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In today’s news from the Capitals:
French aluminium industry wants ‘anti-dumping’ measures over Spain’s cheap electric. As energy prices soared, Europe’s aluminium plants began to shut down while the bloc stepped up imports from Russia and China. However, French aluminium representatives are pointing to a problem closer to home – claiming the EU-backed Iberian gas price cap is leading to unfair competition and calling for anti-dumping measures against Spain. Read more.
Stakeholders clash on need for EU plan on tobacco harm reduction. Public health stakeholders are divided over whether the EU needs a strategy to reduce harm from smoking, which according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) costs Europe nearly 700,000 deaths annually. Read more.
Patchwork energy prioritisation risks food chain disruption, industry warns. EU countries’ lack of cohesion in prioritising the agri-food sector for gas supply is sparking concerns of market disruptions among industry stakeholders, while experts stress member states must coordinate to ensure consistency. Read more.
“Lead by example”, transparency watchdog expert tells EU. There are “real discrepancies between anti-corruption standards” in EU countries and bloc institutions, with Brussels often setting the bar higher for member governments, according to Nicholas Aiossa deputy director at Transparency International EU.
Pointing to the example of the EU Whistleblowing Directive, in Aiossa’s view it is “tragically ironic” that the European Commission’s employees who drafted the law “must have realised they were going to propose protections they themselves aren’t afforded”.
“So I would insist that in the first instance the institutions begin to look at themselves in the mirror and lead by example,” he added. Listen to full interview in today’s Beyond the Byline podcast here.
Truss’s market crisis is a cautionary tale from London. Taking on the markets is a risky business. Bill Clinton’s adviser James Carville once said that, if reincarnated, he ‘would like to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody’. Just ask Greece, Spain, Italy and the rest. The UK’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss has found out this week that the famed British exceptionalism does not shield it from the wrath of the bond market. Read more.
Le Pen’s party wants foreign influence inquiry amid Russian meddling claims. Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National party tabled a motion Wednesday to establish a commission of inquiry to assess foreign influence on political parties after her party was accused of being influenced by Russia. Read more.
German states to push for gas price cap. The prime ministers of the states of Germany agreed on Wednesday to call on the federal government to introduce a gas price cap to relieve consumers. Read more.
Brussels restaurants to serve candlelight dinners to highlight energy costs. Some Brussels establishments will serve customers by candlelight, turning off their ovens or stoves between Thursday and Sunday to highlight their difficulties amid soaring energy prices. Read more.
Belgian abortion rights ‘in danger’ amid trained doctors shortage, experts say. Belgian doctors and scholars have warned about the current lack of doctors trained to perform medical abortions. Read more.
Utrecht to support citizens’ autumn energy bills. Utrecht municipality will allocate €7 million to help people struggling to pay energy bills this autumn while increasing the number of households who benefit from the allowance. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Finland steps up surveillance at Nord Stream pipelines and Balticconnector. After Tuesday’s explosions at Nord Stream natural gas pipelines near Sweden and Denmark, Finland upped surveillance in the Gulf of Finland, the Finnish Border Guard said on Wednesday. Read more.
Production of the world’s first solar electric vehicle is set to begin in Finland. Finnish vehicle manufacturer Valmet Automative Group announced on Wednesday the completed pre-production of the world’s first solar electric vehicle, Lightyear 0. Production will likely begin by the end of the year at the Uusikaupunki car plant in Finland.
The electric car Lightyear 0 has integrated solar cells on its roof to reduce dependency on plug charges and ”set new industry standards for energy efficiency”. Plugged into a regular home socket, Lightyear 0 is promised to charge 32 kilometres of range per hour. (Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)
Risk of fascism in Italy ‘fake news’, says former PM Renzi. Democracy is not at risk, and fascism will not come back to Italy, former prime minister Matteo Renzi – a leftist who said he is ready to collaborate with the future right-wing coalition from the opposition – told CNN in an interview. Read more.
