Slovak secret service labels party within Renew group “left-wing extremists” –


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EDITOR’S POINT OF VIEW: Moscow has been left alone in the face of geopolitics. Following a critical meeting between President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, the White House issued a 145-word reading. For 121 minutes of conversation between the two presidents. Read more.

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

In today’s news from the Capitals:


The liberal party and member of Renew Europe PProgressive Slovakia has been called “left-wing extremists” in a Slovak intelligence service annual report released last week, party officials say. Read more.



EU health ministers call for swift and coordinated action to contain Omicron. EU health ministers, meeting in Brussels on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Slovenian Janez Poklukar, called for swift and coordinated action to tackle the upsurge in infections and the spread of the Omicron variant, supporting general applicability of the EU’s digital COVID certificate and emphasizing the importance of recall jabs. Read more.



Austria’s lockdown for those vaccinated will end next week. Containment for those vaccinated will end next Monday. (December 13), Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer announced, but unvaccinated people will still have to comply with lockdown measures. Read more.



The factions of the German parliament are reshuffling before the confirmation of the Scholz government. While the German government “at the traffic lights” is preparing to take power in Berlin, the Greens and the liberal FDP have had to restructure their parliamentary leadership. The Greens’ leadership team is balanced between pragmatists and leftists, while the FDP has promoted allies of party leader and appointed finance minister Christian Lindner. Read more.



Suspect of Khashoggi’s murder arrested at Paris airport. A Former Saudi Arabian Royal Guard member Khalid Alotaibi, 33, was arrested Tuesday by border police as he was about to board a plane to Riyadh, FranceInfo radio reported. Read more.



The steel industry faces the EU carbon tax. Britain’s steel industry could be one of the big victims of the EU’s proposed carbon tax, according to a new report. Read more.



New COVID-19 restrictions come into force in Ireland. Several new COVID-19 restrictions have come into effect after being announced by Irish Taoiseach Micheál Martin last week. Read more.



The evening of the Prime Minister of Finland arouses a media frenzy. Prime Minister Sanna Marin, who enjoyed Helsinki’s nightlife with friends on Saturday, received a series of text messages asking him to self-isolate after Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto tested positive for COVID-19 . His inability to do so elicited an angry reaction. Read more.



Borrell urged to intervene after the United States denied the visa to the Greek MEP. The EU’s Left in Europe group has called on senior EU diplomat Josep Borrell to intervene in the case of Greek MEP Stelios Kouloglou, who has been denied a visa to travel to the United States. Read more.



Egypt will release Patrick Zaki after 22 months in prison. An Egyptian court ordered the release of Patrick Zaki, a Egyptian researcher from the University of Bologna who was arrested in February 2020 while visiting his family. Read more.



Spain will soon start immunizing children between the ages of 5 and 11. The Spanish Public Health Commission and health representatives from the 17 regions of the country approved on Tuesday the new anti-COVID-19 strategy, allowing the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11, in a new campaign that is to start the next week. Read more.



Portuguese Minister of Finance: TAP’s restructuring plan is in the final stages. Discussions with the European Commission on the restructuring plan for the national airline TAP are in the final stages, with approval expected before Christmas, Finance Minister João Leão said in Brussels on Tuesday. Read more.



Council of Europe wants answers from Poland following controversial decision. Poland should explain how, in the context of the recent judgment of the Constitutional Court, it would ensure the effective implementation of its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, asked the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, to Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau in a letter sent on Tuesday. Read more.



Fidesz deputy resigns from his post as secretary of state after corruption allegations. Following allegations of corruption, Pál Völner resigned from his post as Secretary of State for Justice despite his innocence, Telex reported. Read more.



Croatia records the first vaccine-related death. With more than 2.2 million Croats having received the COVID-19 vaccine so far, the country has recorded its first vaccine-related death, the the agency for drugs and medical devices (HALMED) confirmed this on Tuesday. Read more.



Romania relaxes restrictions before winter holidays. New Years and Christmas parties could be allowed in Romania, as the Bucharest government discusses easing restrictions introduced when the fourth wave of the pandemic hit the country hard. But authorities are also planning to toughen entry rules in the wake of the Omicron variant. Read more.



Bulgarian football referee arrested for motorway project. Football referee and former tax official Borislav Kolev has been arrested on suspicion of laundering € 26.5 million granted by the state for the construction of the country’s longest highway, Hemus. Read more.



NATO official: Serbia is a valued and long-standing partner. Serbia is a valued and long-standing Alliance partner, NATO Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Security Policy Javier Colomina Piriz told BETA News Agency in a statement. interview, adding that “NATO fully respects Serbia’s declared policy of military neutrality”. Read more.



Serbian President Vucic offers to help remove Serbian member of BiH Dodik. Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić has offered, through US lobbyist and former Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, to help oust Serbian member of the BiH presidency Milorad Dodik, the Vijesti daily reported on Tuesday. Read more.



Assembly of Republika Srpska to discuss the return of state powers. The National Assembly of the Serbian entity, Republika Srpska (NSRS), will discuss the return of the entity’s powers transferred to the state level on Friday at noon, the assembly said. Read more.



COVID tests drop to 13-month low in Albania. The number of COVID-19 PCR tests carried out in Albania has fallen to its lowest level in 13 months, with just 13,781 tests carried out in the past seven days. This is an average of only 1968 tests per day, as EURACTIV partner reports. Read more.


US Special Envoy Gabriel Escobar to Focus on Corruption During Visit to Albania. US Special Envoy for the Western Balkans Gabriel Escobar to discuss “US resolve to tackle corruption, impunity and efforts to undermine democracy in the Western Balkans” at meetings with the Albanian leadership on December 9. The American Embassy in Tirana announcement Escobar’s first visit to Albania on social media. He is due to meet Prime Minister Edi Rama, Foreign Minister Olta Xhacka and Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha.

Escobar “will reaffirm the United States’ unwavering support for Albanian democracy, European integration, enhanced defense cooperation, and trade and investment opportunities. As outlined in President Biden’s executive orders, Escobar will also discuss the United States’ resolve to fight corruption, impunity and efforts to undermine democracy in the Western Balkans, ”the embassy said.

(Alice Taylor |


  • EU: European Commission presents new EU trade tools, police cooperation package / President of the European Council Charles Michel delivers a speech at the annual conference of EU ambassadors / Vice-President of the Executive Commission Margrethe Vestager in Washington, meets with US Treasury Yellen and Trade Representative Tai.
  • Germany: The future Chancellor Olaf Scholz is to be elected to the German Bundestag, to hold the first cabinet meeting.
  • France: Hearing at the National Assembly of Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, to present the “Fit for 55” package to the Commission for Sustainable Development and Regional Planning and to the Commission for European Affairs.
  • Belgium: The court decides whether the Deliveroo runners are employees or independent contractors.
  • Finland: Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson visits Helsinki.
  • Greece / Russia: President Vladimir Putin receives Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Sochi.
  • Poland: Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau and his Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkevics give a press conference.
  • Croatia: Prime Minister Andrej Plenković pays official visit to Ukraine, meets with President, Prime Minister and Speaker of Parliament, and attends Ukraine-Croatia Economic Forum.
  • Serbia: Regional conference, Under Pressure, on media freedoms, pressures and attacks on journalists and the media to be held in the press center of the Association of Journalists of Serbia. Representatives of journalistic societies from Serbia, Bosnia, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro will speak.


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


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