October 18. 2021. 4:47

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Russia offers ‘poor’ Bulgaria new long-term contract with Gazprom

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The European news you deserve to read. Welcome to The Capitals by EURACTIV.

In today’s news from the Capitals:


Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria Elena Mitrofanova has urged Bulgaria to sign a new long-term gas supply contract with Gazprom. “Especially in the context of rising spot prices to space levels, stable long-term contracts are of great importance, as life shows,” Mitrofanova said in an interview with RIA Novosti on 3 October. Read more.

Nine EU countries join France in a nuclear alliance. Nine EU countries have signed a joint statement backing the future use of nuclear energy to fight against climate change effectively. Read more.



German conservatives dismantle party leadership. Following the CDU’s loss in the 26 September elections, the party’s committees have decided to hold a party convention to re-elect the entire leadership team. Party chief Armin Laschet is among those who will be replaced. Read more.





Kurz to remain ‘shadow-chancellor’? Former Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg was sworn in as Chancellor of Austria on Monday. He said he wants to continue the “successful path” of former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who resigned on Saturday due to a looming government crisis and corruption allegations. Read more.



Facebook whistleblower to address parliament. Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower who accuses the technology giant of repeatedly prioritising its profits over the safety of its more vulnerable users, including children, will give evidence to a UK parliament committee hearing on 25 October.

Last month, Haugen accused Facebook of doing nothing to address the impact of their social media platforms on children’s mental health. Facebook has rejected the claims. UK lawmakers are currently scrutinising an Online Safety Bill aimed at increasing protection for users, and Haugen will appear before the committee tasked with reviewing the bill. (Benjamin Fox | EURACTIV.com)



Ireland accuses UK of dismissing EU solutions to NI protocol. The British government keeps “shifting the goalposts” and rejecting any proposals offered by the EU when it comes to post-Brexit trade negotiations, Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told Irish broadcaster RTÉ on Monday. Read more.



Sweden develops first satellite launch site in the EU. Esrange Space Center will be the first platform for developing rocket technologies and launching satellites in the European Union. Situated outside the city of Kiruna in northern Sweden, the site should be ready for operation by the summer of 2022. Read more.



Doctors in at least 15 Italian hospitals against abortion, report says. Partial data from a new study shows that in at least 15 Italian hospitals, it’s impossible to have an abortion because all gynaecologists, anaesthetists and non-medical staff identify as conscientious objectors. Read more.



Sánchez to announce new urgent measures as new lava flows keep La Palma on alert. New lava flows that emerged during a volcanic eruption in Spain’s Canary Islands, which has destroyed some ​​525.77 hectares in three weeks, are keeping emergency services on standby. Read more.



Stoltenberg says US, Europe should remain united in NATO. NATO’s secretary-general acknowledged in Lisbon on Monday that the return of the Taliban to power “is a tragedy” but reaffirmed that the allies must learn lessons from Afghanistan and remain united to face new challenges. Read more.



Destroyed by wildfires Greeks now face floods. A storm that hit central Greece over the weekend has caused severe damage to the road network, houses, and agricultural properties on the island of Evia, which was ravaged by wildfires last summer. Read more.



Parliament speaker refuses Recovery Plan reforms, threatens to leave government. Boris Kollár, Speaker of Slovakia’s parliament, said he refuses to support judiciary and healthcare reforms and threatened to pull the coalition’s second-biggest party from the government. The reforms are a key part of Slovakia’s Recovery Plan, and failing to deliver them could halt the flow of EU money. Read more.



The children of Michałowo found safe in Belarus. Two weeks ago, 20 migrants, including eight children, were taken care of in the Eastern town of Michałowo before being pushed back to Belarus. Now, they have been found safe in Belarus. Read more.



Romanian president asks Ciolos to form a government. President Klaus Iohannis made a surprising move by designating Dacian Ciolos, a former EU Commissioner and ex-chair of Renew Europe group in the European Parliament, to form the new government. Last week, the Romanian parliament dismissed the government led by Florin Citu following a censure motion. Read more.



Lavrov says Serbia and Russia have a confidential dialogue. The main concepts of the United Nations must not be forgotten so that international order is not disrupted, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in Belgrade on Monday (12 October). Read more.



Call for urgent return of US leadership in Balkans against Serbia’s threats. Bosnian-American, Albanian-American and Montenegrin-American organisations have addressed senior US officials with an open letter, warning about “Belgrade’s threats to the security of the Western Balkans” and urging for the return of US leadership in the region. Read more.



Increased energy prices lead to factory closures in Kosovo. NewCo Ferronikeli, Kosovo’s only ferronickel producer, reportedly closed production due to higher power prices amid the global energy crisis. Read more.



Albanian PM calls for regulation of online media. During the opening speech of the OSCE South Eastern Europe Media Forum held in Tirana on Monday, Prime Minister Edi Rama raised eyebrows after calling for regulation and limitations on freedom of expression in online media. Read more.


  • EU: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel attend EU-Ukraine summit in Kyiv.
  • Germany: German Chancellor Merkel receives Italian President Mattarella in Berlin.
  • France: President Emmanuel Macron to unveil his investment plan called “France 2030” / ECHR rules on compensation claim against Catholic priests for alleged child sex abuse.
  • Austria: New Austrian Chancellor Schallenberg to make first appearance in parliament.
  • Ireland: Finance minister presents 2022 budget in the Irish parliament.
  • Italy: G20 holds special virtual summit on Afghanistan / G20 trade ministers meet in Sorrento.
  • Spain: Country to celebrate its National Day known as “Día de la Hispanidad” with National Day parade.
  • Hungary: France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune visits Budapest.
  • Croatia: Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman to visit Bulgaria.
  • Serbia: A high-level meeting on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the first conference of Non-Aligned Movement will continue.


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