Thursday, June 20, 2024

Meloni predicts ‘different ruling majority’ in EU Parliament

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In today’s news from The Capitals:

ROME

With the far right expected to do well in the upcoming European elections, Italian Prime Minister and Fratelli d’Italia leader Giorgia Meloni said she expected the long-standing coalition between the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) and the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) to be challenged. Read more.

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PARIS

French right seemingly open to deal with hard-right in EU parliament. While European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she is willing to work with the EU’s conservative ECR group under certain conditions, the top candidate for the EU election list of France’s right-wing Les Républicains party (LR/EPP), François-Xavier Bellamy, appears to be leaving the door open to talks with the hard right. Read more.

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BERLIN

German government casts doubt on support for von der Leyen nomination. The German coalition government is not unconditionally supporting European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s bid for a second mandate, with high-ranking representatives of the ruling parties saying she would need to make concessions in return for German support. Read more.

The mystery of Europe’s new ‘left conservative’ group. The aspirations of Alliance Sahra Wagenknecht (BSW), Germany’s rising ‘left-conservative’ party, to form a new group in the European Parliament remain under wraps, as other leftists seem, so far, to keep their distance. Read more.


EUROPE’S SOUTH

MADRID

Spanish government split over ‘opaque’ billion-heavy military aid to Ukraine. Spain’s decision to send €1.1 billion in military aid to Ukraine has opened a deep rift in the country’s progressive coalition government, with far-left Sumar spokesman Ernest Urtasun criticising Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s majority PSOE party for making the decision in a non-transparent manner.  Read more.

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LISBON

After Spain visit, Zelenskky sets eyes on Brussels, Portugal. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will travel to Portugal on Tuesday to meet his Portuguese counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Prime Minister Luís Montenegro, the Portuguese presidency said on Monday, the same day the Ukrainian leader visited Spain. Read more.

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VALLETTA

Scandal-hit Malta struggles with next EU commissioner candidate. What Malta lacks in size, it has made up for in controversy ahead of the EU elections as its commissioner candidate, the former prime minister, and multiple former and current officials were charged with criminal offences, overshadowing all other aspects of the upcoming vote. Read more.


EASTERN EUROPE 

BRATISLAVA

Prominent Slovak TV host has show cancelled after warnings of ‘Orbanisation’. Michal Kovačič, one of Slovakia’s leading and most respected political moderators, stated that journalists at the largest Slovak TV station, Markíza, face pressure from both politicians and their own management, leading to the immediate suspension of his TV show.  Read more.

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WARSAW

Protests in Poland after Warsaw Mayor bans religious symbols in city hall. The recent decision by Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski to remove religious symbols from the city hall building has sparked major protests across the country, with opposition PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński accusing the EPP of “destroying religion and people’s faith”.  Read more.


NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

SOFIA

NATO states call for no red lines on Ukraine’s use of Western weapons.  Twenty-four NATO members have pledged to no longer accept restrictions on the use of Western weapons against legitimate targets on Russian territory, in a statement issued on Monday in the capital of Bulgaria, whose pro-Russian president, who opposes sending arms to Ukraine, has been absent for some days.  Read more.


AGENDA:

  • EU: Foreign Affairs Council in its Defence configuration convenes to discuss support to Ukraine, Rapid Deployment Capacity, PESCO (Permanent Strategic Cooperation) review, and more;
  • European Economic Area Council expected to address green transition impact on competitiveness, Russia’s war against
  • Ukraine, Georgia and situation in Middle East;
  • Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers opening speech at International Peace of Westphalia Prize ceremony, in Münster, Germany; President of France Emmanuel Macron is presented with the award;
  • Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič participates in conference to mark 30 years of European Economic Area, entitled “A unique partnership fit for the future”;
  • Vice President Vĕra Jourová holds meetings with TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, Warner Bros Studios COO Simon Robinson, in Los Angeles, United States;
  • Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni hosts Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine Andriy Pyshnyy;
  • Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson delivers keynote speech at Ukraine Security Forum “A tipping point for Europe’s security and democracy”;
  • Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič participates in senior officials’ meeting “Scaling up the humanitarian response to the crises affecting countries of the Sahel and Lake Chad basin regions”;

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[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Alice Taylor, Liene Lūsīte, Sofia Mandilara] 

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