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In today’s news from the Capitals:
German far-right MPs to visit Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine. A delegation of the German far-right party AfD, including three members of regional parliaments, will visit the Russian-occupied territories of eastern Ukraine this week in a trip reported by the media to be sponsored by the Kremlin.
Meanwhile, analysts suggest that AfD’s Russian links should be seen in light of the party’s efforts to shore up its voter base. Read more.
Progressives counter Le Pen for criticising ‘ill-considered’ Russian sanctions. The French far-right leader Marine Le Pen denounced the EU’s “imperial” attitude before being condemned by centrists and the left, who called her an accomplice of Putin. Read more.
Austria to release additional diesel from strategic reserve. The government plans to release 60,000 tonnes of diesel from Austria’s strategic energy reserves to shore up market supply amid continued issues at the country’s only refinery: OMV Schwechat. Read more.
Teleworkers more than double in four years in Belgium. Teleworking is growing in Belgium and impacts mobility habits, FPS Mobility and Transport explained in a press release published on Monday based on a survey of 1,250 Belgian workers between June and July this year. Read more.
Demonstrators urge the Belgian government not to send terrorists back to Iran. Supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran who live in exile in Belgium stood outside the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Monday, urging it not to send terrorist diplomat Assadollah Assadi back to Iran. Read more.
Dutch government to announce energy bill plan. The government and energy companies have been working on a plan to reduce energy bills, which will be announced by Climate and Energy Minister Rob Jetten on Tuesday. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Finland now only EU land border for Russian tourists. Starting Monday, the border between Finland and Russia became the only land border where Russian citizens could enter the EU. Read more.
Coalition talks: far-right still eyes government position. Leaders of Swedish political parties met with the speaker of the parliament in one-on-one meetings on Monday, and, while the content of these conversations remained private, the far-right Sweden Democrats reiterated their will to be in a government. Read more.
Greek conservatives eye collaboration with pro-Russian party. Greece’s ruling New Democracy party (European People’s Party – EPP) could be open to collaboration with the “Greek Solution”, a far-right party known for its pro-Russian stance. Read more.
Portuguese government nervous over Nigerian gas supply contracts. Portugal’s environment minister has said the government “wants to believe” that Nigeria, the main natural gas supplier, will fulfil supply contracts but acknowledged the risk of non-compliance could lead to price changes in Portugal. Read more.
Spanish coalition at odds over bill mulling privatisation of public health system. Left-wing party Unidas Podemos (United We Can/GUE-NGL), a partner of the socialist party (PSOE/S&D) , on Monday warned it would not vote in favour of a new health bill in its current format as it paves the way for the privatisation of the Iberian country’s national health system. Read more.
Polish opposition mulls unity ahead of elections. Poland’s two former presidents have invited the leaders of Poland’s opposition to a meeting to agree on a joint strategy for the upcoming pre-election season. Read more.
Poland to oppose EU rule of law sanctions on Hungary. After six months of cooler relations, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced his country would oppose EU rule of law sanctions on Hungary proposed by the European Commission on Sunday. Read more.
Israel to join European Political Community meeting. Representatives of Israel, Great Britain, and the Western Balkans are set to take a part in October’s informal European leaders’ summit, organised by the Czech EU Presidency, meant to discuss French President Emmanuel Macron’s pan-European initiative. Read more.
Extremism grows in Slovakia. An increased number of extremism cases have been reported over the last two years, and police initiated 28% more prosecutions for extremism in 2020 than the year before, said the Slovak interior ministry in its annual report. Read more.
Hungary leads EU in soaring bread prices. Despite emergency measures capping the price of some foodstuffs, including wheat flour, the price of bread in Hungary soared by 66% in August in the latest in a growing list of food affordability concerns. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Russia’s invasion fully justified, says Bosnian Serb leader. Separatist Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik gave full support to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Monday and drew parallels with Bosnia, saying local Serbs cannot go to the same schools as Muslims. Read more.
Russia behind anti-Bulgarian hysteria, says Macedonian ex-PM. Russia is behind the anti-Bulgarian hysteria in North Macedonia, including protests and the proposal for a referendum to cancel the Neighbourhood agreement treaty with Bulgaria, says the former Macedonian Prime Minister Vlado Buchkovski. Read more.
Romania launches 5G spectrum sale. The Romanian telecom authority ANCOM has started the sale procedure for the 5G spectrum, and companies interested in getting 5G licences can announce their intention as of Monday. Read more.
Slovenia to send tanks to Ukraine in chain swap with Germany. Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz agreed on Monday to exchange military vehicles which will see Yugoslav-era Slovenian tanks will be sent to Ukraine. Read more.
No chance we will let Kosovo in UN, says Vucic. There is no chance that Belgrade would accept Kosovo becoming a part of the United Nations, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Monday. Read more.
PRISTINA | BELGRADE
Albanians in south Serbia want their rights included in the Kosovo-Belgrade dialogue. Ethnic Albanians living in the Presevo Valley in southern Serbia have asked that the issue of their removal from the area by the Belgrade government be included in the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue. Read more.
Hackers publish sensitive data on political assassination plots in Albania, Kosovo. Iranian cybercriminals published on Monday sensitive information from the authorities, including documents on alleged plots to kill Albanian and Kosovo politicians, while the prosecutor in Tirana has banned media from publishing any of the data. Read more.
- EU: European Commissioner President Ursula von der Leyen participates in the Opening of the General Debate of the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly;
- Josep Borrell in New York, United States to participate in different high-level events related to the 77th session of the UN General Assembly and holds a number of bilateral meetings with international counterparts;
- European Commissioner Vice-President Frans Timmermans represents, together with von der Leyen, the EU during the pledging event ‘Countdown to CBD COP15: Landmark Leaders Event for a Nature Positive World’;
- Netherlands: EMA holds briefing on COVID-19 and monkeypox vaccines;
- Belgium: EU European ministers meet to discuss rule of law and relations with the UK;
- Norway: Norway’s sovereign wealth fund presents new climate action plan;
- US: UN General Assembly High-Level Week;
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Vlad Makszimov, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson]