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In today’s news from the Capitals:
Sweden, which currently holds the rotating EU Presidency, will launch an awareness campaign to discourage migrants from coming to the country, Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard and far-right Sweden Democrat leader in parliament Henrik Vinge said at a press conference. Read more.
Commission to reconsider EU-Ukraine agri-food trade liberalisation. The European Commission is mulling over reconsidering the special suspension for all tariffs and quotas on Ukrainian agri-food exports over the coming weeks after complaints from member states that an influx of agricultural goods is putting EU farmers at a disadvantage. Read more.
2024 EU elections: EPP-ECR alliance is a ‘non-issue’ for the French right. While the European elections of 2024 are beginning to make themselves felt at the European level, with the liberal EPP questioning the possibility of an alliance with the conservatives of the ECR group, its French component appears far from having decided on the issue, opting to leave such a decision to after the elections. Read more.
Scholz caves into pressure, allows Leopard shipments to Ukraine. After weeks of mounting pressure, Chancellor Olaf Scholz paved the way on Tuesday for modern Leopard 2 tanks to be delivered to Ukraine, whether from Germany or any other country, multiple media reported. Read more.
Austrian industry sees signs of economic stabilisation. Austria is on its way to recovering from the economic crisis that was triggered by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, the Federation of Austrian Industries said. Read more.
Belgium urged to do ‘everything it can’ to free convicted aid worker in Iran. Belgian authorities should “do everything” they possibly can to end the “serious violations of fundamental rights” aid worker Olivier Vandecasteele has been subjected to in Iran, some 60 academics and legal experts wrote in an open letter. Read more.
Dutch asylum agency concealed violent incidents against children. The Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers hid at least 20 violent incidents targeting minor asylum seekers from the Health Ministry, the NRC daily reported. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Finland ‘re-thinking’ NATO bid without Sweden causes storm. Comments from Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto that Finland could pursue NATO membership without its partner Sweden after Turkey said it would not support Stockholm’s bid, has ruffled many feathers in Sweden and Finland. Read more.
Tsipras to reveal names under surveillance by Greek secret services. Main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras will reveal on Wednesday in the Greek parliament the names of those under surveillance by the secret services as the so-called “Greek Watergate” escalates with the opposition asking Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to resign, branding him as the mastermind behind the scandal. Read more.
Meloni government wants EU to revisit vision for Western Balkans. The European Union should urgently develop a new vision about the Western Balkans and have enlargement among its priorities, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on Tuesday. Read more.
Spanish anti-inflation package approved despite right-wing abstention. Parliament gave its final approval on Tuesday to a fresh anti-inflation package the government presented in the form of a decree to help mitigate the impact of high energy prices on food products. Read more.
Man suspected of threatening to kill Portugal’s president, detained. A man suspected of threatening to kill Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was detained by the Judicial Police in Lisbon on Tuesday, a source confirmed to Lusa. Read more.
EU institutions not willing to think ‘long-term’, expert says. European Union institutions are not always willing to adopt a long-term vision, Associate Director of European Policy Centre Elizabeth Kuiper told EURACTIV.cz in an interview where she reflected on the takeaways of last year’s Conference on the Future of Europe. Read more.
Slovak gas transit in jeopardy if new pipeline tax is passed, minister warns. Adopting an additional tax provided in the European Commission’s guidelines on windfall taxes would cripple Eustream and significantly jeopardise the gas transit system that runs through Slovakia, Economy Minister Karel Hirman said. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
UK government lost 176 Albanian child asylum seekers, didn’t notify Tirana. Out of 200 asylum-seeking children that have gone missing from hotels provided by the British, Government, 88% were Albanian, according to Minister Lord Murray, sparking outrage in Tirana over the lack of responsibility from UK authorities and the fact that they were not notified. Read more.
Bulgaria targets those involved in ‘golden passports’ scheme. The former head of the country’s investment agency and current member of the supervisory board of the state-owned Bulgarian Development Bank, Stamen Yanev, is being investigated by the country’s prosecution for his involvement in the “golden passport” scheme. Read more.
Slovenian parliament approves government reshuffle. Parliament endorsed nine ministers in the government of Prime Minister Robert Golob on Tuesday, completing a reshuffle that Golob intended since the start of his term but was thwarted in past months. Read more.
Serbian parliament to debate Kosovo, Vucic calls opposition for talks. President Aleksandar Vučić has called all opposition parties to brief them about the latest European plan for Serbia and Kosovo, amid growing pressure from the EU on Belgrade to acknowledge the sovereignty of its former province if it wants to keep alive its prospects of joining the EU. Read more.
- EU: Commission President Ursula von der Leyen attends College meeting presenting the package entitled “Strengthening social dialogue”; Receives President of the State of Israel Isaac Herzog;
- Vice President Margaritis Schinas holds meetings with President of the European Jewish Congress Ariel Muzicant, CEO of the American Jewish Committee Ted Deutch;
- Vice President Vĕra Jourová receives Secretary General Reporters without Borders Christophe Deloire;
- Vice President Margrethe Vestager gives key note speech in the “Cleantech for Europe” Summit;
- Vice President Maroš Šefčovič receives President of the European Investment Bank Werner Hoyer; Has videoconference with the Energy Community Contracting Parties;
- Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders gives opening speech at the EURACTIV event on EU-US Data Protection Framework;
- Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni receives President of the European Investment Bank Werner Hoyer;
- Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi receives the former President of Ukraine Petro Porshenko;
- Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson meets with President of the Committee of the Regions Vasco Alves Cordeiro;
- European Parliament President Roberta Metsola addresses the plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC);
- European Parliament holds plenary session;
- Germany: Economy Minister Robert Habeck presents the annual Economy Report 2023;
- ECHR: Decision on case brought by Ukraine, Netherlands against Russia, concerning MH17 disaster, Lugansk and Donetsk;
- UN: Security Council meeting on Syria;
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson, Sofia Mandilara]