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Europeans close shop as economic downturn looms – EURACTIV.com

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In today’s news from the Capitals:


Despite two years of substantial COVID-related state support, the rising cost of energy and debt servicing, alongside general inflationary pressures, are putting small to medium businesses’ recovery at risk. Read more.

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EU INSTITUTIONS

Bring the bills down: North-south divide splits EU Socialists, again. A call from S&D leader Iratxe Garcia Pérez to reduce the bills for European households through several measures, including joint debt issuance, has been rejected by Scandinavian socialist partners, EURACTIV.com has learnt. Read more.

LEAK: Victory for car industry as EU waters down vehicle pollution rules. A draft law to curtail pollution from cars and vans has drawn a storm of criticism from environmental campaigners, who have accused the European Commission of watering down the proposal to please the automotive industry. Read more.

Data Act: Czech Presidency seeks compromise on scope, data-sharing, public access. The Czech Presidency of the EU Council circulated a new compromise on the first five chapters of the new data law. Read more.

Council adopts ‘central pillars’ of EU health union. The European Council adopted on Monday (24 October) three final regulations that complete the European Health Union. The regulations, praised as “the central pillars of the health union”, will enter into force in November. Read more.

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VIENNA

Austrian president meets executive leaders as graft cases shake government. Austria’s President Alexander Van der Bellen asked to speak one on one with government leadership amid the constant stream of revelations surrounding corruption by past conservative ÖVP party leading politicians, including ex-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Read more.

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BERLIN

Scholz opens German-Ukrainian economic forum to boost ‘future EU member’. Helping Ukraine rebuild after the war should be seen as investing in a future EU member, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday during the German-Ukrainian Economic Forum in Berlin with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal. Read more.

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BRUSSELS

Belgian energy minister supports withdraw from Energy Charter Treaty. Climate, Environment, Sustainable Development, and Green Deal Minister Zakia Khattabi reiterated her support for Belgium’s withdrawal from the Energy Charter Treaty during the Environmental Council meeting on Monday. Read more.

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THE HAGUE

Joint purchasing ‘extremely important’, says Dutch energy minister. Jointly purchasing fossil gas is extremely important to help tackle the ongoing energy crisis, which is expected to last into at least 2023, Dutch minister Rob Jetten said ahead of a meeting of energy ministers on Tuesday. Read more.


UK AND IRELAND

LONDON

Party the priority as Sunak becomes fifth PM since Brexit vote. Domestic troubles and a bitterly divided party will dominate Rishi Sunak’s in-tray when he takes office as the UK’s fifth prime minister in six years on Tuesday. Read more.

‘Choke down’ and join new NI government, minister tells unionists. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) should “choke down” and agree to form a new devolved government in Northern Ireland to avoid a new election “which would waste time and money”, the UK’s Northern Ireland minister has said. Read more.

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DUBLIN 

Ireland, UK to launch joint €74 million initiative on climate research. Dublin and London will join forces to fund a programme supporting researchers working on climate change issues, both governments announced on Monday. Read more.


NORDICS AND BALTICS

HELSINKI

Majority of Finns do not want to see direct NATO operations against Russia. A mere 15% of Finnish people would like to see direct NATO military operations against Russia, a survey commissioned by Ilta-Sanomat that was published on Monday reported. Read more.


EUROPE’S SOUTH

ROME

Professor: No more ‘the fun for Europe is over’ for Meloni. Pre-election statements such as “the fun for Europe is over” will no longer ring true for Italy’s new Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who is “smart enough” to realise that so-called ‘fun’ actually benefits the country, to the tune of €230 billion to finance the Recovery Fund, Professor Gianfranco Pasquino told EURACTIV Italy. Read more.

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MADRID

EU should speed up energy transition despite coal return, says, Spanish minister. The EU should speed up its energy transition despite the fact that the shortage of Russian gas has led the bloc to burn more coal temporarily, Spanish Ecological Transition Minister Teresa Ribera stressed Monday. Read more.

