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In today’s news from the capitals:
PARIS | BUDAPEST
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has obtained a loan of 10.6 million euros from a Hungarian bank to finance her presidential election campaign, according to RTL radio on Wednesday. It comes after the National Rally presidential candidate said she was struggling to get bank loans at home. Read more.
Germany signals a change of direction on the mission in Mali. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has expressed doubts about Germany’s military involvement in Mali, even though the federal government had recently ruled out a troop withdrawal. Read more.
Germany bans broadcasting of RT’s German language service. Authorities on Wednesday banned Russia Today’s German-language TV show because it lacked the necessary media license. Read the full story.
Austria and Luxembourg will bring the green label for nuclear and gas to EU courts. EU sustainable financing rules presented on Wednesday will give a “green” label to gas and nuclear power, prompting Austria and Luxembourg to announce legal action. Read more.
UNITED KINGDOM AND IRELAND
Northern Ireland minister suspends border controls on agrifood. Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has ordered his officials to suspend Irish Sea border controls from midnight Wednesday, a move that could open the latest legal dispute over the setting implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Read more.
Britain’s amnesty for The Troubles-related prosecutions would undermine the rule of law, the Taoiseach has said. the The British government’s plans for an amnesty for prosecutions linked to the Troubles would undermine the rule of law and bring further distress to the families of the victims, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said on Wednesday. Read more.
NORDIC AND BALTIC
Finland in talks with Ukraine on the supply of defensive weapons. Discussions are underway on the possibility of Finland supporting Ukraine’s defense capability, Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen of the Center party revealed. Read more.
The Danish Ministry of Justice “forgot” to send the former minister’s file to the prison services. The Supreme Court case against former immigration minister Inger Støjberg lay in the dust for several weeks at the Ministry of Justice before being handed over to the prison service, which is supposed to take over. Read more.
Italy’s inflation rate reaches 4.8%, the highest in 26 years. Italy’s inflation rate hit a 26-year high of 4.8%, mainly due to rising energy prices, according to preliminary estimates for January 2022 published by the Italian National Institute. statistics (ISTAT). Read more.
Study excludes lithium mining in two regions of northern Portugal, accepts six. A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) conducted in eight geographical areas in northern Portugal with potential for lithium extraction ruled out two – Arga and Segura – while giving the green light to six others, we learned on Wednesday. Read more.
Labor reform law to be pursued. Jhe Spanish government has announced that it has enough votes to carry out labor law reform in a vote on Thursday.
To the deputies of the parties that support the government, the PSOE (with 120 deputies) and Unidas Podemos (with 34), will be joined by nine from Ciudadanos, four from PDeCat, two from Más País, two from UPN, one from Compromís and those of Teruel Existe, Coalición Canaria, Nueva Canarias and the Regionalist Party of Cantabria, all of which also have only one deputy in Congress each.
In total, the yes votes total 176, ie the absolute majority of the Lower House. Estimates of votes from the “no” camps total 173, securing a victory for the government. (Eldiario.es with EURACTIV.com)
Slovak municipalities are forced to adopt the one-China policy, experts say. China promotes its own interests through ties with municipalities and local governments in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Read more.
More US troops will be sent to Poland. The United States will send 1,700 additional troops to Poland, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby announced, a decision that Warsaw welcomes. Read more.
Prague welcomes EU Green Label for gas and nuclear. The Czech government has welcomed the European Commission’s decision to include gas and nuclear in the EU’s sustainable taxonomy. Prague had been fighting for months for the green label to be applied to gas and nuclear and considers this decision a victory for Czech diplomacy. Read more.
The Hungarian ministry cannot ban the press in hospitals, according to the court. Ministry of Human Resources illegally kept media out of hospitals during pandemic, Budapest district court finds ruled Wednesday. Read more.
The Bulgarian parliament takes a first step to abolish the system of “golden passports”. The Legal Committee of the Bulgarian Parliament adopted in first reading the bill of the Ministry of Justice which abolishes the sale of Bulgarian investment citizenship or so-called “golden passports”. The program has received several warnings from the European Commission and the European Parliament and is believed to be the reason why Bulgarians cannot travel visa-free to the United States. Read more.
Romania has always been committed to getting F-35s, but after 2030. After buying second-hand fighter planes in Portugal and Norway, Romania will continue its plans to modernize its air force, but next-generation fighters won’t enter service until after 2030. Learn more.
Different opinions on the attack on the Croatian government headquarters. Members of the Croatian Parliament’s Internal Affairs and National Security Committee could not agree on whether Danijel Bezuk’s attack on government offices in Zagreb in October 2020 was the act of an individual or whether certain social and political groups were behind it. Read more.
Slovenian parliament passes controversial law on Swiss franc loans. The National Assembly has passed a law requiring banks to share some of the burden of the rising cost of Swiss franc-denominated loans, a move the banks say is illegal and which would soon be tested in the Constitutional Court. Read more.
The Serbian opposition candidate promises an organized and forward-looking country. After the April elections, Serbia will be a united and organized country looking to the future, said Zdravko Pono, presidential candidate of the United Serbia opposition coalition, on Wednesday. Read more.
The Montenegrin parliament will vote on the dismissal of the deputy prime minister. The assembly will vote for the dismissal of Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazović on the proposal of Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić. Read more.
PRISTINE | BELGRADE
EU and US urge Kosovo to accept Serbian municipalities. Kosovo was urged to find a way to establish the Association of Serbian Municipalities (ASM) in Kosovo, without undermining state sovereignty. Pristina previously refused, saying it would create a state within a state, like in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which failed. Read more.
Albania is not ready to reduce COVID-19 restrictions as vaccination remains low. It is too early to declare victory over the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Minister Ogerta Manastirliu said, noting that the vaccination rate for two doses has reached 56%. Read more.
- EU/France: EU interior and justice ministers meet in Lille, France / EU transport ministers and stakeholders meet to discuss aviation / European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks at the ‘Masters of Digital 2022’ event.
- Germany: Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis meets Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck and Finance Minister Christian Lindner in Berlin.
- Luxemburg: An adviser to the CJEU will issue a non-binding opinion in the challenge of the Czech Republic against Poland over the Turow mine.
- Netherlands: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Brussels to meet European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel.
- Switzerland: Covid rules on quarantine for contact cases, lifting of compulsory homework.
- Finland: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen meets Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin and President Sauli Niinistö in Helsinki.
- Latvia: Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand visits the NATO battlegroup base at Adazi.
- Italy: President Sergio Mattarella is sworn in for a second term.
- Romania: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian meets President Klaus Iohannis in Bucharest.
- Serbia: US Deputy Undersecretary of State Gabriel Escobar and EU Special Envoy for Belgrade-Priština Dialogue Miroslav Lajčak continue their visit to Belgrade / Meeting between President Aleksandar Vučić and Party Rapporteur German Social Democrat for the Western Balkans in the Bundestag, Adis Ahmetović.
- North Macedonia: Prime Minister Dimitar Kovačevski during his first visit to the EU and NATO.
- Russian Navy conducts live-fire exercises in the North Atlantic
[Edited by Alexandra Brzozowski, Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]