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In today’s news from the Capitals:
The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) has launched an investigation into the use of illegal Predator spyware in a wiretapping scandal that has shaken Greek politics, EURACTIV has learnt. Read more.
A TAKE FROM THE NETWORK
Op-ed: The long silence before the bad end. Bulgaria’s election winners remain profoundly silent just over a day after election day ended, despite tradition dictating that the winner laughs loudly in front of the cameras and dances (preferably over the body of the defeated). Read more.
German vice-chancellor reaffirms belief in Ukraine’s victory. German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck (Greens) discussed forming a deeper partnership on energy and reconstruction as he and a business delegation arrived for a surprise visit to Kyiv on Monday. Read more.
Scholz in Bucharest to stress support for Romania, Moldova. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Romania on Monday (3 April) to underscore Western support for a key NATO ally that borders Ukraine and also for neighbouring Moldova, which has looked especially vulnerable since Russia’s invasion last year. Read more.
Macron wants end-of-life bill ready by summer’s end. President Emmanuel Macron wants a bill on the end of life that improves palliative care to be ready by the end of the summer after a proposal from citizens that assisted dying should be allowed. Read more.
Austrian media investigated in bribes-for-favourable-coverage case. Austria’s special corruption prosecutor has launched investigations into ex-chancellor Sebastian Kurz allegedly bribing various media to get favourable coverage in exchange for amending laws. Read more.
Netherlands unveils new security strategy. Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra and Justice Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius unveiled the country’s new security strategy that urges citizens to be vigilant, the companies to take also their own measures and warn of the challenges to Europe’s “geopolitical, economic and digital security”. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
UK government to implement measures to tackle child sexual abuse. People who work with children will now be legally required to report any history of child sexual abuse or will face sanctions according to new measures announced by Home Secretary Suella Braverman. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Nuclear critics kicked off state-owned Vattenfall’s board. The Swedish government nominated three new members to Vattenfall’s board on Monday, putting two former board members critical of nuclear power out of a job as the centre-right Swedish government vows to ramp up the country’s nuclear capacity. Read more.
Finnish elections dominated by women. Women dominated Finland’s general election that took place on Sunday, with the most successful candidates, including the winner, being female. Read more.
Spain sends 200 Ukrainians to battle after basic military training. Two-hundred Ukrainian civilians who on Monday graduated from their five-week-long basic military training at Toledo’s Infantry Academy will now be heading off to fight. Read more.
Spain aims for electricity market reform deal during EU Council stint. Spain will seek a deal on the EU’s proposed power market reform during its six-month EU Council presidency ending on 31 December, a less hurried timetable than that of the European Commission. Read more.
Commission greenlights Italian €450 million green hydrogen scheme. The European Commission has given Italy the green light to set up a €450 million project to support integrated hydrogen and renewable energy production in brownfield sites. Read more.
Portuguese government approves Ukraine compensation scheme for fisheries. The Portuguese government has approved the regulation on support to compensate operators in the fisheries and aquaculture sector for the production costs resulting from the war in Ukraine, with a total allocation of €23.5 million. Read more.
Orban to Trump: Keep fighting, Mr President! We are with you. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban publicly expressed support for former US President Donald Trump via Twitter on Monday ahead of his court appearance on Tuesday. Read more.
Polish farmers threaten to disrupt Zelenskyy visit as Ukrainian grain floods market. Polish grain producers might block Warsaw’s streets during the visit of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy if the government takes no immediate action to halt the inflow of Ukrainian grain into the Polish market. Read more.
Czechia replaces Russian nuclear fuel imports with US imports. The US company Westinghouse will supply both Czech nuclear plants with fuel, so the country can quit importing Russian nuclear fuel by the end of 2023. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
New Montenegro president to pay first foreign visit to Brussels. Montenegro’s new president and former economy minister Jakov Milatović will go to Brussels for his first trip abroad, he said Monday, underscoring his election night pledge that he would take the small Adriatic country into the EU “within the next five years”. Read more.
Croatian companies import more workers to tackle shortages. Croatian companies in the labour-intensive sectors of tourism, hospitality, and construction are recruiting heavily from abroad, with large numbers coming from countries such as the Philippines, Nepal, and India, local media reported on Monday. Read more.
Serbia’s self-employed to soon benefit from a simplified online tax system. Freelancers will soon benefit from a new self-taxation model through a reporting portal that will be available in the second quarter of the year. Read more.
Protests in The Hague as former-KLA trials start. Hundreds of Kosovars gathered in The Hague on Monday to protest against the trial of former leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army who stand accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Read more.
Albania mulls banning TikTok in public institutions. The Chairman of the Parliamentary Group of the ruling Socialist Party, Taulant Balla, has called for banning the social media network TikTok in public institutions as he says it poses a security risk. Read more.
- EU: Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis participates via videoconference in the G7 trade ministers’ meeting; Participates in the 4th Joint Ministerial Committee Meeting under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Japan;
- Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commissioner Mariya Gabriel participates in the launch of the “EuroSMR Initiative”;
- Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi hosts Foreign Affairs Minister of Jordan Ayman Safadi;
- Commissioner Schmit visits the SMURD cross-border project in Iași, a joint training centre with the Republic of Moldova for interventions in emergency situations
- Conference on social inclusion and access to adequate housing organised by the Swedish Presidency focuses on the European Child Guarantee, rights of people with disabilities, access to permanent housing for women and children who have been subjected to violence, and more;
- EU-US energy council meeting takes place;
- European Parliament President Roberta Metsola receives Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly;
- Cyprus: Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez on official visit;
- Czech Republic: Foreign Affairs Minister Jan Lipavsky hosts Israeli counterpart Eli Kohen;
- NATO: Finland becomes 31st member at flag-raising ceremony, during foreign ministers meeting;
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Vlad Makszimov, Daniel Eck, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson, Sofia Mandilara]