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LISBON

Portuguese PM is confident in EU finance for new gas interconnection system. Prime Minister António Costa on Monday expressed confidence in the negotiations of Portugal, Spain, and France with the European Commission to finance the energy interconnection system, arguing that it is a project of common European interest. Read more.

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VALLETTA

Malta unveils deficit-busting, energy-focussed budget. Malta’s budget for 2023 was unveiled on Monday with a significant focus on the energy crisis and protecting the vulnerable amid increased prices and global economic uncertainty. Read more.


VISEGRAD 

WARSAW

Poland to tighten Ukrainian refugee residency laws. The government proposed an amendment to a special act on assistance for Ukrainian citizens, tightening the rules and making them cover some of their own costs, local media reported. Read more.

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PRAGUE

Czech scientists struggle with energy costs, ask government for help. The scientific research department at Masaryk University has spoken out about rising energy costs and the impact it has on work while asking the government for assistance.  Read more.

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BRATISLAVA

Slovak government to cap energy prices for businesses. Prime Minister Eduard Heger announced that the government will cap energy prices for companies and businesses from 2023. Read more.

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BUDAPEST

Orbán eyes strengthening Hungarian-British relations as Rishi Sunak rises to power. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has sent a letter congratulating Rishi Sunak, the new prime minister of the United Kingdom, emphasising the need to increase the intensity of the already close cooperation between the two countries as like-minded allies and partners. Read more.


NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

ZAGREB

Croat president snubs international Ukraine summit in Zagreb. Croatian President Zoran Milanović stayed away from an international summit devoted to Ukraine in Zagreb on Monday and declined a meeting with visiting US Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying his agenda was full. Read more.

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BUCHAREST

Romanian defence minister resigns after spat with president. Defence Minister Vasile Dincu resigned from his position, claiming he cannot collaborate with President Klaus Iohannis, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces according to the Romanian Constitution. Read more.

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PRISTINA

December deadline for European Council’s vote on Kosovo visa. Between the middle of November and the first week of December, there will be a vote in the European Council on the country’s visa liberalisation process, rapporteur for Kosovo in the European Parliament, Viola von Cramon, stated on Monday. Read more.

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TIRANA

Albanian MPs propose lowering fines, raising speed limit despite high vehicle fatalities. Three opposition MPs have requested changes to the Albanian Highway Code, including lowering fines and increasing speed limits, despite the country’s struggle with road-based fatalities. Read more.

