, several cars, and injured one person in Antwerp over the weekend, is suspected by authorities to be linked to drug-related organised crime, according to several Belgian media. Read more.


UK AND IRELAND

LONDON

UK develops early warning system for future pandemics. British researchers are developing a system that could eventually be used to pinpoint emerging variants and act as an early warning system for new diseases and future pandemics. Read more.

EU space programme, Green Deal endangered by Brexit vacuum. Brussels and London’s failure to agree on post-Brexit arrangements endangers the European space programme, with the first victim possibly being the monitoring of the EU Green Deal, if no solution is found by mid-2024, EURACTIV has learnt. Read more.


NORDICS AND BALTICS

HELSINKI

Finnish election results predict two possible government coalitions. All three of Finland’s biggest parties gained seats in Sunday’s election, with results suggesting complex negotiations ahead after what was a historically tight vote. Read more.


EUROPE’S SOUTH

ROME

Italian MEP: strategic infrastructure must not end up in foreign, Chinese hands. Italian infrastructure and strategic production must not end up in foreign hands, “least of all Chinese,” Carlo Fidanza, Fratelli d’Italia’s (FDI-ECR) head of delegation in the European Parliament, told EURACTIV Italy, as the government will have to decide whether to withdraw or automatically renew the agreements for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – by the end of the year. Read more.

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MADRID

Spanish labour minister announces PM candidacy amid rift in left camp. Labour Minister Yolanda Díaz’s candidacy announcement with new political platform Sumar on Sunday was tainted by a dispute within her party, Unidas Podemos, exposing a dangerous political schism in the left camp, which could be exploited by the right and the far-right ahead of two decisive elections. Read more.


VISEGRAD

WARSAW

Poland to facilitate export of surplus Ukrainian grain surplus until next harvest. Excess Ukrainian grain will be exported abroad between now and the next harvest season, after vast amounts of grain flooded the local market in 2022 to the detriment of local farmers, the Agriculture Ministry announced. Read more.

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PRAGUE

Strengthening of NATO eastern flank to be announced in Vilnius, says Czech minister. The announcement on further strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank is expected to happen at the Vilnius summit in July, according to Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová (ODS, ECR). Read more.

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BRATISLAVA

Slovakia to increase ammo production fivefold, says defence minister. Slovakia is implementing new measures which will expand artillery ammunition production ‘fivefold’ to aid Ukraine, announced Acting Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď. Read more.


NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

ZAGREB

Croatia offers to treat wounded Ukrainian soldiers. Croatia plans to take in wounded Ukrainian soldiers, Veteran Affairs Minister Tomo Medved said on Friday during a visit to Kyiv. Read more.

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LJUBLJANA

Slovenia keen to take part in Ukraine reconstruction. Slovenia expressed an interest in participating in the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine as Prime Minister Robert Golob was in the country on Friday in what was his first visit to Ukraine. Read more.

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WESTERN BALKANS

In Italy, three Western Balkan leaders praise ‘Open Balkan’ initiative. The leaders of Serbia, Albania, and North Macedonia jointly visited an international wine fair in Italy on Sunday, where they discussed further measures to advance the so-called Open Balkan initiative, and urged other countries in the region to join. Read more.

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PRISTINA

Kosovo-Serbia tensions spike significantly over weekend. Tensions between Kosovo and Serbia flared once again over the weekend after a Kosovo Serb was arrested for setting fire to ethnic-Serb-owned cars that switched to Kosovo number plates. Read more.

Solidarity march in Pristina on eve of trial against Kosovo’s KLA fighters. A solidarity march was held in Kosovo’s capital of Pristina in support of former Kosovo LIberation Army members who are facing trial in The Hague, with citizens calling for justice. Read more.

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PODGORICA

Montenegro’s ex-economy minister Milatovic declares victory in presidential run-off. Montenegro’s former economy minister Jakov Milatovic declared victory in a presidential election run-off on Sunday over long-standing incumbent Milo Djukanovic, ending more than three decades of his rule in the small Balkan republic. Read more.

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TIRANA

Tirana mayor called out for endangering safety of media owners. Erion Veliaj, the mayor of Albania’s capital Tirana has been criticised by international media organisations for revealing the alleged identities of those behind two popular media platforms, weeks before he is set to face the public vote in local elections. Read more.


AGENDA

  • EU: Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis meets President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Christa Schweng;
  • Vice President Vĕra Jourová meets with representatives of the Czech publishers and media and speaks at the Roundtable on the European Media Freedom Act organized by the Czech Senate in Prague;
  • Vice President Margaritis Schinas, Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commissioner Mariya Gabriel hold a conference call with President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach;
  • Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni participates in the “Finding Solutions to Europe’s future challenges” event;
  • European Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) sends a delegation to Singapore from 3 to 7 April, to discuss customs, digital transformation, consumer protection and more;
  • Netherlands: War crimes trial against former Kosovo president Hashim Thaci begins;
  • Belgium: NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg holds press conference ahead of foreign ministerial meeting;
  • Romania: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on an official visit;

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