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The Capitals brings you the latest news from across Europe through on-the-ground reporting by EURACTIV’s media network. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.
The European news you deserve to read. Welcome to The Capitals by EURACTIV.
In today’s news from the Capitals:
Vodafone Portugal’s chief executive said on Tuesday that a cyber-attack carried out on the company was “a criminal act” that was “clearly” aimed at putting the network out of action in a serious manner, “to make [it] as difficult as possible” to use the company’s services. Read more.
BERLIN | WARSAW | PARIS
Germany, France and Poland team up to de-escalate the Ukraine conflict. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met his French and Polish counterparts on Tuesday evening in the so-called Weimar Triangle to ensure a common approach on de-escalating the tense situation at the Ukrainian border. Read more.
Macron: progress in Russia-Ukraine peace negotiations ‘possible’. “We have the possibility to move these negotiations forward,” said French President Emmanuel Macron on the topic of peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine during his meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Tuesday. Read more.
EU increasingly unpopular in Austria. Almost half of Austrians believe the EU is going in the wrong direction, a recent Eurobarometer survey shows. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
Reshuffle and Brexit opportunities amid government disquiet. Jacob Rees-Mogg has been given a new role in government as the minister for Brexit opportunities, as Boris Johnson carries out a cabinet reshuffle in what some suggest is a move to reassert control. Read more.
Irish FM appears before committee over lockdown party. Foreign Minister Simon Coveney spoke on Tuesday before an Oireachtas committee on the subject of a party held in the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) while the country was in lockdown in 2020. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Canadian-inspired trucker convoy rolls into Helsinki. Inspired by the recent truckers’ Freedom Convoy in Ottawa, truckers over the weekend gathered outside parliament and at Citizen’s Square, demanding the abolition of all COVID-19 restrictions, reductions in the price of fuel, and the government’s resignation. Read more.
Denmark responds to Russian aggression in Ukraine, sends fighter jets to Baltic Sea. A total of 700 soldiers will gather in the Slagelse military base in Western Sjælland, the Danish Armed Forces have announced. The armed forces also said that fighter jets would also be sent to Bornholm following Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Read more.
Conte suspended as leader of 5-Star Movement. Ex-PM Giuseppe Conte has been suspended as the leader of the 5-Star Movement following a decision of the Court of Naples on 7 February. Read more.
Bank of Spain predicts medium-term reduction of inflation in the EU. The governor of the Bank of Spain, Pablo Hernández de Cos, on Tuesday predicted that inflation in the euro area would moderate its fast-growing pace, from 5.1% to 2%. However, he also acknowledged that “there is a very high level of uncertainty” in the markets. Read more.
New Czech government plans health sector cuts amid pandemic. The government wants to save around €4 million in public health spending this year with more than 100 jobs to be axed despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Czech healthcare unions who issued a strike alert in response to the planned budget cuts, said. Read more.
Poland to appeal EU’s ‘ridiculous’ fine-deducting decision for Turow. Poland will appeal the European Commission’s decision to deduct money from their EU budget allocation, penalties incurred in the Turów mine dispute with the Czech Republic, the government has announced. Read more.
Hungarian governments’ move to keep press away from hospitals ‘shocking’, says international media. The International Press Institute (IPI) on Tuesday slammed the Hungarian executive’s decision to override a court ruling that struck down the blanket ban on independent media accessing health institutions amid the pandemic. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
North Macedonia must change its constitution ahead of membership talks, Bulgaria tells EU. Bulgaria expects constitutional guarantees for the observance of the rights of Macedonian Bulgarians before the start of negotiations for North Macedonia’s EU membership, said President Rumen Radev during his meeting with EU ambassadors. Read more.
Romania will need to optimise recovery plan. Some things need to be optimised in the national recovery and resilience plan earlier than the mechanism’s regulations says, Romania’s finance minister Adrian Caciu said. Read more.
Number of pension insurers grows 2.4% in one year. The Croatian Pension Insurance Institute had just over 1.56 million insurers on 31 January, up by 37,200 on the year (2.4%). Read more.
Serbian, Bulgarian PMs discuss regional energy market, infrastructure projects. Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić and her Bulgarian counterpart Kiril Petkov talked in Belgrade on Tuesday about establishing a joint energy market, which they said would make the economies of both countries more competitive. Read more.
S&P affirms BiH’s B credit rating, worried about RS policy. Standard & Poor’s has affirmed Bosnia and Herzegovina’s B credit rating with a positive outlook, but with the warning that this unfavourable credit status could be jeopardised by the rising political tensions in the country. The B rating means that a country’s credit situation is speculative with high credit risk, and it is just one step above the worst rating of C. Read more.
Minimum wage in North Macedonia up by 18.5%. The minimum wage from April for 80,000 citizens will be 18,000 denars or €293 . This is a result of the agreement reached by the government with the unions and the employers, it was reported on the government website. Read more.
Montenegro’s new Assembly Speaker to soon be elected. The new majority in the Assembly is planning to elect the Speaker by the end of the week so that a procedure for naming the Prime Minister-designate who would form the new cabinet can go on. Read more.
PRISTINA | BERLIN
Germany sounds alarm over renovation of Nazi collaborator house. Germany’s ambassador has raised concerns to Kosovo over the UNDP-funded renovation of the house of Kosovo-Albanian politician and Nazi collaborationist Xhafer Deva. Read more.
Court retires to deliberate historic presidential impeachment. Albania’s Constitutional Court has closed the hearing on the impeachment of President Ilir Meta following accusations from the Socialist Party majority that he committed serious violations of the constitution. Read more.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]