The Capitals brings you the latest news from across Europe, thanks to on-the-ground reporting by EURACTIV’s media network. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.
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In today’s news from the capitals:
After two and a half hours of deliberation, the SPD’s arbitration committee in Hanover failed to agree on Thursday on whether to expel former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder from the party because of his links with Russia. Read more.
European lawmakers are voting to blacklist soy biodiesel on sustainability grounds. The European Parliament’s Industry Committee voted Wednesday (July 13) to restrict the use of soybean oil as a feedstock for biofuel production, a move that would put the crop on the same footing as palm oil in the EU. Read more.
Russian aggression drives euro down alongside EU growth forecast. Rising energy prices have seen the euro fall to parity with the US dollar in recent days, while concerns over energy supply have forced the European Commission to drastically cut its growth projections. Read more.
LEAK: EU prepares plan to reduce gas consumption ahead of uncertain winter. The European Commission is drawing up plans to help EU countries reduce demand for fossil gas and, if necessary, reduce consumption in the face of “a likely deterioration in gas supply prospects” this winter, according to proposals disclosed policies seen by EURACTIV. Read more.
Macron calls for military investments to deal with “high intensity wars”. As tanks paraded down the Champs-Elysées for July 14 on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron said he wanted to reinvest in military stocks and train and hire personnel to better deal with potential wars of “high intensity” in the future. Read more.
The Austrian OMV supplies 45% of annual gas needs from non-Russian sources. Austrian gas company OMV has reserved significant transmission capacity from Norway and Italy for the October 2022 to September 2023 gas year to become less dependent on Russia, the company said on Thursday. Read more.
The Netherlands records the first case of the Centaurus variant. The Netherlands has recorded its first case of Centaur, the BA.2.75 COVID-19 variant that has already been found in other countries, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) announced. Read more.
UNITED KINGDOM AND IRELAND
Opening of a hospital in Spain for Irish patients on long waiting lists. Patients facing long delays in Irish hospitals can now access treatment overseas after a hospital with dedicated capacity opened in Spain on Thursday. Read more.
NORDIC AND BALTIC
The Estonian Prime Minister resigns to form a new government. Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has officially informed the government of her decision to resign as she wishes to form a new government coalition. Read more.
Finns want to see wine sales liberalized. Most Finns believe that alcoholic beverages over 5.5% should not only be sold in Finland’s alcohol retail monopoly Alko, but also in grocery stores and supermarkets, according to a new survey. released Thursday. Read more.
Lithuania will not challenge Brussels over Kaliningrad to avoid Russia’s “victory”. Lithuania said on Thursday it would not attempt to challenge a European Commission clarification allowing sanctioned civilian goods to transit by rail through its territory to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, which it said Brussels, constitutes “no change of position” towards Moscow. Read the full story here.
President rejects Draghi’s resignation, sends it to lawmakers. Italian President Mattarella has rejected the resignation of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, asking him to come to parliament and assess the situation next Wednesday. Read more.
The return of international tourism is boosting Portugal’s economic prospects. European economic forecasts released by the EU executive on Thursday predict strong economic growth for Portugal. Read more.
Greece is considering the TAP, LNG pipeline to deal with a Russian gas cut. The Greek government is considering the TAP pipeline and liquefied natural gas (LNG) to fill the energy supply hole in case Russia decides on a reduced or complete gas cut to Europe, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said after a briefing on Thursday. Read more.
The Extraordinary Energy Council of the Czech Presidency will discuss solidarity, Nord Stream. The Czech Minister of Industry and Trade, Jozef Síkela, has convened an extraordinary Energy Council to be held on July 26 in Brussels to discuss the shutdown of Nord Stream 1 and possible solidarity measures. Read more.
Hungary to help bring grain from Ukraine. Hungary pledged to help expand Ukraine’s grain exports and said it would support an entrepreneurial zone for processing plants on their common border. Read more.
Poland allows borrowers “loan holidays”. Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday signed a law allowing borrowers to defer loan repayments for several months. Read more.
Slovak social partners reach historic agreement on minimum wage increase. In a historic first, unions and employers have agreed to an 8% increase in the monthly minimum wage of €646 to €700 – little relief for poorer employees as this may not fully offset the price hike as inflation hits double-digit territory. Read more.
Slovenian lawmakers plan to repeal the laws of the previous government. Slovenia’s parliament on Wednesday passed an omnibus law that repeals 11 laws passed under the previous government, an unprecedented move some critics say could be challenged in the Constitutional Court and pave the way for future similar showdowns. Read more.
Bulgaria says no to tough Covid restrictions amid summer surge. Bulgaria will not impose severe restrictions on citizens and businesses despite already being hit by Europe’s summer wave of COVID-19, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov announced on Thursday during the briefing after the Council of Ministers meeting. Read more.
Romania is preparing for the 5G auction. Spectrum supply documentation for 5G networks has been prepared by ANCOM, Romania’s telecommunications supervisory authority, with starting auction prices for several frequency bands totaling almost €700 million. . Read more.
The Russian public channel RT will open a store in Serbia. Russian public television and radio channel Russia Today (RT) is about to open offices in Serbia, Sputnik Serbia editor-in-chief Ljubinka Milinčić confirmed to the independent news portal Nova.rs. Read more.
French vote proposal to be restructured in the parliament of North Macedonia. Macedonian lawmakers’ vote on France‘s tough sell proposal to unblock Bulgaria’s EU membership veto will now take place on Friday after a thorough debate in parliament on Thursday and a decision to change what to vote on. Read more.
The US business lobby opposes Albania’s tax amnesty law. The American Chamber of Commerce in Albania, a private non-profit business promotion organization, has announced its opposition to the proposed tax amnesty law put forward by the Socialist Party government, calling it a significant money laundering risk. money a few days after the European Commission expressed its concerns. Read more.
- EU: Informal meeting of EU affairs ministers, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishyna attends.
- Partnership agreement signed with Niger on the fight against migrant smuggling.
- Commission Vice-President Vĕra Jourová meets French Minister for Europe Laurence Boone.
- Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni participates by videoconference in the meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20.
- Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius meets Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda.
- Germany: Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will meet Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca at the seat of the Romanian government.
- Poland: A new law modifying the disputed judicial reforms comes into force.
- Algeria: Reopening of the land border between Algeria and Tunisia.
- United States: Former President Donald Trump will testify in a New York fraud investigation.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Vlad Maksimov, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson, Eleonora Vasques]