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In today’s news from the Capitals:
Ukrainian refugees are temporarily returning home to receive sexual and reproductive healthcare after finding their options limited in Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia, while others seek illegal solutions, according to a study published by the Centre for Reproductive Rights. Read more.
Stakeholders bicker over EU tender on tobacco control policy. A €3 million tender for research services related to the implementation of the EU’s tobacco control policy which aims to create a ‘tobacco-free generation’ was granted to the European Network for Smoking Prevention (ENSP) – the only tender bid – in a move that is being criticised by centre-right MEP Sara Skyttedal (EPP) as a conflict of interest. Read more.
2024 EU elections confirmed between 6 and 9 June. The next European Parliament elections will be held between 6 and 9 June 2024, according to a letter by the Swedish minister of EU affairs, whose country holds the rotating EU Council presidency, to Parliament President Roberta Metsola. Read more.
German finance minister: times of expansive fiscal policies are over. Fiscal tightening would be necessary to fight inflation, said Finance Minister Christian Lindner following the recent reports of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the EU Commission, which indicated that Germany will continue to be plagued by high inflation. Read more.
France to speed up nuclear power deployment. A bill to speed up the construction of new nuclear reactors was approved by MPs on Tuesday, with the government hailing it as an environmental step forward. Read more.
EU Commission threatens legal action against Austria’s Schengen border controls. The EU Commission threatened Austria with legal action over its extended Schengen border controls and launched a formal consultation procedure with all involved EU states. Read more.
Belgian justice minister to legislate against rioters despite party objections. A bill that would ban rioters’ right to protest was debated in the Chamber’s Justice Committee on Tuesday, and although the vote was postponed due to opposition, Belgian Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne wants to see this law enter into force. Read more.
Dutch cabinet, farmers divided over proposed limit on cows per hectare. A potential limit on the number of cows per hectare of grassland included in a leak of the government’s Agricultural Accord (Landbouwakkord) has divided the Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality Ministry and farmer representatives, as the latter vehemently opposes the measure. Read more.
UK & IRELAND
British-Irish lawmakers push for EU-UK defence cooperation on borderless threats. Parliamentarians of the UK-Ireland Assembly on Tuesday called for a closer defence relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom due to the security threat Russia poses since the war in Ukraine. Read more.
Dublin approves 2023 Climate Action Mandate. Ireland has approved the 2023 Climate Action Mandate on Tuesday, which hopes to provide a consistent approach meeting climate goals across the public sector, including a 51% reduction in GHG emissions and a 50% improvement in energy efficiency by 2030. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Swedish far-right outraged over government’s wind power expansion plans. The Swedish government gave the green light to two offshore wind farms off the western coast of Sweden, much to the dismay of the eurosceptic Sweden Democrats, whose spokesperson called the government ‘naive’ over the decision. Read more.
Spaniards face EU elections with ideological confusion, says expert. While Spain is heading for the municipal and regional election on 28 May and a general election in December, Spanish citizens face the 2024 EU elections with a mix of scepticism and ideological confusion, CEO of the survey company 40dB Belén Barreiro told EURACTIV’s partner EFE. Read more.
Portugal to implement new EU certification of olive grove management. Portugal has joined a European network that will implement a new certificate guaranteeing olive grove management includes biodiversity conservation, thanks to a project of the University of Évora (UÉ) that was announced on Tuesday. Read more.
Greek central banker reminds politicians of investment grade priority. The primary task of the next government should be carrying out the necessary reforms as well as returning to fiscal discipline to get rid of the “junk status” investment-grade, the governor of the Bank of Greece, Yannis Stournaras, said ahead of the 21 May national elections. Read more.
Czech lithium could contribute to European energy security, says PM. We are on the verge of a lithium revolution, said Prime Minister Petr Fiala, who envisions the possibility of Czechia embarking on lithium mining within its territory, potentially becoming a significant contributor to Europe’s overall energy security. Read more.
Slovak President did not keep word on re-election candidacy announcement. President Zuzana Čaputová promised to announce whether she would run for re-election in the next year’s elections sooner than her predecessor Andrej Kiska did, but the deadline to do that was on 15 May – the day Kiska announced he would not run again. Read more.
Hungary blocks tranche of EU off-budget military support for Ukraine. Hungary did not approve the disbursement of the next tranche of military support for Ukraine provided under the EU’s European Peace Facility (EPF), a government spokesman’s office said on Tuesday. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
This year key for EU enlargement, says Varhelyi. This year is key for EU enlargement due to changes in the way it is done and with new Balkan members bringing opportunities to the EU community, said EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi at the EU Meets the Balkans conference in Sofia on Tuesday. Read more.
Romanian teachers’ general strike may affect final exams. Romanian teachers will organise a two-hour strike on Wednesday, which could be followed by a general strike next week if their demands are not met, meaning final exams may be affected. Read more.
Albanian economic growth rosy, but euro-lek exchange rate causes headaches. Albania can expect its economy to grow by 2.9% this year according to the European Commission’s spring forecast, up from the autumn forecast with a slightly more gloomy 26%, but, despite this, the export sector will continue to face challenges due to social issues and the euro-lek exchange rate. Read more.
- EU: Commission Vice President Dubravka Šuica participates in an exchange of views with the Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly on the Conference of the Future of Europe (CoFoE);
- Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides hosts US Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra for a first ever EU-US Health Dialogue; Meeting focuses on cancer priorities, global health threats and global health architecture;
- Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni delivers video message at the Beyond Growth 2023 Conference, organised by the European Parliament;
- Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi on official visit in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina;
- Jobs and Social Rights Commissioner Nicolas Schmit and US counterparts kick off US-EU Trade and Technology Council: Talent for Growth Taskforce;
- Financial services, financial stability and Capital Markets Union Commissioner Mairead McGuinness meets with ECB Executive Board Member Frank Elderson;
- Germany: Defence Minister Boris Pistorius, British counterpart Ben Wallace hold meeting;
- Ukraine: Reporters Without Borders give press conference;
- China: Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon on official visit;
- World Meteorological Organization: Updated global temperature data to be released;
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson, Sofia Mandilara]