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In today’s news from the Capitals:
Good morning from Berlin and Paris
While pressure on the German government mounts to increase its military support and deliver modern tanks to Ukraine, neighbouring France has been left largely unchallenged for its own hesitancy.
Besides differences in domestic political pressure, experts and politicians turning a blind eye for France despite its relatively lacklustre support has less to do with the administration in Paris and more with Berlin’s recent foreign policy u-turn. Read more.
Series of sexual violence scandals erupt within French left. A series of recent revelations against left-wing MPs from different parties raise concerns that appropriate frameworks to deal with the complaints are lacking, activists say, while disagreements on how to move forward among political leaders grow. Read more.
Capping company earnings ‘does not make energy cheaper,’ Austrian FM. The EU’s plans to cap earnings of electricity producers would not make energy cheaper, Finance Minister Magnus Brunner explained, as the government is spearheading a new gas independence initiative. Read more.
First nuclear reactor to be shut down in Belgium. According to the Belgian law on nuclear phase-out, the Doel 3 nuclear reactor will stop operating on Friday after 40 years of activity. Read more.
Dutch to host AI international summit in 2023. The Netherlands will host an international summit on the responsible application of artificial intelligence in the military domain, Foreign Affairs Minister Wopke Hoekstra announced at the UN General Assembly in New York. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Finland seeks national solution to limit Russian tourist visas. With no bloc-wide solution on Russian visas in sight, Finland will independently interpret EU and Schengen agreements to develop its own following increased border crossings prompted by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement on partial mobilisation. Read more.
Swedish parliamentary defence committee to meet earlier amid Russian escalation. Swedish parliament’s defence committee will meet on Monday following Russia’s announcement to partially mobilise, in a session taking place earlier than planned as political parties are still negotiating a ruling coalition. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
Fracking to return as UK seeks short-term alternatives on gas supply. Fracking for gas will be part of the UK’s short-term response to the energy crisis prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, ministers announced on Thursday. Read more.
Spain mulls 2023 tax on large fortunes amid ‘tax battle’. The government is working on a temporary tax on large fortunes to be implemented as of January 2023, announced Spanish Finance Minister María Jesús Montero (PSOE/S&D) on Thursday after centre-right opposition Partido Popular (PP/EPP) had launched a series of tax reductions in regions ruled by them. Read more.
Portuguese government still believes France can be convinced about gas link. The government believes it could still be possible to convince France to allow interconnections from the Iberian Peninsula to supply gas, and later hydrogen, to Europe but is also looking into an alternative connection through Italy. Read more.
New laws open door for Slovak nationalisation of gas, and electricity. Further measures will enable the government to nationalise energy produced by companies and declare a state of emergency in case of shortages, unaffordable increases, or threatened security. Read more.
Russians in Poland picket against mobilisation. Russian national minority representatives in Poland have protested against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of partial mobilisation as part of the Ukraine invasion. Read more.
Deserting Russians will not get Czech visas. Russians leaving their country for fear of being subject to mobilisation do not fulfil the conditions for being granted a humanitarian visa in Czechia, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský said on Thursday. Read more.
Hungary to launch national poll on Russia energy sanctions. The Hungarian ruling coalition parties, Fidesz-KDNP, have asked the government, entirely composed of its politicians, to launch a national poll on Hungarian public support for EU energy sanctions on Russia. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Albania closes two schools allegedly linked to Erdogan’s Gulenist foes. The Albanian government closed a school and kindergarten in Tirana this week, reportedly linked to opponents of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leading to accusations from the institutions’ management that the decisions are politically motivated. Read more.
Bulgarians consider high prices as more dangerous than the Ukraine war. Bulgarians believe the excessive increase in prices is a more tangible danger than the escalation of the war in Ukraine, according to a Gallup International Poll released on Tuesday. Read more.
Referendums in Ukrainian-occupied zones ‘unacceptable,’ says Romanian FM. Russia’s decision to support the organisation of so-called referendums to annex territories occupied by its army forces in Ukraine is completely unacceptable, Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said during the UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine. Read more.
Croatian president moves to sack military intelligence chief. A procedure for the dismissal of major general Ivica Kinder, the head of the country’s military intelligence VSOA, was launched by Croatian President Zoran Milanović on Thursday because of what the media said was alleged embezzlement of funds by VSOA members. Read more.
Slovenian opposition mounts ouster attempt against minister, again. The opposition conservative Slovenian Democrats (SDS) tabled a motion of no confidence in social democrat Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon on Thursday, just two days after Interior Minister Tatjana Bobnar became the first member of the government to face a no-confidence vote. Read more.
Air Serbia denies reports of rocketing prices for flights from Russia. Serbian national air carrier Air Serbia dismissed media reports on Thursday about high prices of tickets for flights from Russia to Belgrade as deliberate misinformation. Read more.
- EU: Frans Timmermans meets with Mr Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor;
- Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski delivers a keynote speech and presents awards at the EU Organic Day Awards ceremony;
- UN General Assembly in New York, 20-23 September;
- Belgium: Engie Doel 3 nuclear reactor final shutdown;
- UK: Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng delivers fiscal plan;
- Switzerland: Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine gives an oral update to the UN Human rights council;
- Hungary: Government submits series of anti-corruption reforms in parliament;
- Ukraine: Referenda on the annexation of separatist regions by Russia (to 27 September);
- US: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses UN General Assembly;
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Vlad Makszimov, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Eleonora Vasques, Sofia Stuart Leeson]