Spain was EU’s fourth biggest polluter in 2021, report reveals. Spain increased its carbon emissions by more than 3% in 2021, while other EU countries reduced them by 5%, making Spain the EU’s fourth largest polluter, responsible for 8% of the bloc’s total ETS emissions. Read more.
Portuguese government to propose income tax reduction for innovator companies. The government will on Wednesday propose a selective reduction of corporate income tax for companies promoting increased wages and investment in research and development, according to the proposal seen by Lusa. Read more.
EU Med Group leaders expected to condemn Turkish threats against Greece. The leaders of the eight EU states participating in the Club Med Summit will express their support to Greece over Turkish aggression, French presidency sources said, the Athens News Agency reported. Read more.
Tens of thousands protest Czech NATO and EU membership. Demonstrators gathered on Wednesday in Prague to ask Prime Minister Petr Fiala’s administration to resign in the wake of rising energy costs and called for the relationship with the EU, NATO, the UN and the WHO to be reconsidered. Read more.
Polish parliament committee condemns PiS chief over transphobic comments. The parliamentary ethics committee punished Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the president of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), for a transphobic statement he made during meetings with supporters in June. Read more.
Austria, Slovakia look to border controls to stop migrant flows. Following Vienna’s announcement on Wednesday it will start conducting controls at its border with Slovakia to reduce migrant flows, Bratislava said it is considering doing the same at its border with Hungary. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
EU Parliament to demand suspension of Serbia’s accession talks. The European Parliament will ask to suspend Serbia’s EU membership talks for as long as Belgrade refuses to join the bloc’s sanctions against Russia. Read more.
Human rights in Serbia are becoming a privilege, say experts. Human rights are becoming a privilege, and politicians have a responsibility to adopt guarantee the protection and rights of LGBTQI+ people, participants at the “More than a march – human rights in Serbia in the light of EuroPride” said on Wednesday. Read more.
Bulgarian Soviet-made fighter jet crashes during training flight. A Bulgarian Soviet-made Su-25 attack fighter jet crashed on Wednesday during a training flight near the Bezmer air base, leaving the pilot slightly injured. Read more.
Romania calls Russian referendums in Ukraine ‘illegal and illegitimate’. Romania’s foreign ministry reiterated its condemnation of the referendums being organised in Ukraine’s Russian-controlled areas, whose results were announced on Wednesday. Read more.
Croatia to host Crimea Platform summit in October. Zagreb will host an international summit of the Crimea Platform on 25 October, bringing together delegations from 50-odd countries and institutions, including Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, Jutarnji List daily reported. Read more.
Kurti asks ethnic Serbs to register license plates, gives incentive. Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti has encouraged ethnic Serbs in Kosovo to abide by the law to have Pristina-issued plates on their vehicles, offering them zero tax or registration fees if done before 31 October, a day before the new rule comes into force. Read more.
Tirana, Moscow clash over Kosovo, Albanian PM invites fleeing Russians. Albania and Russia clashed on Tuesday during a UN Security Council meeting when Russia’s Vasily Nebenzya compared the invasion of Ukraine to the Kosovo-Serbia war, accusing the West of double standards. Read more.
- EU: European Commissioner for Youth, Culture and Innovation Mariya Gabriel participates in the European Research and Innovation Days in Brussels;
- Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency Vĕra Jourová in Athens: meets with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Justice Minister Konstantinos Tsiaras, and Yiannis Oikonomou, Spokesman and Deputy Minister to the PM;
- Commission Vice-President on Climate Frans Timmermans joins via videoconference a meeting of the Clean Hydrogen Alliance;
- Timmermans receives Xie Zhenhua, Special Envoy for Climate Change of China;
- European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a keynote address at the 10th annual Athens Democracy Forum;
- Germany: Economic institutes publish their GDP forecasts;
- Finland: Intelligence service publishes annual security assessment;
- US: World Bank President David Malpass to deliver a speech ahead of the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings;
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Vlad Maksimov, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson, Eleonora Vasques]