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In today’s news from the Capitals:
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama voiced strong support for incumbent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, just days before Turkish citizens will vote in presidential elections.
Rama’s intervention indicates the geopolitical balances in the region, with neighbouring Greece carefully watching the developments in light of her open issues with Ankara. Read more.
Scholz’s speech: The election campaign has begun. While German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s speech in the EU Parliament could have been one of the most memorable events of his time in office, what we got instead was a heated argument about the lack of ambition of the German government. It seems to be official now: the European election season has begun. Read more.
Parliament backtracks on plan to buy new Strasbourg building. The European Parliament appears to have abandoned plans for an expensive expansion of its premises in Strasbourg, according to a note obtained by EURACTIV. Read more.
Berlin to increase pressure on China after cancelled Beijing talks. German Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP/Renew) has called for a tougher stance on China after a scheduled meeting with his Chinese counterpart was cancelled at the last minute. Read more.
French MPs ask EU to label Wagner group ‘terrorist organisation’. A resolution calling on France and the EU to work towards listing the Wagner group as a terrorist organisation, which is reportedly guilty of multiple crimes in Ukraine and Africa, was adopted by the French National Assembly on Tuesday. Read more.
Austrian conservatives join pushback against EU’s Green Deal. Conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) MEPs have thrown their weight behind their European political family’s (EPP) push to abandon essential parts of the European Green Deal, which the EU centre-right launched at its party conference last week. Read more.
Belgian postal services minister under scrutiny over Bpost links. Civil Service, Public Enterprises, Telecommunications and Post Services Minister Petra De Sutter (Greens/EFA) had to explain herself before the Chamber on Tuesday regarding several controversies surrounding the links between the postal company Bpost and her cabinet. Read more.
EU flag causes commotion in Dutch parliament. A verbal altercation broke out in the Dutch parliament on Tuesday – Europe Day – after lawmakers attempted to give parliamentary speaker Vera Bergkamp (D66/Renew) an EU flag. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Iceland will not stop whaling this summer despite worrying report. It is impossible to stop the planned whaling this summer despite the country’s Food Authority’s conclusion that the hunt does not comply with the objectives of Icelandic animal welfare legislation, Fisheries and Agriculture Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir said on Monday. Read more.
Finnish support for EU increased since Ukraine war: survey. The support for EU membership has remained strong and even increased since the start of the war in Ukraine, according to a survey published by a pro-market think-tank Finnish Business and Policy Forum (EVA), on Tuesday. Read more.
Swedish far-right MPs controversial comment sparks ‘culture war’. The secretary of Sweden’s Liberal Party on Tuesday called on the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats to take action against one of its MPs over a highly controversial ‘culture wars’ remark following the party leader’s comments on drag queens. Read more.
Greeks prepare for crucial debate ahead of unpredictable 21 May elections. The leaders of main Greek political parties will hold a televised debate on Wednesday ahead of the 21 May national elections, which, at this stage, are unlikely to produce a government. Read more.
Fratelli d’Italia considers nominating convict in European elections. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s party is reportedly considering nominating former Lombardy region governor Roberto Formigoni, a former politician convicted of corruption, in the upcoming 2024 European elections. Read more.
Spanish king praises European values, hands award to UN chief. Lasting solutions to challenges such as the war in Ukraine can only be found with dialogue, understanding, and consensus, Spain’s King Felipe VI said on Tuesday. Read more.
Slovak economy threatened by Chinese electric vehicle dominance. The Slovak economy is the most vulnerable when it comes to Chinese car imports and could lose approximately 0.4% of its GDP if no action is taken, according to a new study by German insurer Allianz. Read more.
Moscow to complain following Victory Day incident in Poland. After Ambassador to Poland Sergey Andreev could not lay a wreath at the Soviet Military Cemetery in Warsaw to commemorate Victory Day, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced it would complain about the unfriendly approach from Poland. Read more.
Czechia legally defines domestic violence. A legal definition of domestic violence, missing in the national legislation so far, was introduced into law in the Czech Republic on Tuesday. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Investigation probes whether Bulgarian chief prosecutor attack was staged. The National Investigation Service’s investigation into the explosion on 1 May near the armoured limousine of Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev is also examining whether it was staged, Deputy Prosecutor General Borislav Sarafov told Bulgarian National Radio. Read more.
Cybersecurity Competence Centre in Bucharest to provide Europe-wide Cyber Shield. The European Cybersecurity Competence Center (ECCC) was officially opened on Tuesday in Bucharest, the first European entity based in Romania to ensure the functioning of the EU-wide Cyber Shield. Read more.
Interview: Croatian EU funding highlights greening, digitalisation. Around 15,000 Croatian projects are set to benefit from EU funds from the 2014-2020 cycle, with more expected by the end of the decade, mostly focusing on green policies and digitalisation, presenting a great opportunity for the country, Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Sime Erlić told EURACTIV in an interview. Read more.
Scholz asks EU to keep promises to Western Balkans. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has called on European Parliament and the European Union to keep its promises to the Western Balkans and speed up integration while also voicing support for continued dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. Read more.
- EU: High Representative Josep Borrell receives representatives from the European defence industry;
- Commission Vice President Vĕra Jourová speaks at event “Integration of Ukraine into the EU and NATO”;
- Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis participates in European Parliament Conference of Delegation Chairs meeting;
- Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni participates in the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Japan;
- Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commissioner Mariya Gabriel attends G7 Science and Technology Ministers’ Meeting and G7 Education Ministers’ Meeting;
- Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton holds videoconference with Ukrainian First Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Economic Development and Trade Yulia Svyrydenko;
- Cohesion and Reforms Commissioner Elisa Ferreira meets OECD Deputy Secretary General Fabrizia Lapecorella;
- International Partnerships Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen participates in the 4th UN Women Top Funding roundtable;
- Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi meets with Permanent Representative of Croatia to the EU Irena Andrassy and Consultant for the Government of North Macedonia Vladimir Drobnjak;
- European Parliament Plenary Session holds debate on on Ukrainian grain entering the EU and the role of farmers as enablers of the green transition and a resilient agricultural sector; Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski participates; Votes on EU accession to Istanbul Convention to combat violence against women;
- President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa holds bilateral meeting, joint press conference with European Parliament President Robert Metsola; Addresses plenary session;
- Belgium: NATO military chiefs official meeting;
- Czech Republic: Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on official visit;
- Russia: Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad meet;
- United Arab Emirates: Climate Tech conference to tackle decarbonization;
- UN: Security Council meeting on Bosnia;
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson, Sofia Mandilara]
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