Employment commissioner favours EU-wide four-day work
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In today’s news from the Capitals:
Commission should resist calls to reduce EU budget, MEP says. The EU Commission should not accept member states’ demands to reduce the EU budget but rather respond to citizens’ needs, said MEP Siegfried Mureșan, as discussions on the EU budget for 2024 and revising the Union’s long-term budget approach. Read more.
EU’s Timmermans holds ‘unprecedented’ private talks with MEPs to win support. The cabinets of Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans and Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius have been holding one-on-one meetings with EU lawmakers to get them on board with the EU executive’s pesticide-cutting and nature restoration proposals, MEPs told EURACTIV. Read more.
NATO to upgrade Ukraine’s partner status without offering swift membership. NATO members are set to offer Ukraine an upgraded relationship format, in a move meant to show political support for the war-torn country and its membership bid, although any concrete roadmap for accession still remains a more distant prospect. Read more.
Germany to restore electoral threshold for 2029 European election. A new electoral threshold for EU Parliament elections could be introduced in time for the 2029 elections if a government proposal, now in the committee phase, is adopted by lawmakers. Read more.
France needs to invest €66bn a year on climate action, government report states. France must spend €66 billion every year until 2030 in order to hit its climate targets, a new report by a government advisory body says, suggesting more debt and taxing the rich as a way to foot the bill. Read more.
Austria’s Social Democrat chief retires from politics after losing leadership race. Pamela Rendi-Wagner, the erstwhile leader of Austria’s centre-left, has announced her full retirement from politics after party members placed her third in a three-way leadership race. Read more.
Dutch lawmakers call for better protection of North Sea from espionage. Lawmakers from coalition partners VVD (Renew), CDA (EPP) and D66 (Renew) called on the Defence Ministry to take complete responsibility for the protection and surveillance of critical infrastructure in the North Sea. Read more.
UK & IRELAND
UK strengthens defence export prospects with Czechia. Defence Minister James Cartlidge discussed how the UK defence industry could further support the Czech Armed Forces through defence exports and government-to-government support during a Thursday visit to the International Defence and Securities Technologies Fair (IDET) in Brno. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Finnish debt above EU threshold as Commission gives to-do list. Finland’s public debt was over 73% of its GDP last year and has continuously exceeded the 60% limit required under EU law since 2013 – making it the only EU country above the threshold where debt has kept growing, according to an EU Commission report. Read more.
Russia expels Swedish diplomats, shuts down consulate in likely retaliatory move. Russia is expelling five Swedish diplomats and closing the Swedish consulate in St Petersburg, the Russian Foreign Minister announced Thursday in what appears to be retaliatory measures to Sweden expelling the same number of diplomats in April. Read more.
Outcome of upcoming Spanish elections still open. Polls predict different outcomes of the Spanish regional and municipal elections due on Sunday, with some predicting more wins for Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialist Party-wing party, while others found that the conservative Partido Popular (PP) would come out on top. Read more.
Greek parties lay down strategies ahead of second election round. Greece’s political parties are preparing their strategy ahead of the second election round on 25 June with post-election potential collaborations already causing tensions. Read more.
Rome and Paris attempt careful ‘rapprochement’. Italian and French foreign ministers on Thursday attempted a rapprochement between their countries following tensions over migration that almost led to a diplomatic crisis. Read more.
Moscow slams Polish General’s call to back potential mass rebellion in Belarus. Polish General Waldemar Skrzypczak’s statement calling on Poland to support a possible mass rebellion in Belarus interferes with the internal affairs of other countries, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Read more here. Read more.
New classes may solve capacity issue in Czech high schools. New classes could be set up in high schools to help education facilities with a high number of applicants, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) announced on Thursday. Read more.
Hungary ‘unfit’ to hold EU presidency, warn MEPs. Hungary’s multiple breaches of EU law make it unfit to hold the bloc’s rotating presidency in 2024, MEPs warned this week, in a resolution set to be adopted next week. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Influential Bulgarian mafia boss killed in South Africa. A notorious figure of the Bulgarian criminal underground, Krasimir Kamenov, nicknamed Karo, and his wife were killed in a bloody massacre in Cape Town, South Africa, on Thursday, sources confirmed to EURACTIV on Thursday. Read more.
According to the president, Romania cannot go ahead with PM switch amid teachers’ strike. Huge teachers’ strikes must end before the expected change in government leadership as agreed by the coalition in December, can take place, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said, meaning Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca of the Liberal Party PNL will not have to give up his seat for Social Democratic candidate just yet. Read more.
Experts say that mass shootings in Serbia were used as political tools ahead of huge rallies. Political experts have reacted to the two huge political protests being organised for the weekend, portraying the rally organised by the ruling party and that by the opposition as using the tragic mass shootings for political means. Read more.
Albania’s birthrate drops to three-decade low. Albania’s birthrate in this year’s first quarter dropped to lows not seen since the 1990s and decreased by 16.9% compared to the same period last year, according to data from INSTAT published this week. Read more.
- EU: Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers speech at the New European Bauhaus Collateral Event of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition “La Biennale di Venezia”;
- Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides delivers speech at the 19th Annual General Meeting of Europa Uomo Cyprus;
- Commission Vice Presidents Vĕra Jourová and Margrethe Vestager participate as keynote speakers in the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) annual Congress, in Stockholm, Sweden; Agenda highlights include counterbalancing Chinese resource supply, addressing the skills shortage, cybersecurity, Ukraine, Moldova, and more;
- Jobs and Social Rights Commissioner Nicolas Schmit delivers keynote speech at the Party of European Socialists (PES) social summit in Porto, Portugal; Agenda highlights include stronger social rights for citizens, and more; PES President Stefan Löfven and Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa host high-level figures from progressive governments, the European Commission, the European Parliament, trade unions, NGOs and other organisations;
- Parliament President Roberta Metsola holds meeting with Austrian Minister for European and International Affairs Alexander Schallenberg, President of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen, Chancellor of Austria Karl Nehammer, Austrian Minister of Europe and the Constitution Karoline Edtstadler in Vienna; Attends the inauguration of the Europa Experience Space;
- Estonia: Prime Minister Kaja Kallas hosts German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, and Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins;
- Russia: China’s Ukraine envoy Li Hui meets Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov;
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson, Sofia Mandilara]