Monday, 13 December 2021 15:58

Anti-vaxxer party could prevent progressive coalition in Austria

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In today’s news from the Capitals:


An Austrian anti-vaxxer party could stir up Austrian politics by entering parliament and preventing a progressive coalition on the centre-left from taking shape, experts say. Read more.



Warsaw to Berlin: we want ‘EU made up of sovereign states’. Significant differences in opinion between Berlin and Warsaw became even more apparent during Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s inaugural visit and his talks with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Read more.



New Caledonia says ‘no’ to independence again. The French overseas territory of New Caledonia voted “no” to independence in a nationwide referendum. While the no vote won by a large margin, the turnout was meagre. Read more.



Poll: majority support united Ireland. At least 62% of the population would vote for the unification of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in a referendum, a poll conducted by the Irish Times and Ipsos MRBI has found. Read more.



Finland purchasing new fighters not just about improving air defence. The decision to buy Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fighters marks the biggest arms deal in Finland’s history. It also has significant political consequences signalling the increased weight put on the Baltic Sea region by Washington. Read more.



Lithuania’s foreign minister hands in resignation over Belarusian potash transit. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has sent a letter of resignation to the prime minister. The move follows criticism over Lithuania’s failure to stop the transit of Belarusian fertilisers after the US introduced sanctions on Belaruskali, the Belarusian state-owned company and one of the biggest potash producers in the world. Our media partner reports.



Letta: Spend Recovery funds ‘properly’ to avoid EU North’s criticism. EU southern member states should spend the money from the Recovery Fund “properly” so paymaster northern EU states do not say it was a bad move, Enrico Letta told EURACTIV Italy. He also backed the new German government’s push for a federal Europe. Read more.



MEP Androulakis becomes new leader of Greek socialists. MEP Nikos Androulakis has triumphed in the primaries of the Greek socialist party (Pasok) in the second round of the vote on Sunday, beating former Prime Minister George Papandreou. However, the ideological orientation of the party remains unclear. Read More.



Spain starts vaccinating children aged 5-11 as experts warn of ‘fear of needles’. Spain will begin vaccinating children aged between 5-11 from Wednesday, 15 December. Meanwhile, experts have cautioned of the challenge of overcoming children’s “fear of needles”. Read more.





Czech minister would support Poland’s call for suspension of EU ETS. Czechia has called on the EU to solve the soaring prices of emission trading system (ETS) allowances. “We have to be sufficiently hard on the EU,” outgoing Czech Energy Minister Karel Havlíček said. Read more.



Billionaire porn mogul with political aspirations slams opposition support. György Gattyán, a Hungarian billionaire who has built an international empire from adult live streaming content, has slammed the united opposition in a lengthy interview with Forbes. Read more.



Slovak youth happiest but pessimistic about future compared to other Visegrad countries. Young Slovaks are more satisfied with their lives than young people in other Visegrad countries. However, they and the Czechs are most pessimistic about the future of their countries, according to the results of the study conducted by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES). Read more.



Bulgaria’s new government to adopt motto of ‘zero tolerance for corruption’. A motto of “zero tolerance for corruption” and hard lines on energy prices, vaccination, and judicial reform have been announced by the new coalition government of Prime Minister-designate Kiril Petkov from the coalition “Change Continues”. Parliament is set to vote on the coalition on Monday. Read more.



Romania wants to buy 32 used F-16 fighter jets from Norway. Romania’s defence ministry has asked parliament to approve the purchase of 32 F-16 jets from Norway and additional products and services from the US government. Read more.



Illegal crossings in Western Balkan region change pattern. Illegal crossings in the Western Balkan region are now more numerous through Serbia, Romania, Hungary and Austria. Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia are not the first choices, said Zoran Ničeno, head of the Border Administration from the interior ministry. Read more.



Newcomers look to upend partisan politics in Slovenia. The election campaign in Slovenia is in full swing despite the next general election being at least four and a half months away. The latest polls show smaller parties left, and right could upend the balance of power, reflecting deep voter discontent with the highly polarised political scene. Read more.



