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.
Before you start reading today’s edition of the Capitals, feel free to have a look at the article “Charles Michel heralds more EU involvement in the South Caucasus“, by Georgi Gotev.
The European news you deserve to read. Welcome to The Capitals by EURACTIV.
In today’s news from the Capitals:
ATHENS | NICOSIA
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias has told Asharq Al Aswat in an interview that he “would like NATO not to forget that apart from an alliance of countries, it is an alliance based on specific values. And this obliges NATO, when one of its members makes a mistake, to state it clearly. It has not done it so far.”
Meanwhile, a Turkish diplomat told EURACTIV that the re-opening of “ghost-town” Varosha in Cyprus is a “humanitarian act”. Read more.
EU presidency expects solid results on health union package. Slovenia and its predecessors at the helm of the EU, Portugal and Germany, are working to finalise negotiations on three draft regulations that form the basis of the EU Health Union, Slovenian Health Minister Janez Poklukar has said. Read more.
EU wants its flag to fly at Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony. EU leaders on Sunday said they had asked athletes from Slovenia – currently holding the EU Council’s rotating presidency – to be allowed to bear the bloc’s starred flag as well as their own national flag at the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony. Read the full story.
Chancellor hopeful Laschet under fire following deadly floods. Armin Laschet, the conservative pick to replace Angela Merkel as chancellor, has been sharply criticised after he was seen laughing during a speech by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier about devastating flash floods that have left more than 150 people dead. Read more.
France to ban culling of male chicks in 2022. France will ban the practice of culling male chicks from 2022, a practice that sees 50 million male chicks killed each year, announced Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie. Read more.
Belgium to apply for EU financial aid from relief fund. Belgium will seek several hundred million euros in aid from the EU solidarity fund as the country’s authorities have now confirmed 31 deaths following flash flooding that hit the south-east of the country last week. Read more.
Record rainfalls and flooding reaches Austria. After Western Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands were hit by hit by unprecedented flash floods on Thursday, record rainfalls also triggered severe floods in Austria during the weekend. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
EU-UK lost in translation over COVID vaccine certification. COVID-19 measures are set to lift in England on Monday in what is being dubbed as “freedom day”. But there is still no freedom for EU citizens hoping to travel unhindered to the country as it does not yet recognise EU COVID vaccine certificates. Read more.
Irish PM: Delta variant situation is serious. The government is very worried about the Delta coronavirus variant and is predicting a high volume of cases, Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin said on Saturday, the Irish Times has reported. Read more.
ECHR rejects appeals of Italian policemen in 2001 G8 violence case. Twenty years after the G8 in Genoa that was marred by police violence against demonstrators and the death of 23-year-old Carlo Giuliani – the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has judged “inadmissible” the appeals presented by some policemen convicted of the police raid and violence in the Diaz school where the demonstrators slept. Read more.
Catalonia reimposes night-time curfew amid COVID-19 fifth wave. The north-eastern Spanish region of Catalonia has reimposed a night-time curfew in 161 municipalities as COVID-19 cases rose and hospitals face growing pressure, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported. Read the full story.
Hungarian journalists, businessmen targeted by Israeli spyware. The Israeli cyber company NSO’s spyware program Pegasus has been used for years to hack smartphones of Hungarian targets, including investigative journalists and wealthy businessmen who also own media companies, as well as their inner circle, investigative outlet Direkt36 revealed as part of a cross-border investigation. Read more.
Tusk: I will ‘do everything’ to keep Poland in the EU. Former Polish prime minister Donald Tusk has said that he would “do everything” to keep Poland in the EU in his first TV interview after returning to Polish politics. Read more.
Czech minister backs Commission’s EU carbon border tax proposal. The carbon border adjustment mechanism proposed by the European Commission is a “good idea”, Czech Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO, Renew) told the Czech News Agency. Read more.
Activists protest against LNG terminal on Danube in Bratislava. More than 60 Greenpeace activists protested on kayaks on the Danube river on Wednesday against the construction of a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Bratislava. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Bulgarian justice minister proposes dismissal of chief prosecutor. Bulgarian caretaker Justice Minister Yanaki Stoilov filed a proposal on Friday to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) to dismiss the prosecutor general, Ivan Geshev, citing disclosure of data collected through special surveillance and violation of the magistrate code of ethics. Read more.
Turkish hackers attack Serbian government website. A Turkish hacker group called Akincilar has attacked the Serbian finance ministry’s public debt department website, blocking access to the website and posting a photograph of a hall full of coffins, with a caption reading “8272”, which is the number of victims killed in Srebrenica and the word “unutmadik” – “we haven’t forgotten” in Turkish. Read more.
In other news, Montenegro has rejected Serbia’s request that a Russian donation in arms be shipped as sea freight to the Montenegrin port of Bar, and from there to Belgrade by train, the Serbian ambassador to Russia, Miroslav Lazanski, said on Saturday.
Lazanski explained in an interview with Prva TV that because of Podgorica’s refusal Serbia had to pay “20 times more” to ship the donated arms by plane.
(EURACTIV.rs | betabriefing.com)
Slovenia appoints digital transformation minister. Slovenia’s National Assembly has appointed Mark Boris Andrijanič, a law graduate who has worked for Uber, as digital transformation minister, heading the Digital Transformation Office, a new government body, and coordinating digital transformation activities across the government. Read more.
- France: Council of Ministers to discuss the draft law on new COVID-19 measures, including the extension of the health pass.
- Belgium: EU hosts Belgrade-Pristina meeting between Serbian president and Kosovar PM.
- Austria: World powers meet on Iran nuclear deal.
- UK: Most COVID-19 restrictions lifted in England.
- Spain: Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares holds talks with counterparts from Portugal, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic.
- Czech Republic: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visits Prague to endorse the Czech National recovery plan.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulous, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Paula Kenny, Zoran Radosavljevic, Josie Le Blond]