Train tragedy blows off election plans for Greek conservative government

Train tragedy blows off election plans for Greek conservative government |

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In today’s news from the Capitals:


The train tragedy that cost the lives of at least 57 people – mainly youngsters and students – will likely change the Greek ruling New Democracy party’s plans for the next elections scheduled for 9 April.

Meanwhile, young people protested in Greek cities calling for justice in the case under the slogan “text me when you arrive”, while police were criticised for using tear gas against them. Read more.



Scholz backs transport minister in attempt to save combustion engine. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has voiced his support for liberal Transport Minister Volker Wissing’s threat to block the final vote on the EU’s de facto ban on new petrol or diesel cars as of 2035. Read more.



France’s Carrefour to freeze food prices to help households with inflation. Europe’s largest food retailer Carrefour will block the prices of 200 products which will be sold at an average of €2 from mid-March to mid-June, the company’s CEO Alexandre Bompard told Journal du Dimanche on Sunday as food prices are reported to have increased by 14.5% in the past year. Read more. 



Austrian far-right fails to reclaim heartland in state election. The far-right FPÖ lost to the Social Democratic SPÖ by a wide margin in the state election of the southernmost state of Carinthia on Sunday, failing to reclaim the state in which it used to be dominant in the 2000s. Read more.



UK to prevent irregular migrants in small boats from claiming asylum. Migrants who come to the UK via irregular means will not be able to stay, said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is expected to unveil a new bill Tuesday, which, if adopted, would prevent anyone arriving on a small boat from claiming asylum. Read more.



Estonian Election: Liberal triumph. Estonia elected a new national parliament on Sunday, making the liberal Reform Party of Prime Minister and European Council member Kaja Kallas the strongest force. Reform, which sits with the Renew Europe Group in the EU Parliament, won 31.2% (+2.3), the best result in the party’s history, and Kallas received the highest number of preference votes of any politician in a national parliamentary election. Read more.



Finland wakes up to its dependency on China. It is high time Finland diversifies its production and supply chains to come away from its trade dependence with China, even though finding alternatives is difficult, a new study states. Read more.



EU Parliament LIBE committee meets former Greek anti-corruption chief. The Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) of the European Parliament has requested and will meet the former Corruption Prosecutor Eleni Touloupaki on Monday, as part of a mission in Athens to discuss issues related to the rule of law, EURACTIV Greece has learnt. Read more.

EU prosecutor investigates contract related to Greek train tragedy. The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) has launched an investigation into a contract about upgrading the signalling system on Greek trains and remote control. If functional, this equipment could have prevented Tuesday’s train crash which killed more than 50 people. Read more.



Spain to approve new gender parity law to break ‘glass ceiling’. The government will approve a new law on equal representation of women and men in decision-making bodies, including the Council of Ministers and the boards of directors of large companies, at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced on Sunday. Read more.



Portuguese church: Bishops to decide fate of priests accused of abuse. Each bishop must decide whether to dismiss Roman Catholic priests if allegations of abusing minors are brought against them, Episcopal Conference President José Ornelas said on Friday at a news conference. Read more. 



Press report: Putin hoped to break NATO after Ukraine invasion. Russian President Vladimir Putin hoped that the invasion of Ukraine in February of last year would bring NATO to heel and result in a no-fly zone declared over Poland and the Baltic states, leaked documents from the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) show. Read more.



Czechia, Germany, team up for synthetic fuel use after combustion engine ban. Czechia, together with Germany, will not back the EU ban on the sale of new petrol or diesel cars from 2035 if synthetic fuels cannot be used, said Czech Transport Minister Martin Kupka after a meeting with his German counterpart Volker Wissing in Berlin. Read more.



Slovakia now turning towards wind. State-owned energy supplier SPP recently announced plans to build two wind park projects, suggesting Slovakia is reconsidering investing in wind parks as, amid the ongoing energy crisis, activist obstruction and long environmental processes are no longer much of a deterrent. Read more.



Investigation: Bulgaria ‘indirectly’ sent weapons to Ukraine, even before war. Bulgarian arms worth billions of dollars entered Ukraine through other countries in the past two years without Ukraine and Bulgaria even having to agree to a single direct deal, even before the war, an investigation carried out by EURACTIV Bulgaria has found. Read more.



Serbia denies selling weapons to Ukraine, Russia. Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, Defence Minister Miloš Vučević, Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić, and arms producer Krušik, denied reports that Serbia has been selling weapons to Ukraine, via Turkey and Slovakia, with Vučić calling the reports “notorious lies”. Read more.



New fraud probes already underway in Croatia, European prosecutor says. The European Prosecutor’s office in Croatia is working on a number of new investigations, following two major fraud probes in 18 months since its launch, the head of the office told N1 television on Sunday. Read more.



Slovenia’s Golob under pressure as government faces motion of no-confidence. Slovenia’s largest opposition party, the conservative Democratic Party, has tabled a motion of no-confidence in the government, a bid that has no chance of success but which offers the opposition the chance to further pressure Prime Minister Robert Golob nine months after he took office. Read more.



Erdogan reinforces support for Kosovo, offers help again. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed his willingness in a telephone call on Saturday to help Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti in talks with Serbian President Aleksander Vučić over the normalisation of relations. Read more.



Albanian opposition in new turmoil amid protests, court decision. Tirana’s Court of Appeals overturned an earlier court decision that recognised former prime minister and co-founder of the Democratic Party Sali Berisha as its legal leader, sending the case for reconsideration at a later date and causing uncertainty just two months before local elections. Read more.


  • EU: Commission Vice President Vĕra Jourová attends the 67th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women; Meets UN Secretary-General António Guterres; Participates at the event on the Digital dimension of gender-based violence; European Parliament’s FEMM delegation attends too, holds meetings with representatives of civil society, officials to discuss the backlash against women’s rights;
  • Vice President Frans Timmermans in Saudi Arabia meets with government representatives for climate and energy discussions and prepares for the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP28);
  • Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides delivers an opening speech via pre-recorded video message to the Swedish Presidency’s high-level meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR);
  • Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli delivers a keynote speech at the gala opening, “Women in Economy-Day by Day Heroes”; Meets with President of the National Roma Agency Iulian Paraschiv, in Bucharest, Romania;
  • Jobs and Social Rights Commissioner Nicolas Schmit hosts Chair of the European Platform on combatting homelessness Yves Leterme;
  • Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni exchanges views with BUDG and ECON Committees of the European Parliament on InvestEU;
  • Austria: UN nuclear watchdog IAEA holds quarterly Board of Governors meeting;
  • United Kingdom: Third International Summit on Human Genome Editing;
  • Greece: European Parliament’s civil liberties committee in Athens over wiretaps investigation;


[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson, Sofia Mandilara] 


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