Greece and Bulgaria top EU COVID death list –

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European news you deserve to read. welcome to Capitals by EURACTIV.

In today’s news from the capitals:

As the spread of the Omicron variant has led to record infection rates across Europe, many governments are easing restrictions and declaring the end is in sight. But the reality is that some states still suffer from disproportionately high death rates.

Data collected by our partners across Europe suggests that the rapidly approved COVID vaccine cannot be a panacea and that some countries need to do their homework on modernizing health systems. Many analysts in Brussels suggest that the Recovery Fund offers a huge opportunity in this regard. Read more.



The head of the German bank gives an ultimatum to the European Central Bank. If inflation does not come down by March, the head of the Federal Bank of Germany, Joachim Nagel, said he would insist that the European Central Bank (ECB) act. His announcement comes after experts predicted continued high inflation rates. Read more.

German minister: coalition still unclear on gene editing, animal welfare tax. There is still no agreement in sight within the coalition on several key agricultural issues such as gene editing and the animal welfare tax, German Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir has revealed. in an exclusive interview with EURACTIV Germany.



The French government is considering easing restrictions and scrapping the pass for vaccines. The government plans to ease the restrictions linked to COVID-19, spokesperson Gabriel Attal announced on Wednesday after the Council of Ministers, where he reiterated his government’s desire to abolish the vaccination pass if the situation in hospitals is improving. Read more.



Johnson issues a new threat under Section 16. Boris Johnson warned on Wednesday that the UK would suspend the Northern Ireland protocol if the EU did not show “common sense”. Read more.



A Finnish MP resigns as chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee following a “careless” tweet about Ukraine. Mika Niikko has resigned as chairman of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee following strong cross-party condemnation of a controversial tweet about Ukraine, NATO and French President Emmanuel Macron. Read more.



Prosecutors are seeking a lawsuit against Renzi for funding irregularities. The Florence prosecutor’s office on Wednesday requested the prosecution of 11 suspects, including the senator and leader of Italia Viva Matteo Renzi, concerning possible irregularities in the financing of Open, of which Renzi is considered the de facto director. Read more.



The Portuguese drought on the agenda of the European Parliament. The European Parliament has put a debate on the drought in the Iberian Peninsula on the agenda for next week’s plenary session after the PSD delegation called for an urgent discussion on the situation in Portugal. Read more.



Spanish FM: No time to speculate on “war scenarios” on Ukraine. People should not speculate on scenarios and assumptions of war in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said on Wednesday in Kyiv. Read more.



Polish parliament passes controversial education law despite opposition. The Sejm, the lower house of parliament, has rejected the Senate’s veto of a draft amendment to the Education Law, which critics say will tighten government control over schools and lead to the politicization of education. ‘education. Read more.



Slovak parliament approves controversial US defense deal after bizarre plenary. The contested The defense cooperation agreement was approved on Wednesday with a majority of 79 votes. The vote was preceded by bizarre scenes such as the whistling of supporters of the deal and the occupation of the president’s office by his detractors. The plenary was accompanied by demonstrations in front of the parliament. Read more.



COVID-19 will become a “normal disease” in Czechia. The government has decided to abolish most of the county’s measures against COVID-19, with vaccination certificates no longer required in restaurants and other establishments from February 18. Read more.



Study: Ties to the Hungarian government increase the chances of winning government contracts sevenfold. According to a study published by the Corruption Research Center Budapest, the chances of winning a public contract are seven times higher if you have ties to the ruling elite. Telex reported. Read more.



Bulgarian prime minister provides prosecutors with list of mafia-linked Bulgarians. Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov provided the prosecution with a list of names of Bulgarians who are publicly known to have been involved in crimes, but whom the prosecution ignored. Read more.



The Romanian central bank raises its key rate to 2.5%. The central bank decided on Wednesday to raise its main benchmark rate to 2.5%, from 2%, in an effort to contain inflation. This is the fourth rate increase in as many months. Read more.



The Croatian opposition demands that femicide be included as a criminal act. The government should include femicide as a criminal act, said Ivana Posavec Krivec, leader of the Social Democrats faction in the Croatian parliament – the main opposition. Read more.



The Slovenian legislative elections will be held on April 24. Slovenian President Borut Pahor has called general elections for April 24, the first possible date by law and the first poll scheduled after three consecutive snap elections. Read more.



The port of Antwerp wants to participate in the construction of the new port of Belgrade. The port of Antwerp in Belgium is interested in participating in the construction of a new port in Belgrade, the Serbian Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure announced on Wednesday. Read more.



BiH wants to test a nuclear waste management facility in Croatia. The Bosnian Foreign Ministry will inform Croatia in a diplomatic note that it wants experts from BiH to work with Croatian colleagues to test the soil of Trgovska Gora, where a nuclear waste management facility is planned. The location is close to the Croatian border with BiH. Read more.



North Macedonia police seize 1.5 tons of marijuana. Macedonian police seized about 1.5 tonnes of undeclared marijuana from one of the companies registered for the production of medical marijuana in Strumica, a city in the south-east of the country, close to Bulgaria. Read more.



UNDP and EU suspend renovation of Nazi collaborator’s house in Kosovo. Following an outcry from civil society and two ambassadors, UNDP and the EU announced the suspension of the renovation of Kosovo Albanian politician and Nazi collaborationist Xhafer Deva. Read more.



Forced evictions of citizens without compensation continue in Tirana. Albanian police forcibly evicted the last residents of the “5 Maji” neighborhood in Tirana on Wednesday morning, as the municipality continues with its plan to demolish some 400 buildings in the area. Read more.


  • EU: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Commissioners continue their visit to Senegal / Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni presents the winter economic forecast
  • France: Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides takes part in the meeting of European health ministers in Grenoble.
  • Germany: Chancellor Scholz receives Lithuanian President Nausėda, Estonian Prime Minister Kallas and Latvian Prime Minister Kariņš in Berlin.
  • UK: Prime Minister Johnson meets NATO’s Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, continues trip to Warsaw.
  • Spain: Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas meets Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares / Spain ends mandatory use of anti-Covid face masks outdoors.
  • Malta: Visit of the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola.
  • Poland: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson travels to Poland on Thursday to discuss Ukraine and bilateral relations with Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
  • Romania: Government meeting scheduled for Thursday. A bill on the protection of whistleblowers is on the agenda.
  • Croatia: Prime Minister Andrej Plenković will meet Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who will pay an official visit.
  • Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Croatian and Bosnian political parties will continue negotiations on amendments to the electoral law.
  • Ukraine: Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, current OSCE Chairman, visits Kiev.


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

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