Salvini’s Lega eyes EPP, wants distance from Le Pen
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In today’s news from the Capitals:
Matteo Salvini’s League party, which currently belongs to the far-right Identity and Democracy group (ID) in the EU House together with Marine Le Pen, is keen to move closer to the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), Italian press reports. Read more.
EU SPECIAL REPORT
Long waiting lists challenge Italy’s progress in myeloma treatment. Despite progress in innovative drugs and treatments related to multiple myeloma in Italy, patients warn that long waiting lists in public health facilities still pose severe obstacles. Read more.
Renew seeks way out of French-German spat over EU debt rules. The European Parliament’s Renew group is set to agree a common position on EU debt rules. But negotiations are proving tricky, with French and German delegations at odds on how flexible the rules should be. Read more.
NGOs warn that EU’s foreign agents law could ‘silence critical voices’. Civil society groups have urged the European Commission not to table new rules that would require NGOs to disclose if their funding comes from outside the EU in a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday (3 May). Read more.
German coalition mulls subsidising electricity for energy-intensive industries. Germany’s three-party coalition is debating whether electricity prices for energy-intensive industries should be subsidised to prevent companies from moving production abroad. Read more.
French health minister wants ban on single-use e-cigarettes. Puffs, disposable electronic cigarettes that are very popular with youth, should be banned, French Health Minister François Braun told radio broadcaster France Inter Wednesday, adding they are a gateway to smoking for many. Read more.
Survey: Most of Austrians oppose NATO accession. A clear majority of Austrians are in favour of more intensive EU security policy but reject NATO accession, according to a recent survey by the Austrian Society for European Policy (ÖGfE). Read more.
Netherlands eyes lead in deepening EU security within NATO. The EU is lagging in security and defence cooperation but the Netherlands wants to lead in pushing for a more proactive and self-reliant approach to these matters, Dutch Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren (D66/Renew Europe) said in a speech in Maastricht on Wednesday. Read more.
UK & IRELAND
Australia, UK visit port that will house future nuclear submarines. The shipyard where future AUKUS nuclear submarines will be built for the Royal Navy was visited by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace on Wednesday. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Vilnius slams Minsk court’s sentence for blogger taken from plane. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has condemned a Minsk court decision sentencing Belarusian blogger and activist Raman Pratasevich to eight years in prison. Read more.
Ukraine’s place is ‘in NATO’, says future Finnish PM. Ukraine’s place is in NATO and also in the EU, elected Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo told the press after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s surprise visit to Helsinki on Wednesday. Read more.
Greek government calls Reporters Without Borders ‘unreliable’. Greece’s conservative government (EPP) lashed again against Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Wednesday, branding them “unreliable” after the publication of a report ranking Greece the worst EU country when it comes to media freedom for a second consecutive year. Read more.
Poll: Divisions in left pave way for Spanish right victory. Bitter disputes and internal division within the left camp in Spain could boost the chances of victory for centre-right Partido Popular (PP/EPP) and the far-right party VOX in the mid-December general election, according to results of a fresh poll published on Wednesday. Read more.
Russia threatens to sever diplomatic ties with Poland over embassy school seizure. Last week’s seizure of a Russian high school building in the Polish capital last week caused tension as the Russian Ambassador to Poland did not rule out severing diplomatic relations with Warsaw. Read more.
Czech budget consolidation package to be presented soon. The government is expected to present a consolidation package in mid-May, which will focus on tax increases and savings on the state side amid the country’s high budget deficit. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Bulgaria to lift ban on Ukrainian imports. The national ban Bulgaria imposed on certain goods coming from Ukraine will be lifted once the EU’s market stabilisation measures agreed to at the end of April come into force, the cabinet’s press service announced Wednesday. Read more.
Slovenian pensioners stage fourth rally demanding fresh elections. The pressure on the government is not letting up as pensioners staged the fourth monthly rally in Ljubljana on Wednesday, demanding higher pensions and the government’s resignation. Read more.
Three days of mourning in Serbia following school shooting. The Serbian government has announced three days of official mourning following a shooting at a Belgrade school by a 14-year-old boy, which left nine dead and seven injured. Read more.
EU slams Kosovo’s dismissal of Serbian association of municipalities team. The dismissal of the Management Team for the Association of Municipalities with a Serb Majority by Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, just one day after the latest high-level EU-backed meeting with Serbia in Brussels, sparked criticism from the EU. Read more.
Albania grapples with gender equality at home, work, politics. Albanian women spend 25 years of their life raising children and carrying out unpaid work such as caring for family members and carrying out domestic chores, according to new data from the World Bank. Read more.
- EU: Foreign Affairs Council in its development configuration convenes to discuss the reform of multilateral development banks, current situation in Ukraine, Sudan, and more;
- Informal meeting of health ministers convenes to discuss crisis preparedness and safe access to medicinal products, ensuring access to innovative and established medicines, and more;
- Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis participates in the Brussels Economic Forum 2023 – Economic and Financial Affairs;
- Vice President Frans Timmermans receives Ambassador Faruk Kaymakci of Turkey;
- Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič participates in “Forum on Ukraine: Building resilience for the future”;
- Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski delivers opening speech on “The Future of European Agriculture: Sustainability, Sufficiency, Security”, at State of the Union conference organised by the European University Institute, in Italy;
- ECB holds press conference on eurozone monetary policy decision;
- United Kingdom: Local Elections take place;
- Ukraine: Parliamentary human rights officer on war crimes Dmytro Loubinets holds press conference;
- Ethiopia: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on official visit;
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson, Sofia Mandilara]