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.
Today’s edition is powered by CATF
Methane regulations are in the hands of MEPs
Methane pollution is a huge waste of energy.
Europe could have heated almost 1 million homes with leaked methane last year. Parliament needs to act now to ensure an energy abundant future.
In today’s news from the Capitals:
The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) in Sofia is experiencing staffing problems, with some of the EU-delegated prosecutors that have begun working on VAT and EU money fraud cases in Bulgaria leaving the office, and others already applying for other jobs, EURACTIV’s partner Sega reported. Read more.
MEP Karas: Austria should not hide behind neutrality. Austria must take a more proactive stance in shaping EU foreign and defence policy matters and not hide behind its historically neutral stance towards conflict, European Parliament Vice-President Othmar Karas told EURACTIV on Tuesday after signing an open letter to the government. Read more.
Berlin warns of ‘decisive reaction’ after Iran sentences German to death. The German government will take action in response to Iran sentencing a German-Iranian citizen to death over so-called “corruption on earth” charges, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Tuesday. Read more.
Almost half of French people are overweight. About 47% of French people across all age groups are overweight, a number that has increased by nearly 10 percentage points in the last 25 years, a League Against Obesity study has found. Read more.
Drug shortage in Belgium is higher than expected. Belgium is currently facing a serious drug shortage with a total of 1,239 medicines being unavailable – a far cry from numbers revealed by the country’s Federal Medicines Agency – according to the Febelco Group, Belgium’s biggest medicines supplier, Belgian media reported. Read more.
Luxembourg needs 270,000 extra workers by 2030. Luxembourg will need another 270,000 workers by 2030, according to the Chamber of Commerce’s estimates, a figure that worries the industrial sector, artisan businesses and the banking industry. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
UK, Slovakia to increase defence cooperation. A joint declaration on closer military and economic cooperation was signed by Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Slovak Foreign Minister Rastislav Káčer Tuesday in London. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Lithuania to boycott OSCE session in Vienna over Russian participation. Lithuanian representatives will boycott the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna after Austria allowed Russian representatives to attend. Read more.
Meloni in ‘firefighter’ mission to Kyiv after Berlusconi, Salvini debacle. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni travelled to Kyiv Tuesday to emphasise her government’s position in support of Ukraine – a likely attempt to cover up for the pro-Russian sentiments recently voiced by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and Infrastructure and Transport Minister Matteo Salvini. Read more.
Spain collects millions in ‘solidarity taxes’ imposed on banks, energy firms. Large energy companies and financial institutions in Spain have paid €1.45 billion in a first instalment of two extraordinary taxes imposed by the government on both sectors, Finance Minister María Jesús Montero explained on Tuesday. Read more.
Portugal to increase recovery plan advance payments to 23%. The level of advance payments of the Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) funds are to increase to 23%, a 10 percentage point increase, to “give muscle” to implement projects, the Secretary of State for the Economy Pedro Cilínio, announced Tuesday. Read more.
Former PM Kostas Karamanlis withdraws from Greek politics. Former conservative prime minister Kostas Karamanlis (New Democracy – EPP) has decided not to run as a candidate for the upcoming elections putting an end to his 34-year political career. His decision sparked a debate over the impact on the elections for the ruling party. Read more.
Hungarian parliament to discuss Finland, Sweden NATO application. After months of stalling, the Hungarian parliament will discuss the support of the Swedish and Finnish NATO accession applications on Wednesday. Read more.
Poland praises Biden for NATO loyalty after Warsaw speech. US President Joe Biden’s speech in Warsaw on Tuesday was met with great enthusiasm across the Polish political scene, as the president expressed loyalty to NATO Treaty’s Article 5 and his readiness to stand with allies, however, the ruling party leader was slightly less impressed. Read more.
Czechia forms country coalition against Euro 7 proposal. The Czech government organised a meeting of countries which could jointly fight against the new car emission standards, which according to the country, is unreasonably strict and poses a danger to the European car industry, Hospodářské noviny reported. Read more.
Slovakia remembers five years since journalists murder. Slovakia on Tuesday commemorated the fifth anniversary of the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak, his fianceé and archaeologist Martina Kušnírová, which triggered some of the largest protests in the country’s history, as media stakeholders call for more government protection. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Activists fume at tobacco industry for donating to earthquake-hit Turkey. The European anti-tobacco lobby has urged the international community to help earthquake-hit Turkey avoid a €1.8 million donation from Phillip Morris International (PMI) highlighting “hidden” lobbying activities. For its part, PMI rejected the accusations saying it’s money to help people in need. Read more.
Slovenia appoints new interior minister. Boštjan Poklukar was appointed on Thursday as Slovenia’s new interior minister, a job that he held in the government of incumbent Defence Minister Marjan Šarec between 2018 and 2020. Read more.
Economic crisis to affect everyone, says Serbian economics professor. The increase in bank interest rates will impact every sphere of society as those taking out loans, including companies, will be forced to reconsider their business models, including prices, meaning a lengthier economic crisis, Serbian Economics Professor Ljubodrag Savić told EURACTIV Serbia. Read more.
Albanian incinerator scandal goes to trial. Albania’s special court has accepted the prosecution’s request to send to trial the former minister of the environment, an ex-member of parliament, and several business people over a corrupt incinerator scandal. Read more.
- EU: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen chairs the College of Commissioners orientation debate;
- Vice President Vĕra Jourová speaks via videoconference with European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer;
- Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni holds a meeting with Ukrainian First Vice Prime Minister and Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko;
- Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi on an official visit to Turkey;
- Cohesion and Reforms Commissioner Elisa Ferreira delivers the opening address at the closing event of the International Energy Agency Conference, organised by DG Reform and DG Energy;
- Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski participates in a public meeting with the Atlantic Council of United States; Meets with President of the American Farm Bureau Zippy Duvall, in Washington;
- Governing Council of the ECB holds non-monetary policy meeting in Finland;
- Poland: Bucharest Nine summit takes place in Warsaw, with the participation of US President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg;
- Sweden: Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store hold a press conference;
- Russia: China’s top diplomat Wang Yi meets Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov;
- India: World Sustainable Development Summit;
- Morocco: Vice President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Ambroise Fayolle on an official visit;
- WHO: Report on maternal mortality worldwide released;
- UN: General Assembly meets on the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine;
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Vlad Makszimov, Daniel Eck, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson, Sofia Mandilara]