Coal mine clash escalates, Czech minister visits Warsaw – EURACTIV.com
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In today’s news from the capitals:
Czech Environment Minister Anna Hubáčková (KDU-ČSL, EPP) travels to Poland amid growing tensions between the two countries. In recent months, Czechia has accused Poland of illegally mining coal in the border area and has demanded financial compensation from Poland. While the political representation of both sides sends positive signals in the hope of an amicable settlement, the Polish coal mining company adds fuel to the fire. Read more.
Serbs approve constitutional changes in a referendum. Unofficial results indicate that 61.84% voted “yes” in the referendum on changes to the election of judges and prosecutors, which Serbia says should strengthen the independence of the courts and the country’s candidacy for the EU. However, turnout was estimated at just over 30%. Read more.
European Socialists are throwing a temporary lifeline to the centre-right. As the once powerful centre-right sees its support at the polls plummet across the EU, the Socialists appear to have decided to give them a second chance to stay on the pro-EU path by supporting their candidate for the new Speaker of Parliament European, centre-right Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola.
It remains to be seen, however, how much this move will help the conservative camp resist the siren call of the new right-wing game in town, the political train led by Viktor Orbán. Read more.
Germany continues to block arms exports to Ukraine because of its new “peace” foreign policy. Germany has reiterated its refusal to send defensive weapons to Ukraine which Kiev says would help the country repel a possible Russian invasion. This is part of a new German peace policy that aims to restrict arms exports and foster peace through diplomacy. Read more.
Zemmour fined again for provoking racial hatred. The Paris Criminal Court on Monday imposed a fine of 10,000 euros on far-right candidate Éric Zemmour for his comments on young migrants. He will appeal this decision which he considers “ideological and stupid”. Read more.
Belgium can extend the life of nuclear reactors if it acts quickly, according to a watchdog. Belgium’s nuclear regulator on Monday gave the provisional green light to extend the life of two of the country’s nuclear reactors and urged the government to take a final decision on the matter in the first quarter of 2022. Learn more.
VIENNA | LISBON
Austria is seeking Germany’s support to return to strict fiscal rules. Austrian Finance Minister Magnus Brunner said he had high hopes that Germany would support frugal countries for a quick return to strict EU fiscal rules once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control. On the other hand, his Portuguese counterpart declared that it was “urgent and fundamental” to review the budgetary rules. Read more.
UNITED KINGDOM AND IRELAND
UK trade with Ireland plummets after Brexit. Britain’s goods exports to Ireland have fallen 20% since the UK left the single market, according to data released by Ireland’s Central Statistics Office on Monday. Read more.
Irish FM orders investigation into ‘Johnson-style’ government lockdown party. Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has launched an investigation into a rally organized by officials from his department in June 2020 while the country was in lockdown. Read more.
NORDIC AND BALTIC
The situation in Ukraine threatens Finland’s sixth nuclear project. The escalation of the situation in eastern Ukraine has created obstacles to Finland’s plans to build its sixth nuclear power plant, which are already progressing slowly. Read more.
Russian warships leave the Baltic Sea. Several Russian Navy landing ships that sailed in the Baltic Sea are now leaving, according to the Swedish Armed Forces. Read more.
A conservative Greek MEP criticizes his own ruling party for press freedom. Greek MEP from the ruling New Democracy (EPP) party Giorgos Kyrtsos has sharply criticized the government over the quality of press freedom in Greece, hinting that Brussels will react soon. Read more.
One in four young Italians were not working or studying in 2020, the EU’s top ranking. More than two million Italians, or one in four aged 15 to 29, were not working or studying in 2020, according to a report by the Institute for National Statistics, ISTAT. This is the highest rate in the EU, averaging 13.7%, data journalist Jacopo Ottaviani told the newspaper. The Essenziale January 15th. Read more.
The Spanish government approves an affordable housing plan for young people. The government will approve on Tuesday a royal decree which draws up a national plan for access to housing 2022-2025, endowed with 432 million euros, and a housing aid check for young people, endowed with a budget of 200 million euros, EURACTIV partner EFE reported. . Read more.
Slovakia attributes the food industry’s historic lack of funding to the Commission’s rules. Slovakia plans to invest a historically small amount of CAP 2023-2027 money in its food industry, which is severely underdeveloped compared to other EU countries. The Agriculture Ministry blames the lack of funding on Commission rules, which force it to prioritize the green transition even as Slovakia has failed to “build the foundations”. Read more.
Poland’s Justice Ministry is proposing an online freedom of expression law after the Facebook debacle. A draft law on freedom of expression online, first presented last year, is ready to be approved by the government and submitted to parliament, Deputy Minister Michał Woś said. This is the ministry’s response to Facebook’s recent decision to remove the FB page of the far-right Confederation party, currently in opposition. Read more.
Hungary records new spike in COVID-19 cases due to Omicron variant. Hungary, one of the EU countries with the least stringent COVID-19 restrictions, faced a new spike in coronavirus infections this week due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant. Read more.
Erdogan asks for Albania’s support in the fight against Gülen. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s speech to the inaugural session of Albania’s parliament on Monday included demands to take “immediate action” against cleric Fethullah Gulen and his supporters. Read more.
A woman at the head of the Bulgarian Supreme Court for the first time. President Rumen Radev on Monday signed a decree appointing Judge Galina Zaharova as president of the Supreme Court of Cassation after her unanimous election by Bulgaria’s Supreme Judicial Council on January 15. Zaharova will thus be the first woman to preside over the country’s highest court. Read more.
Romanian coalition holds more energy price talks. The governing coalition is still looking for ways to ease the burden of energy prices on vulnerable consumers and businesses, while the opposition is demanding ministerial resignations. Read more.
Russia considers Croatia a respected European partner. Russia regards Croatia as “a respected European partner” with which it has historical and cultural ties. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference after meeting his Croatian counterpart Gordan Grlić Radman in Moscow. Read more.
Russia acknowledges discrimination against Croats in BiH. Russia sees discrimination against Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina and insists on honoring the Dayton peace accord and implementing electoral reform, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Moscow. Read more.
Abazovic begins the process of forming a minority government. Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the URA (the United Reform Action civic movement) Dritan Abazović proposed a minority government without the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), led by President Milo Đukanović and the Pro-Serb Democratic Front ( DF). Read more.
- EU: European Parliament elects new President and Vice-Presidents in Strasbourg / College of Commissioners meets / EU finance ministers discuss minimum corporate tax plan / ESA Director General, Josef Aschbacher, presents the annual priorities
- Germany: Chancellor Olaf Scholz receives NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in Berlin / Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock continues her visit to Moscow to meet her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
- Norway: The judge considers the request for early release of far-right killer Anders Behring Breivik.
- Poland: President Andrzej Duda will meet his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy this week to discuss the situation on the border with Russia.
- Slovakia: MEP Michal Šimečka from the Renew Europe group is in the running for the country’s top spot as vice-president of the European Parliament.
- Spain: Iberdrola CEO Ignacio Sanchez Galan testifies in court for an alleged espionage case.
- Bulgaria/North Macedonia: Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov visits Skopje.
- Romania: Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca meets representatives of energy producers and suppliers.
- Serbia: President Aleksandar Vučić on a one-day visit to Turkey, where he will meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and sign several documents on bilateral cooperation.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]