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In today’s news from the Capitals:
German Finance Minister Christian Lindner will no longer travel to Beijing as his Chinese counterpart Liu Kun, whom he was set to meet Wednesday, cancelled at the last minute – a move experts speculate could run deeper than a simple scheduling conflict. Read more.
EU parliament vote on spyware gets politicised, implementation challenges loom. A European Parliament special committee (PEGA) dealing with the use of Pegasus and equivalent surveillance spyware has concluded that the EU should develop a strong regulation framework and hold those responsible for their illegal actions. Read more.
Vestager has ‘personal reservations’ about Spitzenkandidaten. European Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager, a lead candidate – or spitzenkandidat – of the liberals during the 2019 EU elections, told journalists on Monday that she was sceptical about the process. Read more.
Austrian government, industry stumped on slowing food inflation. Austria’s government and industry leaders failed at a food summit on Monday to find a consensus on tackling the ever-soaring inflation on food and drink products. Read more.
Luxembourg minister mulls 38-hour workweek. Employment Minister Georges Engel (LSAP/S&D) is looking into Luxembourg potentially adopting a 38-hour workweek so the country can remain competitive and continue attracting the foreign workforce it needs. Read more.
Macron leads quiet Victory in Europe Day ceremony in Paris, faces protests in Lyon. Following a quiet Victory in Europe Day ceremony at the Champs Elysées in Paris that lacked the usual crowd, French President Emmanuel Macron faced protests in Lyon as he paid tribute to resistance fighter Jean Moulin on Monday. Read more.
Belgium’s recovery plan blocked by pension reform stalemate. Belgium still has not made progress on the thorny pension reform issue even though it would unlock much-needed EU funds under the country’s recovery plan. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Finnish government negotiations turn sour. The second week of negotiations to form Finland’s new government got off to a bad start, amid volatile social media spats between members of the four parties in the running for the coalition. Read more.
STOCKHOLM | LONDON
British Navy to defend Stockholm archipelago. Sweden’s Chief of Naval Staff praised the British marines who have been involved in the Aurora 23 military exercises designed to ready the defence of the Stockholm archipelago in case of a crisis. Read more.
Centre-right PP to obtain landslide victory in Madrid: poll. Madrid’s regional president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso (PP/EPP), would obtain the absolute majority in the upcoming municipal election and could govern the region, for a second term, without the support of the far-right VOX party, a fresh poll by 40dB published Monday predicts. Read more.
Spanish employers, trade unions agree on wage increases. Spain’s main employers’ association, CEOE, and the two key trade unions, CC.On Monday, OO and UGT gave their initial green light to a new bilateral agreement for employment and collective bargaining that establishes a wage increase of 4% in 2023 and 3 % in 2024 and 2025. Read more.
Salvini’s Lega tired of being in shadows, ID clips its wings. In the run-up to next year’s EU elections, Vice-Prime Minister Matteo Salvini’s Lega has started an internal reflection to reposition itself in Brussels and finally obtain strategic political positions that until now have been precluded. Read more.
Portugal to get EU aid following drought situation. Agriculture and Food Minister Maria do Céu Antunes signed the order recognising a drought situation in 40% of the country’s southern region on Friday, which will also activate measures to support farmers, she announced on Monday. Read more.
WARSAW | VILNIUS
Polish PM sparks controversy with awards to Lithuanian politicians. Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki sparked controversy during his visit to Lithuania, where he awarded two controversial Lithuanian politicians of Polish origin with medals. Read more.
Due diligence directive could be ‘end of free enterprise’, warns Czech MEP. The European Commission’s proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive is causing a stir among Czech companies and Czech MEP Martina Dlabajová, who warn of a negative impact on businesses. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Immortal Regiment to march in Sofia despite criticism. The procession of the Immortal Regiment will take place in the Bulgarian capital Sofia today on Europe Day despite having received broad criticism in Europe after Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year. Read more.
Romania: No austerity measures, but better spending. Romania’s government coalition of liberals and social democrats concluded discussions on measures to reduce budget expenditures, hoping to save over 5 billion lei (over €1 billion). Read more.
Slovenia’s plans to improve air connectivity struggling to take off. The government’s plans to improve the country’s dismal air connectivity have gone off to a rocky start as only Luxembourg and Montenegro flag carriers have applied for state subsidies to help them cover airport fees at Slovenia’s three international airports. Read more.
Serbia unveils new measures following two mass shootings. Following the two mass shootings that shocked Serbia last week, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić presented several new steps that came into effect on Monday, including an illegal weapons amnesty. Read more.
Albanian ombudsman raises questions over post-earthquake reconstruction. Almost four years after the earthquake that claimed the lives of 51 people and left thousands homeless in November 2019, the Albanian Ombudsman has raised concerns over many still struggling with housing issues. Read more.
- EU: Commission President Ursula von der Leyen travels to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy;
- Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans delivers closing remarks at the Conference on the Future of Finance 2023; Meets with co-chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Energy and Climate Michael R. Bloomberg;
- Vice President Margaritis Schinas delivers keynote speech at event organised by the European Commission Representation in Athens on skills;
- Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson participates in a virtual ministerial forum with external land borders Schengen area member states;
- Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič opens Europe Day celebrations with Slovenian President Nataša Pirc Musar in Ljubljana;
- Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi meets Secretary General of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe Simona Granata-Menghini;
- Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides gives keynote speech at the Cypriot House of Representatives on Europe Day;
- Financial services, financial stability and Capital Markets Union Commissioner Mairead McGuinness addresses the Seanad Éireann (Houses of the Oireachtas) in Dublin, Ireland;
- Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean on official visit in Chisinau, Moldova holds meetings with Moldavian President Maia Sandu and Prime Minister Dorin Recean; Attends public conference titled “Connecting Moldova to Europe”; Participates in signing ceremony of the Bridges Agreement between Romania and Moldova;
- European Parliament plenary session debates the revision of the Stability and Growth Pact;
- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz delivers speech in European Parliament on Europe Day; Meets bilaterally with Parliament President Roberta Metsola;
- Germany: Foreign Affairs ministry hosts the “Baltic Offshore Wind Forum” with Danish Foreign Affairs Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and Finnish counterpart Pekka Haavisto;
- Spain: Government approves new measures to guarantee young people access to mortgage loans;
- Romania: Inauguration of the European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Center in Bucharest;
- Indonesia: ASEAN leaders’ summit;
- UN: Security Council meeting on mission in Abyei, disputed region between Sudan and South Sudan;
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson, Sofia Mandilara]
Read more with EURACTIV
EU parliament vote on spyware gets politicised, implementation challenges loomA European Parliament special committee dealing with the use of Pegasus and equivalent surveillance spyware (PEGA) has concluded that the EU should come up with a strong regulation framework as well as hold those responsible accountable for their illegal actions.