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In today’s news from the Capitals:
Newly elected Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni slammed Germany on Tuesday over its stance during the EU energy crisis and questioned whether this represents “Europeanism”. Read more.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The Czech government, headed by a liberal-conservative prime minister, released €7 billion to help Czech households with the rising energy bills. However, Czech citizens do not use the help the state is offering. The reason is simple: Czechs fear society will condemn them for taking the money. Read more.
Uber Files whistleblower wants ambitious EU law for the “powerless”. Uber Files whistleblower Mark MacGann took centre stage and slammed Uber’s “disproportionate” influence over EU policy-making at a European Parliament hearing on Tuesday, calling the European social agenda a “threat” to Uber that it aims to take down, he added. Read more.
MEPs, experts ask to shift burden of proof in forced labour products ban. MEPs and experts called on the EU Commission to reverse the burden of proof on companies in its proposal for a ban on products made with forced labour, stressing the inclusion of remediation for victims and avoidance of irresponsible disengagement. Read more.
Austria concerned as EU executive continues work on gas price cap. The Austrian government has voiced concerns regarding the price caps envisioned by Spain and France to tackle ever-increasing energy prices despite the country speaking in favour of intervention. Read more.
Germany’s far-right AfD before Supreme Court for public funding. Germany’s far-right populist AfD party hopes to convince the Federal Constitutional Court that, like other political parties, it should benefit from public grants for its party-affiliated foundation. Read more.
Former French health minister first in Europe to highlight COVID-19 threat. France’s former health minister Agnès Buzyn, currently under investigation over the government’s handling of the pandemic, claims she was among first in Europe to highlight the danger posed by COVID-19 at a time no one cared in her diary published by Le Monde on Tuesday. Read more.
French government escapes no-confidence motions amid budget talks. The French government has survived two no-confidence motions tabled by the left and right on Monday (24 October) following a bid to pass the budget bill without a vote, instead relying on a clause in the constitution. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Sweden’s climate ambitions under threat as centre-right takes reins, NGOs warn. Climate policies presented by Sweden’s new centre-right coalition will likely contribute to a drastic increase in greenhouse gas emissions during its mandate, equivalent to half of the country’s annual emissions, a new report published on Tuesday has found. Read more.
Portuguese government confident despite foundering Nigerian gas supplies. Nigerian gas supply issues will not significantly impact energy bills and supplies as the energy company Galp will buy gas elsewhere to meet its contractual obligations, the government promised on Tuesday. Read more.
Spain is keen to help EU countries that rely on others for energy. Spain wants to help EU countries with little few electricity generation capacities to mitigate the consequences of the energy crisis, with Ecological Transition Minister Teresa Ribera convinced that other member states would benefit from a mechanism like the Iberian exception. Read more.
Leading activist wants Poland to tighten already strict abortion laws. Leading anti-abortion activist Kaja Godek started collecting signatures so that lawmakers consider her proposal to further tighten one of the EU’s strictest abortion laws by penalising anyone publicly promoting abortion. Read more.
Czech-Polish Turów mine deal criticised by German and Czech NGOs. In a complaint filed to the Commission, Czech and German NGOs criticised the agreement between Czechia and Poland, which allows Poland to use the Turów coal mine despite its negative impact on the Czech environment. Read more.
Half of Slovaks could struggle to pay energy bills. Paying off electricity and heating bills is expected to become a serious problem for more than half of the Slovak population, of which many have already shown signs of struggle. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Pro-Russian Bulgarian party head reportedly met with Russia’s Lavrov. The leader of a pro-Russian Bulgarian party, Nikolay Malinov, currently under trial for espionage, met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on at least two occasions since the start of the Ukraine war, the most recent being on 21 October. Read more.
Slovenia “very likely” to withdraw from Energy Charter Treaty. Slovenia will follow the lead of countries such as the Netherlands, Spain and France and very likely withdraw from the Energy Charter Treaty, Infrastructure Minister Bojan Kumer announced on Tuesday. Read more.
Serbia court hears Ukraine’s extradition request for ex-intelligence chief. A local court in Serbia held a session on Tuesday to read Ukraine’s request for the extradition of its former security service chief, Andriy Naumov, detained in Serbia. Read more.
US optimistic over Kosovo-Serbia license plate agreement. The US hopes Kosovo and Serbia will reach an agreement on license plates peacefully in the coming days, adding to the hints that various crucial decisions could be expected over the coming weeks. Read more.
Draft amendments to freedom of information law spark concern in Albania. The Albanian Ministry of Justice has published a proposed draft amendment to the law on the right to information sparking fears it could result in issues for the media when seeking to obtain information crucial to its work. Read more.
European Commission presents its “Zero Pollution” plan, which includes proposals on integrated water management, revised lists of water pollutants, air quality legislation and the review of the urban wastewater treatment directive;
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen holds consecutive meetings with Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă, Chair of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and former European Parliament president Martin Schulz; Commences official visit in Skopje, North Macedonia;
Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi on a mission in Turkey until 28 October ;
Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis receives International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva;
European Parliament Committee on Regional Development (REGI) debates “Cohesion Policy and Gender Equality” presentation by Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO);
European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) holds a plenary session to discuss the EU’s vision for the energy transition to enable the bloc’s strategic autonomy, climate action, and the Commission’s work programme for 2023 with Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, among other topics; France
: President Emmanuel Macron hosts German Chancellor Olaf Scholz; Italy
: Senate debate and confidence vote in new Italian government;
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Vlad Makszimov, Daniel Eck, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson, Sofia Mandilara]