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:
Bulgaria, NATO discuss response to Russian blockade in Black Sea. Bulgaria is holding talks with NATO allies to see whether to deal with Russia’s continued partial blockade of Bulgaria’s Black Sea exclusive economic zone independently or with the help of NATO allies, Defence Minister Todor Tagarev told Euractiv on Wednesday. Read more.
MEPs approve new seat allocation despite row with governments. EU lawmakers agreed on Wednesday to increase the size of the European Parliament by 15 seats, endorsing a proposal by EU countries while at the same time criticising their interference in the Parliament’s budgetary powers. Read more.
Austria rebuts von der Leyen’s call for Schengen enlargement. Austria has rejected European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s call to lift its veto against Bulgaria and Romania joining the Schengen area, arguing that extending the visa-free zone currently makes no sense. Read more.
BERLIN | PARIS
French, German economy ministers praise EU probe into Chinese electric vehicles. French economic minister Bruno Le Maire and his German counterpart Robert Habeck welcomed EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s announcement to probe unfair Chinese competition in the electric vehicle (EV) sector. Read more.
Germany halts relocation of migrants arriving in Italy. German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD/S&D) has suspended the Voluntary Solidarity Mechanism (VSM) regarding asylum applicants who have arrived due to Rome’s refusal to implement the Dublin Agreement, the German Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday. Read more.
Belgian court halts decision denying housing to single male asylum seekers. Belgium’s Council of State suspended on Wednesday the decision by Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor to temporarily suspend the reception of single men by the Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (Fedasil). Read more.
UK & IRELAND
UK MPs reject bid to end state complicity in Chinese forced organ harvesting. An amendment to the UK Procurement Bill, which would have granted powers for UK medical organisations to exclude suppliers based on involvement with forced organ harvesting, was rejected by the House of Commons on Wednesday. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Former Swedish PM accuses far-right leader of fuelling Quran crisis. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has allowed the far-right Sweden Democrats to inflame the Quran-burning crisis, Sweden’s former prime minister and leader of the Social Democratic Party, Magdalena Andersson, said after a joint press conference where she denounced his handling of the crisis. Read more.
Spain’s centre-right forces unite to block amnesty law. Spain’s main centre-right opposition party, the Partido Popular (EPP), and the Societat Civil Catalana joined forces to oppose the future amnesty law for those involved in the 2017 secessionist attempt, which Catalan separatists demand in exchange for their support for Socialist candidate Pedro Sanchez in forming a coalition. Read more.
Lampedusa hotspot collapses as police and migrants clash. Thousands of migrants rescued by Italian authorities and currently waiting to be relocated clashed with police on Wednesday after they demanded to be transferred to suitable housing. Read more.
Activists: Portugal’s public transport fares must be adapted to remote work. Public transport in Portugal must adapt to the trend of remote work and offer easier, cheaper and more flexible fares alternatives, according to the Portuguese environmental association Zero, which has proposed a set of measures. Read more.
Maltese journalists demand action, reform from government. More than 130 Maltese journalists, broadcasters, researchers, media platforms and activists have called on Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela to make good on his long-time promises to strengthen the media sector and improve freedom of speech. Read more.
Poland-based Ukrainian refugees move to Germany for better wages. Germany has seen more Ukrainian refugees than Poland since late 2022, with most refugees moving West for better welfare standards and job opportunities, a new report by the EWL Migration Platform and the Centre for East European Studies (SEW) at the University of Warsaw reads. Read more.
Czech MEPs slam von der Leyen’s State of the Union speech. Czech MEPs voiced concerns over the European Commission’s response to threats to democracy, climate policy, and migration after Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen highlighted these in her Wednesday State of the Union speech. Read more.
Slovak PM speaks of banana republic after politicians brawl ahead of snap election. Slovak Prime Minister Ľudovít Ódor asked whether Slovaks wanted to live in a banana republic after the snap elections on 30 September, after former prime minister and OLaNO leader Igor Matovič got into a physical altercation at a Smer pre-election press conference where the government’s handling of migrant flows was criticised. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
TIRANA | PRISTINA
Albanian PM sets scene before pivotal Kosovo-Serbia meeting in Brussels. Serbia is trying to delay the Kosovo-Serbia normalisation of relations progress and benefit as much as possible from Pristina’s mistakes, helping Belgrade’s self-victimisation in the international arena, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said ahead of the Kosovo-Serbia meeting in Brussels. Read more.
EU Ambsassador in Tirana: Population census important for Albania bloc membership. The much-delayed population census is set to start next week in Albania, with EU Ambassador to the country, Luigi Soreca, stating it is important in the context of its accession to the European Union. Read more.
Social-Democrat-Liberal alliance may form ahead of local elections in Romania. In an attempt to counter the rise of the far-right AUR party, coalition partners PSD and PLN are currently in talks about running joint lists in next year’s local elections – an alliance that AUR leader George Simion has already described as a gift. Read more.
- EU: Commission President Ursula von der Leyen meets jointly with Vice President Margaritis Schinas and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis; Meets with Danish industry leaders in Denmark, delivers an address and names the first-ever container ship operating on methanol; Holds the laudatio for the Iranian “Women, Life, Freedom” movement at the M100 Media Award 2023;
- Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič hosts Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Monaco Isabelle Berro-Amadeï; Chairs meeting of EU Energy Platform Steering Board;
- Vice President Vĕra Jourová speaks at the International Democracy Day 2023;
- Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson delivers keynote speech and participates in high level conference “Energy Security beyond 2024: Achieving winter preparedness in turbulent times” in Warsaw, Poland;
- Equality Commission Helena Dalli joins Europride; Meets United States Senior Official to the Secretary of State in the Office of Global Women’s Issues Katrina Fotovat in Valletta, Malta;
- Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius meets with Committee on the European Union Affairs, the Schengen Area and the Еuro Area, Committee on Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Committee On Environment and Water, in Sofia, Bulgaria;
- Financial services, financial stability and Capital Markets Union Commissioner Mairead McGuinness speaks at EUROFI conference; Meets with CEO of the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) Adam Farkas;
- EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell hosts Kosovar PM Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic for talks;
- European Parliament votes on framework for ensuring a secure and sustainable supply of critical raw materials, opening of negotiations of an agreement with the United States of America on strengthening international supply chains of critical minerals, regulation of prostitution in the EU, and more;
- ECB press conference on Eurozone monetary policy;
- Hungary: Italian PM Giorgia Meloni attends summit on demographics;
- United States: German FM Annalena Baerbock meets Secretary of State Antony Blinken;
- Tajikistan: Fifth consultative meeting of Central Asian heads of state;
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson, Sofia Mandilara]