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AGENDA

  • EU: Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council convenes to seek a general approach on the proposal for a directive on the energy performance of buildings; EU energy ministers to debate on the gas package, which includes proposals for a directive and a regulation on common internal market rules for renewable and natural gases and hydrogen; European Commission to present ‘Enhancing solidarity through better coordination of gas purchases, exchanges of gas across borders and reliable price benchmarks’ proposal;
  • The European Union Military Committee (EUMC) convenes for the second day at the level of EU Chiefs of Defence (CHODs) to discuss current developments and steps forward for the Strategic Compass implementation, including the EU Rapid Deployment Capacity, and the Capability Development domain; The Chairman of the NATO Military Committee and the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) expected to join during a session dedicated to Military Mobility; Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) Missions and Operations, an update on the EU Military Assistance Mission Ukraine, and possible new activities also on the meeting’s agenda;
  • Prague Process Ministerial Conference on Migration expected to approve a political declaration and an action plan that will shape the framework for cooperation for 2023-2027; The Prague Process brings together nearly 50 countries, representing geographically a rough quarter of the planet, to discuss prevention and combating irregular migration, readmission, voluntary return and reintegration, or legal migration with emphasis on labour migration;
  • The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe holds its 43rd Session focusing on the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine, the observation of the latest local by-elections in Serbia and Albania, hate speech and fake news, women and children refugees, among other key topics;
  • European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, together with Mr Olaf Scholz, Federal Chancellor of Germany, co-hosts the International Expert Conference on the Recovery, Reconstruction and Modernisation of Ukraine; Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi expected to participate;
  • Commission Vice-President Dubravka Suica delivers a speech for the1st EastMed & SouthEast Europe conference on the topic: “The State of Democracy and Institution Building in SouthEast Europe”; Participates in the German Federal Parliament Working Group: “Europa” of the CDU-CSU to discuss the follow-up of the Conference on the Future of Europe;
  • Vice-President of the European Commission addresses the EU DisinfoLab Annual Conference; Speaks at POLITICO’s Spotlight event “Plugging holes in the internet: government and industry responses to spyware”;
  • Vice-President Frans Timmermans delivers a speech at the 2022 European Hydrogen Week; Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean delivers a keynote address in the Hydrogen European Week, Session 6: Transforming the mobility sector with hydrogen, as well;
  • Vice-President Margaritis Schinas delivers opening remarks at the East Med & Southeast Europe conference;
  • Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi holds a series of meetings with Odile Renaud-Basso, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of International Monetary Fund, Werner Hoyer, President and Teresa Czerwinska Vice-President of the European Investment Bank;
  • Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis participates in the EU-Japan High Level Economic Dialogue;
  • European Parliament President Roberta Metsola visits Spain; Delivers keynote speech at the Global Youth Leadership Forum – “Sustainability: Reshaping the World”;
  • Employment and Social Affairs European Parliament Committee to hold a public hearing on ‘Uber files, lobbying and workers’ rights’ which aims at offering an overview on the situation of Uber drivers in Europe and at showing to what extent, through Uber’s lobbying activities, their workers’ rights have been affected across Europe; Whistleblower Mark MacGann is invited and the session is expected to be livestreamed; Jobs and Social Rights Commissioner Nicolas Schmit expected to participate;
  • European Parliament holds “Food Crisis Conference”; Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski expected to participate;
  • European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) debates access to quality food for all; occupational safety and health in agriculture, among other topics; Votes on a long-term vision for the EU’s Rural Areas;
  • Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) together with AGRI hold hearing on the impact of the war on EU agriculture and food security;
  • Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) debates the Gender Equality Index, equal pay, pay transparency and enforcement mechanisms, among other topics;
  • Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) jointly with FEMM debate European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) presentation on Care Strategy;
  • Foreign Affairs European Parliament Committee (AFET) debates EU-Azerbaijan relations, EU-Armenia relations and holds hearing on Afghanistan: regional impact after Taliban takeover;
  • Committee on International Trade (INTA) debates annual report on Implementation and Enforcement of EU Trade Agreements; Holds hearing on trade aspects of the prospective EU instrument to tackle forced labour;
  • Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT) debates 2021 and 2020 discharge, including EU general budget;
  • Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) debates 2022 Legal migration package: “Attracting skills and talent to the EU”, 2022 Rule of Law Report, among other topics; Votes on amending regulation on digital information exchange in terrorism cases;
  • Committee on Petitions (PETI) holds public hearing on the “Challenges for mental health of new generation across EU”; Votes on adoption of a resolution on improving EU regulation on wild and exotic animals to be kept as pets in the European Union;
  • Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) is presented with the scientific opinion of the European Food Safety Authority on the transmission of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and zoonotic agents during animal transport; Votes on amending directives on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, energy performance of buildings and energy efficiency; Adopts draft opinion on protection of the environment through criminal law;
  • The European Platform for Roma Inclusion (EPRI) holds its 15th meeting bringing together national governments, the EU, international organisations and Roma civil society to stimulate cooperation and exchange of experience on successful Roma inclusion policies;
  • Germany: President Frank-Walter Steinmeier meets Ukraine’s PM Denys Shmyhal
  • Italy: New PM Giorgia Meloni addresses parliament ahead of confidence vote;
  • Spain: Parliament debates 2023 budget;
  • Romania: The Supreme Defence Council discusses security challenges and energy crisis response in the context of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine;
  • Egypt: 24th Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) Ministerial Meeting to take place;
  • NATO: Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visits US aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, during NATO Exercise Neptune Strike 2022 off coast of Italy;
  • United Nations: UN Security Council meets on Syria;

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[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Vlad Makszimov, Daniel Eck, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson, Sofia Mandilara]

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