Unexpected mine deal between Poland and Czechia upsets activists and experts – EURACTIV.com
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.
Before you start reading The Capitals, also take a look at the story Leaders of non-democracies gather at the opening of the Beijing Olympics
Today’s edition is powered by International Politics and Society
European news you deserve to read. Welcome to The Capitals by EURACTIV.
In today’s news from the capitals:
prague | POLAND
After Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki unexpectedly arrived in Prague to sign a deal on the Turów coal mine on Thursday, the Czech government hailed the long-awaited deal, but legal experts and green NGOs warn of a bad deal. Read more.
German lawmakers travel to Vilnius to “show support” against China. A cross-party delegation of German lawmakers traveled to Lithuania on Thursday to show “solidarity” with the “excessive” trade barriers China is imposing on the country. The announcement came just before the Beijing Winter Olympics, which are due to begin on Friday. Read more.
France eases the conditions for obtaining the vaccination pass. People fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and having been infected with the virus will no longer have to take the third dose to obtain the vaccination pass, announced Wednesday evening the Minister of Health Olivier Véran on BFMTV. This was confirmed by the ministry on Thursday. Read more.
UNITED KINGDOM AND IRELAND
Irish FM is calling on the UK to “comply with international law” regarding Brexit border controls. Irish Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney has called on the UK government to uphold international law after a DUP minister halted post-Brexit checks on goods arriving in Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK . Read more.
NORDIC AND BALTIC
A new poll puts Estonian populists in pole position. Support for the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE) – currently in opposition – is growing, making it the most popular party among the electorate, according to a new survey in January. Read more.
Sweden will soon “open up”, dropping most COVID-19 restrictions. Sweden will lift most COVID-19 restrictions on February 9, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson confirmed at a press conference, saying it was “time to open up” the country. Read more.
Sweden will join NATO within five years, the opposition leader said. I am “absolutely convinced” that Sweden will join NATO within five years, said the chairman of the moderate party, Ulf Kristersson. Read more.
The Spanish government approves the controversial labor market reform with one vote. The government on Thursday approved a controversial labor market reform by a one-vote margin after a tense debate in parliament. Read more.
A technocrat government scenario is causing a stir in Greece. Greece’s political elites were in turmoil on Thursday after EURACTIV Greece reported that some circles in the European Commission were hoping for a technocratic government in the country, setting off a political tsunami at a time when talk of a possible snap election is heating up. Read more.
Mattarella pushes the EU to play a bigger role in global challenges. President Sergio Mattarella, who has just been re-elected for a second term, has urged the EU to play a greater role in “supporting the stabilization and peace processes in the troubled Mediterranean and Middle East”. Read more.
Portugal’s tourism sector is happy with Covid’s looser arrival requirements. the relaxation of entry restrictions in Portugal, namely the end of the mandatory negative test for COVID-19 for those with a digital certificate is very positive, the Confederation of Tourism of Portugal (CTP) said on Thursday. Read more.
Hungary criticizes EU justice chief for election remarks. Budapest is hosting international observers for the April legislative elections but deplores comments by EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders on the matter, a Hungarian government spokesman said on Thursday. Read more.
The European Commission is cautious about Polish plans to abolish the disciplinary chamber. The European Commission declined to comment immediately on President Andrzej Duda’s announcement that he would forward a bill to dismantle the Supreme Court’s disciplinary chamber, a long-standing bone of contention between Poland and the EU. EU. Read more.
The president threatens to sue critics calling her a US agent. The Slovak opposition stepped up its attacks on President Zuzana Čaputová after her speech on Tuesday when she accused Russia of warmongering and supported the stationing of NATO troops in Slovakia. She has been referred to as an American agent, a spokesperson for the United States Embassy and an American servant. Čaputová now plans to prosecute members of the opposition. Read more.
Split designated as HQ for the Ionian Adriatic pipeline. Construction of the Ionian-Adriatic Pipeline (IAP) will be led by a Split-based project company and shareholders from four countries through which the pipeline passes or is used, EURACTIV partner Jutarnji list reported. Read more.
The suggestion to suspend the historical commission falls flat in Sofia. Bulgaria rejected an informal idea from North Macedonia to temporarily suspend the work of the Joint Commission on Historical and Educational Affairs to facilitate progress in relations. Shared history is one of the burning issues between Sofia and Skopje, who have been trying for five years to reconcile their historical past, as enshrined in the 2017 Good Neighbor Agreement. Read more.
Romania vaccinates more than 5,000 children in one week. Romania began vaccination against COVID-19 for children aged 5 to 11 a week ago, and more than 5,350 children received their first dose during this period. Read more.
The Slovenian parliament seals an agreement on the purchase of armored vehicles. The Slovenian parliament has ratified an agreement with the Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) on the purchase of 45 Boxer armored personnel carriers for the army, an agreement contested by the opposition whose fate will probably be decided by the Constitutional Court. Read more.
Lajčak, Escobar: Belgrade and Pristina must implement the agreements. Belgrade and Pristina must implement everything agreed so far, EU and US special envoys for the Western Balkans, Miroslav Lajčak and Gabriel Escobar, said in Belgrade on Thursday, adding that the two parties knew what they had failed to accomplish. Read more.
Bosnia and Herzegovina will hold general elections in October. General elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) will take place on October 2 because it is the deadline set by the current electoral law, the chairman of the Central Election Commission (SIP), Željko Bakalar, said on Thursday. Read more.
The National Bank of North Macedonia warns of the risk of inflation. There have been upward price movements in the last quarter, which are mainly due to supply-side factors, the National Bank reported. Read more.
Parliament did not even discuss ousting Deputy Prime Minister Abazović. Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić said on Thursday that he would not resign despite being aware that parliament could vote a no-confidence vote against him on Friday. Read more.
An opposition MP denounces the “Russian threat to all Albanians”. A letter sent by the Russian Foreign Ministry to all of its European counterparts, including Albania, caused a stir in parliament with opposition MP and former prime minister and president Sali Berisha calling it a “threat to all Albanians” and said it should mark the end of Serbia’s influence in the country. Read more.
- EU: Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson and Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Várhelyi in Baku, Azerbaijan to discuss gas supply / EU justice and interior ministers meet in Lille , in France
- France: The aviation summit takes place in Toulouse, in the presence of EU transport ministers, heads of civil aviation and representatives of the Commission and Parliament.
- Denmark: Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager in Copenhagen.
- Latvia: Meeting of Baltic prime ministers in Riga.
- Slovakia: Climate Commissioner Frans Timmermans will meet President Caputova and Prime Minister Heger in Bratislava.
- Greece: Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas will receive the prize from the Greek Ministry of Migration for his handling of the migration crisis in Athens.
- Romania/Bulgaria: Prime Ministers Nicolae Ciuca and Kiril Petkov have a phone call scheduled for Friday afternoon.
- Croatia: The Governor of the National Bank, Boris Vujčić, awards prizes to the creators of the best Croatian euro coin designs.
- North Macedonia: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel receive North Macedonian Prime Minister Kovachevski in Brussels.
- Serbia: President Aleksandar Vučić will attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. During his working visit to Beijing from February 3 to 5, Vučić will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.
- Montenegro: Parliament votes on confidence in the government.
- The Winter Olympics open in Beijing, China.
[Edited by Alexandra Brzozowski, Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]