The Capitals brings you the latest news from across Europe, thanks to on-the-ground reporting by EURACTIV’s media network. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.
European news you deserve to read. welcome to Capitals by EURACTIV.
In today’s news from the capitals:
The Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Greek prime ministers are meeting on Friday at a mini “Mediterranean summit” in Rome to find consensus on reforming European energy markets and reducing energy prices, the report said. from official sources to EURACTIV’s partner, EFE. Read more.
Macron presents a program centered on sovereignty. French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently confirmed his candidacy for re-election, presented the electoral program which he hopes will create “an independent nation in a stronger Europe”. Read more.
German parliament criticized for ignoring Zelensky’s speech. The Bundestag has been criticized for clumsily going about its daily business just after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave an emotional speech. Read more.
Putin’s €50,000 earrings for former Austrian FM spark controversy. Russian President Vladimir Putin gifted €50,000 worth of sapphire earrings to far-right former Austrian foreign minister Karin Kneissl, who hosted the Russian strongman at her wedding in 2018, according to a report Daily Crown found. Read more.
NORDIC AND BALTIC
Finland will change its law to deal with hybrid attacks. Finland is initiating legislative changes to enable rapid application processes at the border to anticipate possible hybrid influence activities exploiting migration. Read more.
Sweden raises funds to vaccinate incoming refugees. The Swedish government will allocate 21 million SEK (more than 2 million euros) to each region to vaccinate refugees from Ukraine against COVID-19, Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren announced at a press conference on Thursday. . Read more.
The Danish government expects a “significant” number of Ukrainians to arrive. A total of 5,000 Ukrainian refugees have applied for residence permits under a new law passed Wednesday which gives Ukrainian refugees a two-year residence permit without having to apply for asylum. Read more.
Lithuania votes to increase the defense budget. Lithuanian Parliament unanimously voted for an increase in the defense budget of nearly 300 million euros and a resolution calling for a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Read more.
Italian cabinet approves ending almost all COVID-19 restrictions. Italy’s cabinet approved the end of almost all COVID-19 restrictions, although Prime Minister Mario Draghi said the government was ready to “adapt according to the epidemiological curve”. Read more.
Italian lawmakers approve moves to send arms to kyiv. The Chamber of Deputies approved a decree on Ukraine which provides for aid and measures to help refugees and to send arms and equipment. The measure was approved by 367 votes for, 25 against and 5 abstentions. 231 deputies did not take part in the vote.(Simona Zecchi | EURACTIV.it)
Companies posted 23,000 job offers for Ukrainian refugees on the Portuguese platform. The Portuguese government has received around 23,000 job offers for Ukrainian refugees and around 11,800 Ukrainians who have requested temporary protection, Labor, Solidarity and Social Security Minister Ana Mendes Godinho said Thursday in Madrid. Read more.
Dispatch from the Slovak border: “We don’t understand why Putin is doing this to us”. As war rages in neighboring Ukraine, Slovakia faces the biggest refugee crisis in its history, but the welcoming response from its people and government stands in stark contrast to the last migration crisis in 2015. Read more .
Fit-for-55 package key for Slovakia’s energy independence. Slovakia fully supports the objectives and areas of measures of the Fit for 55 package, said Michal Kiča, state secretary at the Ministry of the Environment, during a meeting in Brussels on Thursday. Read more.
Mass of Ukrainian children enrolled in Polish schools. Seven hundred thousand Ukrainian children have arrived in Poland in recent weeks, according to the Polish Ministry of Education, and many are already enrolled in school. Read more
A Czech company is launching a long-awaited nuclear tender process. The Czech electricity company ČEZ on Thursday launched a tender to select a builder for a new nuclear unit at the Dukovany power plant. Read more.
Many Fidesz voters blame Ukraine for the war. Sixty-four percent of Hungarians view the Russian invasion of Ukraine as an act of aggression, but ruling party voters are divided on the issue, according to a recent Publicus Institute survey. Telex reported. Read more.
