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In today’s Capitals news:
Italy will ban synthetic foods, Italian Agriculture Minister Francesco Lollobrigida said at an event organized by the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and attended by EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz. Wojciechowski this weekend, making it the first country in the world to do so. Learn more.
In kyiv, von der Leyen hails Ukraine’s “excellent progress” ahead of EU enlargement progress report. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrived on Saturday for an unannounced visit to Kiev, just days before the EU executive publishes its reports on enlargement progress and is likely to recommend opening negotiations accession with Ukraine. Learn more.
Focus on Von der Leyen’s reassurance mission in Ukraine. When European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stepped onto the platform of Kiev-Pasazhyrskyi station on Saturday, the 619th day of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the timing of her sixth visit to the torn country by war was itself the message. Learn more.
“Heterogeneous” European liberals in disunity on key issues. Five years after French President Emmanuel Macron’s party took over the leadership of the Liberals in the European Parliament, renaming them Renew Europe, the group remains far from a coherent policy platform, with divisions on key issues threatening its influence. Learn more.
Germany’s ruling SPD is open to considering asylum applications in Africa. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s ruling Social Democrats (SPD) signaled on Sunday their willingness to outsource asylum applications to Africa, as proposed by their liberal coalition partner the FDP, ahead of a key meeting of Monday when they will be pressed to adopt new measures to combat irregularities. migration. Learn more.
France is divided on the extension of the rights of irregular workers before the debate in the Senate. French conservatives and the far right are fiercely opposed to the government’s immigration bill, which proposes to create an automatic work permit for irregular migrants working in sectors with labor shortages and which must be debated in the Senate from Monday. Learn more.
The Austrian center-right finds itself at the throat of the center-left while the far right is leading the polls. Austria’s center-right ÖVP party wants to unseat the social-democratic SPÖ, with a letter released by the conservative party’s general secretary highlighting some of the social democrats’ recent scandals in the run-up to next year’s elections, in which the two traditionally strong parties are lagging behind the other parties. -the right-wing FPÖ, which, according to the latest polls, occupies first place with around 30%. Learn more.
Dutch prime minister hopeful Timmermans has been criticized for his role in the EU-Tunisia deal. Liberal MP Jan Paternotte (D66/Renew) targeted former EU climate chief and Dutch prime minister candidate Frans Timmermans during an election debate on Sunday, criticizing him for his role in the agreement on migrants between the EU and Tunisia. Learn more.
NORDIC AND BALTIC
Sweden is expanding the use of sprays that reverse opioid overdoses. The Swedish government says it will move quickly to make naloxone, a spray that quickly reverses an opioid overdose, widely available outside the health system to save more lives. Learn more.
They renewed Sanchez’s mandate to likely begin with an unresolved dispute between Podemos and Sumar. Spain’s future coalition government of the Socialist Party (PSOE/S&D) and left-wing Sumar Platform will have to resolve a serious internal conflict after Unidas Podemos leader Ione Belarra criticized the progressive group’s leader and Labor Minister interim, Yolanda Díaz. , this weekend, asking him not to “disrespect” Podemos within the new executive. Learn more.
Meloni’s constitutional reform has been criticized for falling far short of European standards. The constitutional reform proposed last Friday by the right-wing government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, which provides for the direct election of the prime minister, has been the subject of strong criticism, with some calling it botched and others saying that it is well below previous proposals and European standards. . Learn more.
EU member state funds squandered as Malta continues bird hunting. EU Member States’ funds dedicated to bird conservation are being wasted due to the continued practice of hunting in Malta, while changes in laws aimed at appeasing the hunting lobby to retain their votes and slow EU infringement procedures make the situation worse. Learn more.
Slovak nationalists demand Fico’s support for the EUCO. Slovakia’s support for the European Council conclusions, which included military aid to Ukraine, was met with disapproval from Slovak National Party leader Andrej Danko, who criticized Prime Minister Robert Fico for his earlier comments on the rejection of military aid. Learn more.
Police are investigating the shooting of a migrant on the Polish-Belarusian border. Military police are investigating the shooting of an irregular migrant on the Belarusian border, which was first reported on social media by human rights groups before being confirmed by the local prosecutor’s office. Learn more.
The EU must address neglected relations with Africa, says Fiala. Europe is aware that it has underestimated cooperation with Africa, a situation it is working to change, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said before his trip to the continent on Friday, where he plans to focus on economic and political issues. Learn more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Tense clash between pro-European and pro-Russian candidates for Sofia town hall. The Sofia mayoral election – expected to be key to the stability of Bulgaria’s pro-EU government – turned into a tense clash on Sunday between pro-EU candidate Vasil Terziev and pro-Russian candidate Vanya Grigorova. Learn more.
The USR president calls for the withdrawal of his party’s main candidate from the 2024 European elections. The president of the Save Romania Union (USR), Cătălin Drulă, called on Sunday to withdraw from Elena Lasconi, named head of the party’s list for the 2024 European elections, following the controversy sparked by her statements regarding the vote in the 2018 referendum on family issues. Learn more.
Watchdog opens an investigation into the alleged unjustified pressure exerted by Golob on the ex-minister. An investigation into allegations that Prime Minister Robert Golob placed undue pressure on former Interior Minister Tatjana Bobnar over police numbers, which ultimately led to her resignation last December, has been opened by the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, the watchdog announced on December 14. Friday. Learn more.
The former head of the state security service was not a Russian agent, Vučić says. The former head of the Serbian Security and Information Agency (BIA), Aleksandar Vulin, was not a Russian agent and always worked for Serbia, President Aleksandar Vučić said after Vulin’s resignation on Friday. Learn more.
Pro-Palestinian rally stopped by police in Tirana. Hundreds of protesters rallying against Israel’s war in Gaza and in support of Palestine were prevented from continuing in Tirana on Sunday after a police barricade stopped them in their tracks. Learn more.
- EU: Informal meeting of European ministers responsible for space to discuss measures to improve the technological autonomy of the EU and ensure the strengthening of space infrastructure and services;
- Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Parliament President Roberta Metsola deliver speeches at the 2023 EU Ambassadors’ Conference;
- Commission Vice-President Vĕra Jourová speaks at the international conference of the Central European Digital Media Observatory (CEDMO) on “The dilemmas of European democracy: is the Community heading towards political darkness and technological anemia? », in Prague, Czechia;
- Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič receives representatives of the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA), IFOAM -Organics Europe, FoodDrinkEurope and COPA-COGECA to discuss the transition to sustainable food systems;
- Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit takes part in the “Social Europe” conference, organized by the German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, in Berlin;
- Climate Action Commissioner Wopke Hoekstra holds meetings with Kenyan President William Ruto, Finance Minister and Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury and Economic Planning Njuguna Ndung’u, Environment Minister, of Climate Change and Forests, Soipan Tuya; Continues preparations for the COP28 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Kenya;
- France: World Forum for Democracy at the Council of Europe;
- Poland: Transport companies to block checkpoints on the Ukrainian border to protest against the liberalization of EU rules for the benefit of their Ukrainian rivals;
- Moldova: OSCE holds press conference on elections;
(Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson, Sofia Mandilara)