The Capitals brings you the latest news from across Europe through on-the-spot coverage through EURACTIV’s media network. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.
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The European news you should read. Welcome to The Capitals by EURACTIV.
In today’s news from the capitals:
PARIS | BUDAPEST
Far-right French leader Marine Le Pen received a €10.6 million loan from a Hungarian bank to fund her presidential election campaign, according to Radio RTL on Wednesday. This comes after the Rassemblement National presidential candidate said she was struggling to get bank loans at home. Continue reading.
Germany signals a change of course in the Mali mission. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has expressed doubts about German military involvement in Mali, although the federal government recently ruled out a troop withdrawal. Continue reading.
Germany imposes a broadcast ban on RT’s German-language service. Authorities banned Russia Today’s German-language television program on Wednesday for lacking the required media license. Read the full story.
Austria and Luxembourg bring green label for nuclear power and gas before EU courts. EU sustainable finance rules unveiled on Wednesday will award gas and nuclear power a “green” label, prompting Austria and Luxembourg to announce a lawsuit. Continue reading.
UK AND IRELAND
Northern Ireland minister halts border controls on agri-food products. Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has ordered his officials to end border controls on the Irish Sea at midnight on Wednesday, a move that could open the latest legal battle over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Continue reading.
A UK amnesty for riot law enforcement would undermine the rule of law, says Taoiseach. the The UK government’s plans for an amnesty for prosecutions linked to the riots would undermine the rule of law and create further distress for the victims’ families, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said on Wednesday. Continue reading.
NORTHICA AND BALTIC STATES
Finland is negotiating with Ukraine over supplies of defense weapons. There are ongoing discussions that Finland might support Ukraine’s defense capability, Center Party Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen said. Continue reading.
The Danish Ministry of Justice has ‘forgotten’ to refer the former minister’s case to the Prison Service. The Supreme Court case against former Immigration Minister Inger Støjberg sat in the Ministry of Justice for several weeks before being passed on to the Prison Service, which is set to take over. Continue reading.
Italy’s inflation rate reached 4.8%, the highest level in 26 years. Italy’s inflation rate has hit a 26-year high of 4.8%, mainly due to the rise in energy prices, according to preliminary estimates for January 2022 released by Italy’s National Statistics Institute (ISTAT). Continue reading.
Study rules out lithium mining in two areas in northern Portugal, accepts six. A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Conducted in eight geographical areas in northern Portugal with potential for mining lithium, the survey has ruled out two – Arga and Segura – and given the green light to six others, it was announced on Wednesday. Continue reading.
Labor Reform Law to proceed. TThe Spanish government has said it has enough votes to proceed with labor law reform in a vote due to take place on Thursday.
The deputies from the parties supporting the government, PSOE (with 120 deputies) and Unidas Podemos (with 34), are joined by nine from Ciudadanos, four from PDeCat, two from Más País, two from UPN, one from Compromís and those from Teruel Existe, Coalición Canarias, Nueva Canarias and the Regionalist Party of Cantabria, all of which also have only one deputy in Congress.
Overall, the yes votes add up to 176, the absolute majority of the lower house. The camp’s votes against are estimated at 173, giving the government a victory. (Eldiario.es with EURACTIV.com)
Slovak municipalities are under pressure to adopt a one-China policy, experts claim. China advances its own interests through links with municipalities and local governments in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Continue reading.
More US troops are to be sent to Poland. The US will send 1,700 additional troops to Poland, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby announced, a decision Warsaw is pleased with. Continue reading.
Prague welcomes EU green eco-label for gas and nuclear power. The Czech government has praised the European Commission’s decision to include gas and nuclear power in the EU’s sustainable taxonomy. Prague has been fighting for the green label for gas and nuclear for months and sees the move as a victory for Czech diplomacy. Continue reading.
Court finds Hungarian ministry cannot ban press from hospitals. The Ministry of Human Resources has unlawfully kept the media out of hospitals during the pandemic, according to a Budapest district court reigns On Wednesday. Continue reading.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
The Bulgarian Parliament takes the first step towards abolishing the ‘golden passports’ system. The Legal Committee of the Bulgarian Parliament has adopted the Ministry of Justice’s draft law on elimination in the first reading the sale of Bulgarian investment citizenship or so-called “golden passports”. The program has received multiple warnings from the European Commission and European Parliament and is believed to be the reason why Bulgarians cannot enjoy visa-free travel to the US. Continue reading.
Romania is still committed to getting F-35s, but after 2030. After buying used fighter jets from Portugal and Norway Romania will continue with plans to upgrade its air force, but new-generation fighter jets will not enter service until after 2030. Read more.
Different opinions on the attack on the Croatian government headquarters. Members of the Croatian Parliament’s Committee on Internal Affairs and National Security disagreed on whether Danijel Bezuk’s October 2020 attack on government offices in Zagreb was an act of an individual or whether specific social and political groups were behind it. Continue reading.
The Slovenian parliament passes a controversial Swiss franc loan law. The National Assembly has passed a law that will force banks to shoulder some of the burden of the rising cost of borrowing in Swiss francs, a move the banks say is illegal and would be put to the test immediately in the Constitutional Court. Continue reading.
Serbian opposition candidate promises organized, future-oriented country. After the April elections, Serbia will be a united and organized country looking to the future, said Zdravko Pono, the presidential candidate of the opposition coalition United Serbia, on Wednesday. Continue reading.
The Montenegrin parliament is to vote on the dismissal of the deputy prime minister. The assembly will vote on the dismissal of Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazović on the proposal of Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić. Continue reading.
PRISTINA | BELGRADE
EU and US call on Kosovo to accept Serb communities. Kosovo was urged to find a way to establish the Association of Serb Municipalities (ASM) in Kosovo without violating state sovereignty. Pristina has previously refused, saying it would create a state within a state like Bosnia and Herzegovina, which failed. Continue reading.
Albania unwilling to ease COVID-19 restrictions as vaccination remains low. It is still too early to declare victory over the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Minister Ogerta Manastirliu said, noting that the vaccination rate for two doses has reached 56%. Continue reading.
- EU/France: Meeting of EU interior and justice ministers in Lille, France / EU transport ministers and stakeholders meet to discuss aviation / European Commission Federal President Ursula von der Leyen speaks at the “Masters of Digital 2022” event.
- Germany: Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis meets Economics and Climate Minister Robert Habeck and Finance Minister Christian Lindner in Berlin.
- Luxembourg: The ECJ adviser will provide a non-binding opinion on the Czech Republic’s challenge to Poland over the Turow mine.
- Netherlands: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte meets European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel in Brussels.
- Switzerland: Covid rules on quarantine for contact cases, home work obligation lifted.
- Finland: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen meets Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin and President Sauli Niinistö in Helsinki.
- Latvia: Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand visits the NATO Battlegroup base in Adazi.
- Italy: President Sergio Mattarella is sworn in for a second term.
- Romania: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian meets President Klaus Iohannis in Bucharest.
- Serbia: US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Gabriel Escobar and EU Special Envoy for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Lajčak continue their visit to Belgrade / Meeting between President Aleksandar Vučić and the Rapporteur of the Social Democratic Party of Germany for the Western Balkans in Bundestag, Adis Ahmetovic.
- North Macedonia: Prime Minister Dimitar Kovačevski on his first visit to the EU and NATO.
- The Russian Navy conducts live-fire exercises in the North Atlantic
[Edited by Alexandra Brzozowski, Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]