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In today’s news from the Capitals:
As skyrocketing energy prices take a toll on European aluminium producers resulting in factors shuttering, many players will turn to China to meet the supply crunch of the strategic metals industry, stakeholders warn. Read more.
EU Commission wants sweeping new powers to secure supply chains. On Tuesday, the EU executive is expected to present its proposal for a Single Market Emergency Instrument (SMEI) to facilitate monitoring of supply chains of critical sectors and, in emergencies, intervene in the markets, according to a draft proposal seen by EURACTIV. Read more.
Several EU neighbours to be invited to new EU+ summit in October. Next to the six Western Balkans countries, several countries from the EU’s near neighbourhood should be among the non-EU countries invited to attend the first EU summit of the European Political Community next month, an EU official said on Wednesday (7 September). Read more.
German opposition leader calls out Scholz for not fulfilling ‘Zeitenwende’ promise. With its draft budget for 2023, Germany will not meet the NATO 2% military spending target promised by Chancellor Scholz in February, said Christian conservative leader Friedrich Merz. Read more.
French growth slows but inflation set to drop. France’s public statistics institute, Insee, has predicted a sharp slowdown in growth in the coming months but has upgraded its full-year growth forecast. Read more.
Austria adopts ‘socially unfair’ electricity price cap. Despite criticism from the opposition and experts, the government is sticking to its proposal to introduce a flat rate for a certain basic electricity supply, even if small households benefit more than average. Read more.
Dutch meet EU targets, secure enough gas for winter. Gas facilities are now, on average, 80% full, which meets the EU’s targets for the upcoming winter, Dutch media NL Times reported. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
Truss to set out plans to cap energy bills. New Prime Minister Liz Truss is expected to unveil plans to cap energy bills in the UK on Thursday, a move that the government is expected to borrow at least £100 billion to fund. Read more.
New UK minister rows back from NI protocol. UK Prime Minister Liz Truss’s new government has hinted at rowing back from a fight with the EU over Brexit, with the new Northern Ireland minister stating that the government is seeking a negotiated agreement with Brussels on the controversial Northern Ireland protocol. Read more.
Dublin prepares for ‘one of the most challenging winters in a generation’. The Irish government must take “swift and decisive action” to protect the country’s most vulnerable from the impending winter crisis and to cut down fossil fuel use, its advisory panel said. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Finland may be heading towards stagnation. The Finnish economy is in a downward spiral, and the forecast for next year promises zero growth, predicted Nordea, the largest bank in the Nordics, in its outlook released on Wednesday. Read more.
Greek journalist: Predator exposes how fragile European democracy can be. The European Parliament’s PEGA committee will discuss today Greece’s “Watergate” scandal, which found that the phones of journalists were bugged with illegal spyware Predator.
EURACTIV spoke with Thanasis Koukakis, an investigative journalist who was a victim of Predator. He explained in detail how the government acted in order not to shed light to his case.
Listen to the Podcast here.
Senator Bonino: Renegotiation of recovery plan means ‘opening Pandora’s box’. The renegotiation of Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) risks further strain with countries that opposed the generous provision of EU funds for Italy under the scheme, Senator Emma Bonino told EURACTIV Italy in an exclusive interview. Read more.
Spanish Economy Minister confident crisis is over despite high inflation. A message of moderate optimism about the chances of the country’s economy returning to pre-crisis levels was conveyed by Spanish Economy Minister Nadia Calviño on Wednesday. Read more.
Portugal’s forest fires burn a third more area than last decade’s average. Forest fires consumed more than 106,500 hectares in Portugal this year, making it the fourth highest amount of burnt area in the last 10 years, 36% above average, revealed the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF) on Wednesday. Read more.
Czechia, mulling cannabis decriminalisation, calls for joint EU action. Czech National Anti-drug Coordinator Jindřich Vobořil wants to strictly regulate the Czech cannabis market as cannabis sales should be decriminalised and regulated at the European level. Read more.
Polish doctors charged with manslaughter after fearing terminating pregnancy.The public prosecutor’s office has brought charges against three doctors who did not terminate a 30-year-old patient’s defective pregnancy for fear of breaching the country’s strict abortion laws, which resulted in her death. Read more.
Slovak PM: Energy firms’ windfall profits tax should go to energy-producing countries. If the EU would agree to tax excessive profits of energy utilities, Slovakia will promote the redistribution of these funds back to individual countries otherwise, the taxpayers will contribute to the profits of German companies in Slovakia, Prime Minister Eduard Heger told journalists on Wednesday. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Croatia to ban gas exports, ups ante with Hungary. Croatia plans to ban exports of locally produced natural gas, Economy Minister Davor Filipovic said on Wednesday, raising the stakes in the already tense relations with neighbouring Hungary. Read more.
Russian ambassador in Bulgaria appears in front row, again. Russian Ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova to Bulgaria showed up just behind President Rumen Radev at the culmination of the Unification celebrations in the city of Plovdiv on Tuesday. Read more.
Romania’s economy to grow quicker than expected, says finance minister. Romania’s economy will grow faster than the latest forecasts this year, Finance Minister Adrian Caciu said on Wednesday. Read more.
Turkey prepared to support Serbia, Kosovo in overcoming challenges, says Erdogan. Turkey is ready to support Serbia and Kosovo in overcoming their challenges, hoping for a quick and durable solution as the Balkans cannot tolerate these problems any longer said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a visit to Belgrade on Wednesday. Read more.
Iran denies cyber attack on Albania. The Iranian government denied on Wednesday evening any involvement in a cyberattack against the Albanian government, which led to Prime Minister Edi Rama giving diplomats at the embassy in Tirana 24 hours to leave the country. Read more.
Albania set to announce ‘drastic’ energy saving measures amid crisis. A package of energy-saving measures will be announced on Thursday to help Albanians save vital energy amid the brewing crisis, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Energy and Infrastructure Minister Belinda Balluku. Read more.
- EU: European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen visits the Netherlands in relation to the recovery and resilience facility/NextGenerationEU and National Recovery and Resilience Plan.
- European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen participates in exchanges with the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament.
- EU Court of Auditors reports on national post-Covid recovery plans.
- ECB press conference on eurozone monetary policy.
- EU Chief Diplomat Josep Borrell meets with President of Mozambique Filipe Nyusi and FA Minister of Mozambique Verónica Macamo, joint press conference follows.
- European Parliament Committee meetings.
- Germany: Chancellor Scholz hosts the heads of Germany’s foreign representations in Berlin for an exchange of thoughts.
- United Kingdom: Royal Mail postal workers strike over pay.
- Spain: Spanish FM Jose Manuel Albares and Portuguese FM Joao Gomes Cravinho hold press conference.
- Croatia: Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visits.
- Russia: Financial Forum.
- Kenya: Parliament holds the first session since the August election.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Vlad Makszimov, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Eleonora Vasques, Sofia Stuart Leeson]