Greece launches experiment on Europe’s ‘green island’ – EURACTIV.com

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The Capitals brings you the latest news from across Europe, with on-the-ground coverage by EURACTIV’s media network. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

Before you start reading today’s edition of the Capitals, be sure to check out the article “Before the NATO summit, the allies remain divided on common funding ”.


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A message from the EBAA: European Business Aviation takes note of a study on aviation emissions and highlights missed opportunities: environmental action and economic growth are not mutually exclusive; Business aviation has made sustainability a top priority, while simultaneously responding to a clear demand to connect citizens, businesses and communities. Read more here.


In today’s news from capitals:

ATHENS

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to announce on Wednesday 2 June the details of a project to transform the island of Astypalaia, in the south-eastern Aegean Sea, into a “green island” of Europe.

The objective is to operate all of Astypalée’s daily activities using renewable energies, from electricity to transport. Read more.

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BERLIN

Germany rejects military aid to Ukraine and prefers a political solution. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Tuesday rejected an arms request from Ukraine, which has been fighting Russian-backed separatist rebels in the east of the country since 2014. Read more.

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BRUSSELS

Inexpensive tests for the unvaccinated, not for vaccine refusals. Anyone who has not yet had the chance to get the vaccine should be able to get tested for free or at a lower cost if they need a certificate to travel, Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said on Tuesday. Read more.

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PARIS

French healthcare professionals will receive a “well-deserved” salary increase. In total, 1.5 million French caregivers will benefit from an “unprecedented and well-deserved” salary increase of 183 euros per month as part of the “Ségur de la santé”, a major national consultation, the government announced on Tuesday. French. Read more.

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VIENNA

Hofer leaves the head of the Austrian populist party FPÖ. Former Infrastructure Minister Norbert Hofer has resigned as leader of the far-right FPÖ party amid growing tensions with his party colleague and former Home Secretary Herbert Kickl, who recently announced his intention to lead the party in the next elections. Read more.

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LUXEMBOURG

The new EU tax chief had previously urged the bloc to abandon Luxembourg. French professor Gabriel Zucan, head of the new European tax observatory, has previously argued that the EU should consider excluding Luxembourg from the bloc because of its lax tax policies. Read more.


UNITED KINGDOM AND IRELAND

LONDON

The UK has not recorded any COVID-related deaths for the first time in 10 months. The UK has not recorded any COVID-19-related deaths for the first time in 10 months, but question marks remain as to whether ministers will delay lifting the remaining restrictions. Read more.


NORDIC AND BALTIC

HELSINKI

Finnish PM is under investigation for monthly breakfast allowance. Dominating the political debate and making the headlines for over a week in Finland, Prime Minister Sanna Marin and his family’s breakfast allowance were reportedly worth € 850 per month, which has led the police and tax authorities to initiate investigations. Read more.


SOUTHERN EUROPE

ROME

Italy is not happy with EU directives on banning single-use plastics. The European Commission guidelines on single-use plastics published on Monday, which include an obligation – not provided for in the 2019 European directive banning single-use plastic packaging from July 3 – to reduce the consumption of plates, of glasses and paper packaging covered with a plastic film, aroused strong reactions from the Italian industry, which is heavily invested in the production of these products. Read more.

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MADRID

The Spanish tourism sector suffered a severe blow in the first quarter. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to severely affect the Spanish tourism sector, which in the first quarter of the year saw an 82% drop in the number of international tourists it welcomed compared to the same period of 2020 , from 10.6 million to just 1.8 million. EURACTIV partner EFE reported. Read the full story.


VISEGRAD

BUDAPEST

Hong Kong free: the district of Budapest renames streets in protest against the Chinese university. Dalai Lama Street and Uyghur Martyrs Road – these are just a few of the new names the Hungarian capital municipality has given to the streets surrounding the area where the government plans to build a university campus Chinese Fudan. Read more.

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WARSAW

Polish President Duda signed a law to strengthen youth councils. On the occasion of International Children’s Day, Polish President Andrzej Duda signed a law aimed at strengthening the role of youth councils at local government level to meet the needs of young people. Read more.

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PRAGUE

Czech government faces vote of no confidence. The Czech government of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO, Renew) will face a vote of no confidence on Thursday over its alleged mismanagement of the pandemic and alleged misuse of EU funds. Read more.

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BRATISLAVA

Slovaks can now register for the Sputnik V vaccine. Slovakia officially opened registration for the Russian vaccine Sputnik V on Tuesday, the registration website allowing people to tick a box to confirm their interest in receiving the Russian vaccine. Read more.


NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

SOFIA

Bulgaria launches inspection of Russian oil giant Lukoil. On Wednesday, border police, tax inspectors and customs officials will begin an inspection of the oil port of Russian oil giant Lukoil located near the Bulgarian Black Sea town of Burgas. Read more.

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BUCHAREST

Romania will start vaccinating children against COVID-19. Parents can schedule immunizations for their children aged 12 and over as of Wednesday. Children will receive the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine, which was approved for use by 12-15 year olds last week by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). (Bogdan Neagu | EURACTIV.ro)

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ZAGREB

Healthcare costs are the main reason Croatia is revising the 2021 budget. “The main reason for this year’s budget review are the costs of the healthcare system as well as the overall costs in the context of the COVID-19 crisis which is also affecting other sectors. Our goal is to have a budget deficit of 3.8%. All of this was projected under the current circumstances, ”Prime Minister Andrej Plenković told reporters after a government meeting. Read more.

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LJUBLJANA

The Slovenian parliament paves the way for the arrival of carpooling platforms. Slovenia’s parliament on Tuesday adopted legislative amendments that will allow carpooling platforms such as Uber or Lyft to operate in the country. Read more.

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BELGRADE

Serbian Parliament Speaker Dacic meets Lavrov in Moscow. Serbian Parliament Speaker Ivica Dačić met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow to discuss the Belgrade-Priština dialogue, the situation in the region and world politics. Read more.

In other news, no less than 17 military exercises took place in the Balkans and in the neighborhood of Serbia from May to June involving 46,000 members representing the United States armed forces, NATO countries and countries in the region, the most consecutive military activity since the deployment of international forces to Kosovo in 1999. Read more.

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SARAJEVO

US Ambassador to Dodik: We support High Representative Schmidt. The United States supports the appointment of German envoy Christian Schmidt as the new high representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said US Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Eric Nelson who discussed the appointment with the President of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik (Serbian member) who openly pleaded for the closure of the Office of the High Representative (OHR). Read more.

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PRISTINA

Kurti says there will be no mono-ethnic communities in Kosovo. There will be no “mono-ethnic” community of municipalities in Kosovo, Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti said on Tuesday. Read more.


Agenda:

  • Germany: Likely adoption of healthcare reform
  • France: President Emmanuel Macron will participate in a COVID-19 defense council on Wednesday.
  • Italy celebrates the 75th anniversary of the birth of the Italian Republic.
  • Spain: Millions of students across the country will start taking their college entrance exams amid extraordinary COVID-19 measures.
  • Poland: Health Minister Adam Niedzielski will hold a press conference on Wednesday to outline his plans to ease restrictions in June.
  • Slovak Interior Minister Roman Mikulec will meet with his Slovenian his counterpart, AleÅ¡ Hojs, to discuss the forthcoming Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU.
  • Romania: Prime Minister Florin Citu will present the national recovery plan at a press conference.
  • Slovenia will receive a donation of vaccines from Hungary. Prime Minister Janez JanÅ¡a and Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto will be present for the occasion.
  • Serbia: EU Special Envoy for Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Lajčak and US Special Envoy for Western Balkans Matthew Palmer are due to visit Serbia.

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[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Josie Le Blond]



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