Far-right Salvini and Orbán agree to create a new European ‘centre-right’ – EURACTIV.com

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Before you start reading today’s edition of Capitals, be sure to read the article Upgrading Czech gastronomy is key to attracting “demanding” tourists.

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In today’s news from the capitals:

ROME

Apparently unaware of the existence of the European centre-right (European People’s Party-EPP), former Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Lega leader Matteo Salvini found himself in “full agreement” with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán during from a meeting in Rome on Thursday, where they discussed creating a new “centre-right” to fight rising socialists across Europe. Read more.

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BERLIN | LJUBLJANA

Germany concludes an exchange agreement with Slovenia to supply heavy weapons to Ukraine. As the German government remains deadlocked over direct deliveries of heavy weapons, Berlin has turned to a swap deal with Slovenia to indirectly support Ukraine with tanks. Read more.

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PARIS

As the second round of elections approaches, the French are more divided than before. Incumbent French President Emmanuel Macron is set to be re-elected in the second round of voting on Sunday, but his far-right rival Marine Le Pen cannot be ruled out as the French seem more divided than before. Read more.

Le Pen’s U-turn on European policy is proving a tough sell. Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen insists she wants to stay in the EU and reform it ‘in depth’, despite accusations that her agenda is only a veiled “Frexit”. EURACTIV France reports.

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VIENNA

Austrian oil giant OMV halts imports of Russian oil. Austria, one of the EU countries most dependent on Russian gas, stopped importing and refining Russian crude oil from March, an OMV spokesperson confirmed. Read more.

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THE HAGUE

Dutch search for Russian assets continues, MPs want answers. National Sanctions Compliance and Enforcement Coordinator Stef Blok continues to seize Russian assets but cannot tell lawmakers exactly how much has been collected, Dutch News reports. Read more.


NORDIC AND BALTIC

HELSINKI | STOCKHOLM

Finnish, Swedish opposition leaders get what they want in Washington. Leaders of the liberal-conservative parties of Finland and Sweden made a joint trip to Washington and received the blessing of US senators on NATO membership. Read more.

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STOCKHOLM

The Swedish government opposes the acceleration of security analysis before joining NATO. The Swedish government, together with the main moderate opposition party, wants to speed up the analysis of security policy before a possible candidacy for NATO. Read more.

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COPENHAGEN

Danish Prime Minister visits Zelenskyy in Kyiv. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen visited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Thursday, where she promised the delivery of more weapons and mine clearance. Read more.

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VILNIUS

The Lithuanian parliament extends the state of emergency again. Parliament on Thursday extended the state of emergency, first introduced on February 24, for the second time until July. Read more.


SOUTHERN EUROPE

MADRID

Spain, Portugal and Germany are urging French voters to choose Macron. The leaders of the Spanish, Portuguese and German governments wrote a rare open letter on Thursday, urging French voters to re-elect Emmanuel Macron rather than his far-right opponent Marine Le Pen. Read more.

The Spanish Prime Minister promises 200 tons of military aid during his visit to Ukraine. Spain will deliver an additional 200 tonnes of military equipment to Ukraine, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced Thursday during a visit to kyiv, where he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Read more.

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LISBON

Zelenskyy asks the Portuguese parliament for heavy weapons, tougher sanctions. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday called for heavy weaponry and tougher sanctions against Russia in a videoconference speech to the Portuguese parliament. Read more.

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Portugal appreciates Ukraine’s European aspirations, says Parliament Speaker. Portugal appreciates Ukraine’s European aspirations and will in no way hinder processes aimed at supporting that country, Parliament Speaker Augusto Santos Silva said on Thursday. Read more.


VISEGRAD

PRAGUE

More EU money needed to deal with Czech refugee crisis. The Czech Republic and eight other countries most affected by the refugee crisis will seek EU financial assistance to ensure the effective use of existing and additional EU resources. Read more.

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BUDAPEST

Orba change the constitution, again. Fidesz is set to begin its fourth term in power with a constitutional change that would extend the state of emergency to be declared by the executive in the event of war in a neighboring country. Read more.

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BRATISLAVA

Private companies are leading the development of renewable energy in Slovakia. High energy prices and poor future prospects have caused a photovoltaic energy boom led mainly by private companies, which are trying to reduce their dependence on Russian gas, Denník N reports. Read more.


BALKAN NEWS

SOFIA

The dialogue between Sofia and Skopje is collapsing again. The inauguration of a Bulgarian cultural center in the city of Bitola, North Macedonia, named after a controversial figure, has caused a new rift in Bulgarian and Macedonian relations. Read more.

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ZAGREB

Croatian FM: “serious potential” for instability in the Western Balkans. There is “serious potential for creating instability” in the Western Balkans as it is “a testing ground for geostrategic rivalries”, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said. Read more.

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BELGRADE | PRISTINE

Serbia, Kosovo Foreign ministers clash during a session of the UN Security Council. The foreign ministers of Serbia and Kosovo clashed during a debate on Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ bi-annual briefing on the work of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) within the United Nations Security Council. Read more.

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SARAJEVO

General elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be held in October. The Central Election Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina (SIP) will announce the official date of the general elections on May 4 at 10 a.m., and since it is obliged to announce the date 150 days before the election, it has declared that the general elections would take place on October 2. Read more.

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SKOPJE

North Macedonia condemns the former Prime Minister who fled the country. A court in North Macedonia sentenced for former prime minister Nikola Gruevski, who fled the country in 2018 and was granted political asylum in Hungary, sentencing him in absentia to seven years in prison. The criminal court ruled that Gruevski had illegally acquired donations worth almost 1.4 million euros which had been made to his now largest former opposition party, the VMRO-DPMNE, when he was in power from 2006 to 2012.

A former president of the VMRO-DPMNE, Gruevski is now a close ally of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who wields strong influence within the VMRO-DPMNE.

(Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)

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North Macedonia lifts entry restrictions related to COVID-19. Visitors entering North Macedonia will no longer be required to present a vaccination certificate or a negative COVID-19 test. Read more.

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PODGORIC

Montenegrin Assembly to take the first step towards the formation of a new government. Forty-six MPs have decided that they will hold a session on April 28 to elect the speaker of the assembly, the president and members of the country’s 43rd government – ​​a first sstage in the formation of the new government which could even have a majority in parliament. Read more.

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TIRANA

Albania has increased its imports of Russian wheat since the war in Ukraine. Albania imported 10,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia in March following the latter’s invasion of Ukraine, a 100% increase on last year’s figures. Read more.

Albanian taxpayers lose money in economic mismanagement. At least 159 million euros of Albanian taxpayers’ money was lost in 2021 due to economic mismanagement, according to the head of the Supreme State Audit (KLSH). Read more.


AGENDA:

  • Croatia: Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman meets his Andorran counterpart Maria Ubach Font.

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[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson]

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