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Good morning from BRATISLAVA
More than half of Slovaks would welcome a military victory of Russia over Ukraine, a new survey published on Wednesday has found. Read more.
Von der Leyen: Treaty change needed to show EU is ‘serious’ on reform. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gave her backing for a constitutional convention to reform the EU treaties in her State of the Union speech on Wednesday, insisting that leaders must be ‘serious’ about EU reform. Read more.
Von der Leyen’s Ukraine-tinted speech falls short on policy vision. Europe’s response to Russia’s war in Ukraine dominated European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s annual speech on Wednesday, but she provided little substance when it came to several important files and pressing issues facing the bloc. Read more.
European prime ministers urge Belgium not to free convicted Iranian diplomat. Belgium must send back to Iran a former diplomat convicted over a failed bomb attack as it would make a mockery of EU rule of law when relations between the West and Tehran are strained, according to a letter sent by European prime ministers. Read more.
German government ups unemployment benefits to rise with inflation. The cabinet on Wednesday decided to increase unemployment benefits to better align with inflation, implementing a key electoral promise of Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Read more.
French ministers say energy bills will be kept low in 2023, call for EU solidarity. Senior ministers have outlined their priorities to control energy prices over 2023, with Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire saying that “government intervention has paid off better than anywhere else in the EU”. Read more.
Austria’s recently deceased receive a €500 climate bonus. Austria’s cash bonus designed to offset the unequal impacts of the country’s newly implemented carbon price on petrol, heating, oil and gas, has been called into question for being awarded to people who have recently died. Read more.
Air France-KLM, compete to own at least 50% of TAP. The Franco-Dutch group is competing to have at least 50% ownership of Portuguese national carrier TAP, following the Portuguese government’s plans to sell the airline’s shares. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
Irish and Ukrainian foreign ministers discuss grain exports, the nuclear plant in Odesa. Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney and his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kubela, met in Odesa on Wednesday to discuss grain exports and the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant ahead of a UN Security Council meeting next week. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
EU lawmakers slam EPP for siding with far-right amid Swedish election results. The rise of nationalistic parties across Europe has been helped by the centre-right, particularly the European People’s Party (EPP), EU lawmakers said on Wednesday following the results of the general election. Read more.
Patient Safety Act tests Finnish government’s unity. The Patient Safety Act, which seeks to ensure treatment at intensive care units during possible nurses’ strikes, is creating new difficulties for Prime Minister Sanna Marin. Read more.
Italian elections: EU Parliament chief says ‘one cannot work with extremists’. Pro-European political forces cannot work with extremists who want to ruin Europe, Roberta Metsola, the President of the European Parliament, told EURACTIV Italy in an interview on Wednesday, sending a clear message ahead of the upcoming Italian elections on 25 September. Read more.
Greece wants to cap firewood and pellet prices. With the prices of firewood and pellets increasing by around 30% compared to last year, a minister said that the Greek Ministry of Development plans to intervene and impose a cap. Read more.
Portugal embraces Commission’s EU hydrogen bank idea. An EU bank to support hydrogen projects is an excellent idea for energy autonomy, said Portuguese Foreign Minister João Gomes Cravinho following the announcement made by European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen in her State of the Union address. Read more.
Major union urges the government to increase minimum wage in 2023. The government must substantially increase the national minimum wage in 2023 to protect vulnerable families from the economic crisis, Unai Sordo, the Secretary-General of Comisiones Obreras, one of Spain’s two largest trade unions, said on Wednesday. Read more.
Journalistic investigation puts Polish MPs on their toes. Politicians and authorities concealed critical information on the Smolensk plane crash that killed 96, according to a journalistic investigation that has key figures feeling anxious. Read more.
Czech government to support heavy industry amid price hikes. The government has approved financial aid worth €1.2 billion to help around 8,000 large companies amid energy price hikes. Read more.
Commission set to suspend Hungary’s recovery funds. The European Commission is set to propose suspending a large proportion of the €5.8 billion of funding assigned to Hungary from the bloc’s recovery fund, Reuters reports citing officials familiar with the process. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Albanian PM calls for understanding over Serbia’s Russian stance. Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has expressed concern over Russian influence in the country while showing understanding for the stance of Belgrade towards Moscow. Read more.
Bulgaria to significantly increase national debt. Bulgaria intends to take on at least €3 billion of government debt by the end of the year, of which €2 billion will come from the international markets, according to the credit calendar published by the finance ministry and the financial weekly Capital. Read more.
Romania wants to price cap all sources of natural gas. Romania wants a European Union-wide cap for all natural gas prices, to avoid another market imbalance, Energy Minister Virgil Popescu said. Read more.
Croatia asks energy firm INA to boost gas output, sell only at home. The Croatian government will ask the oil and gas firm INA, co-owned by Hungary’s MOL, to increase the by 10% the production of gas and sell the entire output at home, Economy Minister Davor Filipović said on Wednesday. Read more.
US Ambassador hopes EuroPride will take place. US Ambassador to Serbia Christopher Hill on Wednesday said he hopes Serbia will hold the EuroPride Parade on Saturday and overcome its problems as people in every democracy have the right to assemble freely. Read more.
North Macedonia Assembly Speaker rejects referendum about cancelling Bulgarian deal. The Speaker of the Assembly of North Macedonia, Talat Xhaferi, rejected the call by the opposition party VMRO-DPMNE to hold a referendum on withdrawing the agreement with Bulgaria which proposes that North Macedonia amends its Constitution to recognise a Bulgarian minority. Read more.
Albanian political parties spar over Russian funding allegations. The former chairman of the Democratic Party (PD), Lulzim Basha denied reports that the party received $500,000 from Russia during the run-up to the 2017 general election, following accusations made by international media. Read more.
- EU: Vice-president of the European Commission Frans Timmermans meets with International Energy Agency Executive-Director, Fatih Birol;
- Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski in Czechia; participates in informal meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council of the EU;
- The European Parliament will hold a Conference of Presidents in Strasbourg;
- Germany: G7 trade ministers meet in Neuhardenberg;
- Bundestag president Barbel Bas hosts G7 counterparts in Berlin, including US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi;
- M100 Media Conference with Ukrainian journalists, M100 Media Award presented, Chancellor Olaf Scholz will speak;
- Norway: Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store meets with the country’s three biggest oil and gas groups to discuss Europe’s energy crisis;
- Switzerland: UN Special Rapporteur Fortune Gaetan Zongo presents first report on situation of human rights in Burundi;
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Vlad Maksimov, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson, Eleonora Vasques]