Friday, 11 June 2021 07:02

How a Green Germany could shake Europe


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 interview with Janez Kopač, the director of the Energy Community Secretariat, who said that Western Balkan countries “are milking” highly-polluting coal power stations “until the bitter end”.

Also have a look at the curtainraiser for next week “NATO summit: A key test for Biden’s reset with Europe“, by Alexandra Brzozowski.


The European news you deserve to read. Welcome to The Capitals by EURACTIV.


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In today’s news from the Capitals:

BERLIN

The possibility that Germany could emerge from September’s election with a Green chancellor is being eyed with caution at the European level. In an interview with EURACTIV Germany, former German environment minister, Jürgen Trittin, explained the Green approach to Europe.

“A lot of things will change, Europe has to get used to that, no matter who becomes chancellor,” Trittin said, pointing to the “phantom pain” of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s planned departure after 16 years at the helm of Europe’s largest economy.

Trittin projected what changes may occur at the foreign policy level, the EU stance towards Turkey and Eastern Europe as well as potential collaboration with other German parties to quickly form a government. Read more.

In other news, Germany set to pass ‘humanitarian’ supply chain law. The German parliament on Friday will vote on a supply chain law in what could be “a breakthrough for the enforcement of human rights,” according to German Labour Minister Hubertus Heil. Both industry and civil society organisations are not satisfied with the legislation. Read more.

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EU PRESIDENCY

Brussels promises new EU legislation for end-of-life vehicles in 2022. The European Commission will come forward at the end of 2022 with a proposal to remove the most polluting end-of-life vehicles from EU roads, European Green Deal Commissioner Frans Timmermans said on Thursday (10 June). More.

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BRUSSELS

Flemish under-41s can request Johnson & Johnson vaccine. People in Belgium’s Flanders region aged under 41 will soon be able to opt to get the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Flemish Welfare Minister Wouter Beke announced after a meeting of Belgian health ministers on Thursday. Other Belgian regions are apprehensive of such a step. Read more.

In other news, Brussels residents born in 1990 or earlier will officially be able to register for a vaccine appointment from Friday at 6 PM, while “people aged 18 and over [born in or before 2003] can “register from 11 PM (on Friday) on the waiting list, according to official announcements. (Alexandra Brzozowski | EURACTIV.com)

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PARIS

France wants proposed EU batteries regulation to pick up steam. France is eager for the Commission’s proposal for an EU sustainable batteries regulation to be tightened “to get results quickly” and would even like the implementation schedule to be brought forward by about a year, which would take it to 2024, France’s ecological transition ministry told EURACTIV France. Read the full story.

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VIENNA

Austrian Greens reject ÖVP attack on judiciary. Austria’s Green Justice Minister Alama Zadic has rejected attacks by ruling coalition partner the conservative ÖVP party on the judiciary and chief prosecutor in light of ongoing corruption probe into Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Read more.


UK AND IRELAND

LONDON

US and UK sign Atlantic Charter ahead of G7 summit. US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed a wide ranging Atlantic Charter on Thursday ahead of the British-hosted G7 summit. More.

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DUBLIN


NORDICS AND BALTICS

HELSINKI

The wealth gap in Finland is widening. A report by Statistics Finland shows that the wealth gap in the country has been constantly and gradually increasing, with the richest 10% now owning 49.6% of net wealth. Read more.

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STOCKHOLM

Most Swedes would not object to military action to combat gang violence. Almost 80% of Swedes would have no objections against deploying armed forces to assist the police in defeating the rise in violent crime, a new poll by the SOM Institute, an independent research organisation at the University of Gothenburg, shows. Read more.


EUROPE’S SOUTH

ROME

Italy investigates Booking.com for ‘colossal’ tax evasion. Online booking platform Booking.com is suspected for alleged tax evasion worth over €153 million, Italy’s financial police in Genoa announced on Thursday. Read more.

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MADRID

Spanish capital unveils €3.9 billion plan to make Madrid ‘best place to live’. Madrid’s conservative mayor, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, has announced an ambitious plan to make the Spanish capital “the best city to live and work in 2030”, thanks to an initial investment of €3.9 billion of EU money. Read the full story.

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LISBON

Portugal handed data on anti-Putin protesters to Moscow. Authorities in the Portuguese capital admitted on Thursday (10 June) that they had handed over the personal details of three organisers of an anti-Kremlin demonstration to the Russian embassy in Lisbon, a move that has prompted much eyebrow-raising in Brussels. Read the full story.


VISEGRAD

PRAGUE

Czech PM Bab brands EU Parliament as ‘useless’ amid conflict of interest debate. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has branded the European Parliament a “useless institution” in response to a resolution criticising his conflict of interests, saying it constitutes interference in the internal affairs of the Czech Republic. Read more.

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WARSAW

Commission: Poland cannot question EU law primacy. The European Commission has asked Poland not to question the primacy of EU law over national legislation, Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders wrote in a letter to Warsaw. Read more.

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BUDAPEST

Hungary mulls LGBTQI-targeted provisions in paedophile bill. The governing parties have submitted several new amendments to the anti-pedophile bill currently before parliament that some NGOs decried as a frontal attack on freedom of expression and children’s rights, following a Russian model. More.


NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

BUCHAREST

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SOFIA

EU chief prosecutor: 6 missing Bulgarian prosecutors not ‘up for discussion’. The agreement with the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office for the appointment of 10 delegated European prosecutors is still in force and the issue is not up for discussion, the EU’s new Chief Prosecutor Laura Kövesi was quoted as saying Thursday by the Bulgarian justice ministry. Kövesi is set to speak to the press on Friday. Read more.

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ZAGREB

Croatian football federation explains why players did not take the knee. Croatia’s football federation (HNS) explained in a statement the reason why the national football team players opted not to go down on one knee and bow before last Sunday’s friendly match with Belgium, but instead stood still to demonstrate their respect for the Belgian footballers’ act of kneeling in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. More.

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SKOPJE

Russia expels Macedonian diplomat. Russia has expelled a Macedonian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move. “On June 10, the Russian Foreign Ministry invited North Macedonia’s Charge d’Affaires in Russia Olivera Čauševska-Dimovska to hand her a note declaring a North Macedonian embassy official persona non grata,” according to a statement released by the Russian foreign ministry. Read more.

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LJUBLJANA

Huawei plans logistic hub for Central, SE Europe in Slovenia. Chinese tech company Huawei plans to set up a regional logistic hub in Slovenia for 19 markets of Central and Southeastern Europe, which will necessitate the construction of new warehousing facilities adjacent to the Jože Pučnik Ljubljana Airport. More.

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PRISTINA

Kosovo continues to see drop in COVID-19 cases. The number of active coronavirus cases in Kosovo has fallen to 733 with just 11 of the 2,660 tests conducted within the previous 24 hours coming back positive, the health ministry announced Thursday. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, this is the lowest number of recorded active cases in Kosovo since 24 June 2020.

Kosovo has so far received around 100,000 COVID-19 doses from the COVAX programme and around 15,000 from the EU, while it was reported on Thursday that another 10,000 doses donated from Croatia had arrived in Kosovo. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)


Agenda:

  • UK: The leaders of the Group of Seven economies are about hold a three-day summit in the Cornwall with climate change, the economy, the coronavirus pandemic and geopolitics set to be major talking points.
  • Germany: German Greens start party congress
  • Greece: Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias will meet his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulidis to discuss the latest developments with Turkey, ahead of a crucial EU summit next week when the next EU steps toward Turkey will be decided.
  • Italy: The statistical institute will publish labour market data for the first quarter of the year.
  • Spain: Spain’s socialist Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, and US president, Joe Biden, to meet on Monday in Brussels, on the sidelines of the NATO summit. Spain offers to host the NATO summit in 2022, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Iberian country’s accession to the block.
  • Czech Republic: The Speaker of parliament’s lower house, Radek Vondráček, will on Friday attend a summit with his three V4 counterparts in Poland.
  • Croatia: The head of the Fund for Reconstruction after the earthquake, Damir Vanđelić will present the activities and costs for reconstruction taken to date at a press conference. Meanwhile, the annual ‘Luka Ritz’ prize promoting tolerance and schools without violence will be awarded at the science and education ministry.

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[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Paula Kenny, Josie Le Blond]