Former Bulgarian Prime Minister Borissov arrested after investigation by EU Prosecutor’s Office. Bulgaria’s former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, his former Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov, former head of the parliamentary finance committee Menda Stoyanova and GERB party spokeswoman Sevdelina Arnaudova were arrested in a large-scale operation conducted by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Bulgarian police on Thursday evening. Read more.
Russia is losing Bulgarian fans due to the war in Ukraine. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused 40% of Bulgarians to view Russia in a negative light, compared to just 3% who now view Russia positively, according to a survey by sociological agency Trend. Read more.
Romania against the no-fly zone in Ukraine. The imposition of a no-fly zone over Ukraine could become the basis for the extension of the conflict in Ukraine, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said on Thursday, adding that NATO did not want to a military conflict with Russia. Read more.
ZAGREB | MADRID
Scientists from Croatia and Spain are looking into fusion to power the EU’s powerhouse. Croatian and Spanish scientists will look into the materials needed to build a European power plant where electricity will be produced by fusion in two to three weeks. Read more.
Ukraine denies sending crashed drone to Croatia. Ukraine is investigating the incident with the unmanned aerial vehicle that crashed in Zagreb last week and failed to launch it towards Croatia, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said Thursday. Read more.
The Slovak government is making a second attempt to pass a bill on electronic communications. The Slovenian government confirmed on Wednesday that it had presented anew version of the Electronic Communications Bill after Parliament rejected the previous version in early February. Read more.
BELGRADE | VIENNA
Austria must remain a bridge between the EU and Serbia, Western Balkans. Austria will continue to be a bridge between the EU and Serbia, and other Western Balkan countries, Chancellor Karl Nehammer said in Belgrade on Thursday. Read more.
ZAGREB | SARAJEVO
Croatia will support Bosnia and Herzegovina’s membership in NATO if Croats are treated on an equal footing. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Euro-Atlantic integration is in Croatia’s national interest. This cannot be achieved without the equality of Croats in this country, Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman said on Thursday. Read more.
The agreement on the electoral law is a “historic opportunity” for Bosnia and Herzegovina to move closer to EU membership. Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) should reach an agreement on the electoral law, said the Angelina Eichhorst, Director General Europe and Central Asia at the European External Action Service, adding that it would be a “historic opportunity” for the country to move closer to “EU candidate status”. Read more.
SKOPJE | PARIS
France supports the start of European negotiations for North Macedonia. France has sent clear and unequivocal messages of support for North Macedonia’s desire to start EU accession negotiations, North Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani told following a call with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, who also highlighted France’s role in the process. Read more.
The European Commission backs Albanians’ right to assembly amid ongoing protests. Citizens in Albania and elsewhere have legitimate concerns about rising prices, the European Commission has said. Read more.
Albania sends military aid to Ukraine. Albania has sent military vehicles to help Ukraine fight against Russia, the government announced on Thursday as its troops are in Latvia, and now also in Kosovo.
“The NATO alliance has never been so united as it is today. There are no more differences between the allies, they are all in unison, ready and convinced that we must strengthen our defense by supporting Ukraine,” the minister said.
Albania became a NATO member in April 2009. The Alliance is modernizing a military airport in Stalin’s former town in south-central Albania, now called Kucove, making it its first air base in the Western Balkans. (Exit.al)
- EU: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Parliament President Roberta Metsola take part in EU Cohesion Forum
- France: European tourism ministers meet in Dijon.
- Germany: Chancellor Olaf Scholz receives Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in Berlin.
- Italy: Prime Minister Mario Draghi welcomes Spaniard Pedro Sánchez and Portuguese António Costa, with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis joining virtually.
- Greece: Hearing in the trial of Dimitris Lignadis, former artistic director of the National Theater, accused of raping minors.
- Bulgaria: Visits by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
- Romania: The government will hold a meeting during which a new decision on energy prices is expected.
[Edited by Alexandra Brzozowski, Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson]