Berlin shocked by Denmark-US spy deal –

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 “The Commission admits that the share of fossil fuels is’ probably ‘higher in transport without multipliers’.

Also read the article “Lavrov reads autopsy of EU-Russia relations”, by Georgi Gotev.

The European news you deserve to read. welcome to The capitals by EURACTIV.

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:


German politicians have reacted with shock to revelations that Denmark’s foreign intelligence unit has teamed up with the US National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on senior officials from neighboring countries, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel . “Among EU member states, such surveillance operations should be absolutely banned,” Green MEP Hannah Neumann and member of the Security and Defense Subcommittee told EURACTIV Germany. Read more.



Commission: the future EU debate should focus on “genuine people” and not on the “Brussels bubble”. Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Promotion of the European Way of Life, stressed that the conference on the future of Europe should focus on “genuine people” and not on the “Brussels bubble” . Read the full story.



Most French people uninformed about the arms trade want a public debate. A majority (80%) of French people feel poorly informed about the arms trade while more than 70% believe that the arms trade should be the subject of a public debate in the country, according to a new opinion poll published Monday by Amnesty International. the publication of the government’s annual report on arms exports. Read more.



Commission denies Austrian statement on COVID-19 certificate delays. The European Commission has denied the claims of the Austrian government announced last minute changes to the technical requirements of the upcoming COVID-19 ‘green pass’ digital certificate, which delayed the rollout of the program in Austria. Read more.



UK economy set to grow faster than expected. The UK economy is expected to grow faster than expected, according to the latest forecasts from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The UK is likely to grow 7.2% in 2021, down from 5.1% of the OECD’s March projection, an increase which Boris Johnson’s government says is largely the result of the program. UK COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Program. The recovery is expected to be the strongest among major European economies. However, unemployment is expected to peak at over 6% before the end of the year. (Benjamin Fox |



11 Member States warn Borrell about juveniles detained in Belarus. Ministers from 11 European Union member states sent a letter late Monday to EU senior diplomat Josep Borrell warning him of minors detained in Belarus for participating in anti-government protests. They called for immediate action on top of the EU sanctions already imposed. Read the letter obtained by EURACTIV here.



Sanoma wants the EU to review the streaming platform of Finnish national broadcaster YLE. Finland’s largest commercial media company, Sanoma, has asked EU competition authorities to check whether the Finnish broadcasting company YLE has the right to publish educational and written content on its YLE Areena streaming platform. Read more.



The Bank of Italy calls for the recovery fund to be permanent after the pandemic. Europe was “forged in crises” and must therefore emerge stronger from the pandemic, for example by creating permanent mechanisms such as the EU Recovery Fund or the Safe Fund, the Bank Governor said on Monday. from Italy, Ignazio Visco. Read more.

In other news, Italy is determined to collaborate with the unified executive authority of Libya and to “support it in the next decisive phases of the institutional transition”, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi told his Libyan counterpart Abdul Hamid Dbeibah who was visiting Rome. Italy wishes to continue to help Libya with its international partners and supports “the need to increase and structure the contribution of the EU” to the North African country, added the Italian Prime Minister.

Regarding immigration, Draghi explained that the Italian government “intends to continue to finance assisted voluntary repatriations and humanitarian evacuations from Libya”, adding that “it is a moral duty and a Libyan interest to guarantee full respect for the rights of refugees and migrants ”. “Italy will continue to do its part in terms of training resources and skills, but resolute and swift action from the EU is needed. At the European Council in June, on an Italian proposal, migration will return to the center of political attention in all its dimensions – internal and external ”, added Draghi. (Daniele Lettig |



Spain urges the EU to quickly approve all national stimulus plans. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez urged Brussels to swiftly approve all stimulus packages of European Union member states and release funds to accelerate the economic recovery of countries particularly affected by the pandemic, including Spain, reports EFE, partner of EURACTIV.



The former holding company of Czech Prime Minister BabiÅ¡, Agrofert, is suing the European Parliament. Agrochemical giant Agrofert Holding – formerly owned and still controlled by Czech Prime Minister Andrej BabiÅ¡ – has filed a lawsuit against the European Parliament, claiming that EU lawmakers denied access to documents that had leads the institution to criticize the conflict of interest of the Prime Minister. Read more.



Poland and Spain sign agreement to develop Polish high-speed rail system. Poland and Spain signed a cooperation agreement in Madrid on Monday that would mainly help Poland’s high-speed rail system under the Solidarity Transport Hub (STH) project. Read more.



Hungary for being able to produce Chinese jab, gives a state prize. The national vaccine plant, currently under construction, will also be able to produce the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó announced during his visit to China on Monday where he presented the Budapest State Prize to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. Read more.



Slovak Ministry of Finance: vaccination is the best way to help the economy. The best way to help the economy recover from the estimated 5.6 billion euros loss from the pandemic is to promote the vaccine which costs 40 euros per adult, according to estimates by the Value-for-Money Department of the Slovak Ministry of Finance. Read more.



Hungary’s OTP acquires Slovenia’s second largest bank. The Hungarian group OTP Bank has signed an agreement to acquire an outright stake in NKBM, the second largest Slovenian bank, to become the leading banking player in the Slovenian market. After.



Under fire, Borissov’s GERB attacks the interim government. Bulgarian MEPs from former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s GERB party sent a letter to all groups in the European Parliament, criticizing the actions of the interim government, claiming he was “appointed by pro-Kremlin President Rumen Radev “. Read more.



Romania presents its recovery and resilience plan. Romania submitted its stimulus plan to the European Commission on Monday, becoming the 22nd EU country to do so. Romania intends to attract the maximum allocation of € 14.3 billion in grants and € 15 billion in loans from the Recovery and Resilience Fund (FRR). Read more.



Travel restrictions are relaxed for Croats entering Austria. Travelers arriving in Austria from Croatia are no longer required to quarantine from Tuesday, provided they have been tested, vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19, Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac said on Monday after talks in Vienna with her Austrian counterpart Elisabeth Köstinger, Hina reported. Read more.



Serbian regulator launches procedure to clear Pfizer jab for children. The Serbian Medicines and Medical Devices Agency has initiated a process to approve the use of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children over 12 years old, Serbian epidemiologist Branislav Tiodorović told the Vecernje Novosti newspaper in an interview Monday. ( |

In other news, Serbian citizens who have already received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine can apply for a vaccination incentive worth 3,000 RSD, or about 25.5 €, announced the Ministry of Finance. According to a decree prescribing vaccination incentives, Serbian nationals over the age of 16 can apply if they received at least one dose on the territory of Serbia on Monday. ( |



BiH imposes entry restrictions on foreign nationals. Bosnia and Herzegovina will not ease entry restrictions for foreign nationals at this time as they will continue to test negative for PCR unless they are nationals of neighboring countries, the government ruled on Monday. Read more.


  • EU institutions: NATO Foreign and Defense Ministers discuss Russia
  • EU institutions: The European Public Prosecutor’s Office begins to be operational
  • France: The National Assembly will begin its examination of the new bill on the prevention of terrorist acts and on intelligence.
  • Italy: The National Statistical Institute will publish employment data for April 2021 and quarterly income statements for the first quarter of this year.
  • Spain: The government must take legal steps to analyze all judicial and political aspects of a future decision to grant pardon to imprisoned Catalan separatists.
  • Greece: From today, Greece’s COVID-19 certificate goes into effect.
  • Romania will celebrate a public holiday Tuesday.
  • Croatia: Parliament continues its session by discussing a vote for a motion of censure against Minister of Health Vili BeroÅ¡, while Minister of Labor Josip Aladrović and Secretary of State Margareta MaÄ‘erić will launch a national media campaign for prevention violence against women and domestic violence.
  • Serbia: An online presentation of a study on the evaluation of digital accessibility policies in Serbia, implemented with the assistance of the International Communication Union, will take place on Tuesday.


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

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