Vucic on armaments: Serbia will no longer be an easy target. “In a few months” Serbia will no longer be the easy target it once was, President Aleksandar Vučić said on Saturday, adding that “considerable” purchases of armaments for the Serbian Army have been made. Read more.



Movie about Srebrenica genocide voted best European movie. “Quo Vadis, Aida?”, a 2020 movie from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), was voted best movie at the 34th European Film Awards in Berlin. The movie director, Jasmila Žbanić from BiH, won the award for best director, and Serbian actress Jasna Đuričić is this year’s best European actress. Read more.


People across EU use forged COVID certificates from BiH. Several forged COVID certificates with false signatures and stamps from Hercegbosna county, near the city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), were discovered in Croatia and other EU countries. The forged certificates are being used by people who are not willing to vaccinate, according to a police investigation.

Only about a quarter of people in BiH have been vaccinated against COVID-19. At the same time, BiH ranks third behind Peru and Bulgaria, according to a global database of COVID-19-related deaths per million inhabitants.

(Željko Trkanjec |



North Macedonia’s biggest parties pick their leaders. Hristijan Mickoski was re-elected as the leader of the biggest opposition party, VMRO-DPMNE, with 489 votes in favour and three invalid ballots. At the same time, SDSM, the country’s biggest governing party from which former prime minister Zoran Zaev resigned, held elections to pick their new leader and expected prime minister. Read more.

North Macedonia joins NATO Air Policing System. North Macedonia has been formally added to NATO’s Air Policing system following a ceremony in Skopje on 9 December. Read more.



Montenegrin opposition suspected to have paid ‘golden vote’ to take down government. Deputies from the Social Democratic Party, the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) led by President Milo Đukanović, the Liberal Party, the Social Democrats, the Bosniak Party and the Albanian List signed a proposal to hold a no-confidence vote in the government led by Zdravko Krivokapić, which is missing one crucial vote. Read more.



Kosovo and Albania ready to help Ukraine. Kosovo and Albanian leaders have said they are ready to take part in any possible US-led mission in Ukraine as concerns about a Russian invasion increase. Both North Macedonia and Montenegro are yet to comment on the situation.

Kosovo is ready to support the US as it remains “our main and irreplaceable strategic ally,” Kosovo’s defence ministry spokesperson told BIRN. An Albanian counterpart said: “Albania’s Armed Forces will support any decision the US and NATO take.”




Kosovo reacts after Serbian politician denies Recak massacre. Serbian politicians have come under fire from Kosovo’s President Vjosa Osmani after denying the Recak massacre in 1999 where Serbian troops killed 45 Kosovo Albanians. Read more.



Albanian opposition in turmoil following leadership battle. Albania’s main opposition party is in turmoil following a vote to expel Chairman Lulzim Basha, won by party founder, ex-prime minister and president, and persona-non-grata in the United States, Sali Berisha on Saturday (11 December). Read more.


  • EU: EU foreign affairs ministers meet on Russia-Ukraine-Belarus, China boycott and Varosha / Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya in Brussels / Farmers protest with tractors against a rise in costs caused by EU rules as EU agriculture and fisheries ministers continue meeting / Commissioners Gentiloni, Dombrovskis speak to European Parliament committee on recovery and resilience.
  • Austria: Railway company OeBB launches night train from Vienna to Paris.
  • Denmark: Court of Impeachment rules on ex-minister Inger Stojberg, accused of separating asylum seeker couples.
  • UK: Home-working, Covid passports enter into force.
  • Visegrad: Prime ministers of the Visegrad Group to meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Budapest.
  • Croatia: Prime Minister Andrej Plenković travels to Sarajevo and Mostar during his official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. He will meet Croatian and Bosniak political leaders, Dragan Čović and Bakir Izetbegović, as well as the leaders of the three biggest religious communities, Catholics, Orthodox, and Islam.
  • Montenegro: A vote of no confidence in the government is on the parliament’s agenda.


[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]