EU outraged as US and Norwegian energy profits test solidarity – EURACTIV.com

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In today’s news from the capitals:

BERLIN

As the US and Norway reap unprecedented benefits from soaring energy prices, EU countries are complaining louder and preparing to send the European Commission forward to negotiate a better deal, voluntarily or not.

The European energy crisis has caused a spike in energy prices. While Russia, the cause of the crisis, has been one of the main beneficiaries, EU allies, mainly the United States and Norway, are reaping windfall benefits by filling the void left by Russia. Read more.

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EU INSTITUTIONS

The European Commission has postponed AI treaty negotiations with further delays in sight. The European Commission has successfully postponed discussions on the Council of Europe’s Treaty on Artificial Intelligence, with a view to obtaining a mandate to negotiate on behalf of the EU. Further delays could still follow as the bloc tries to pull itself together. Read more.

Germany’s Green leader denounces Berlin’s 200 billion euro mega aid package. Key figures from the German Greens are calling on the EU to adopt a mechanism that would top off Germany’s gas price cap after Berlin announced it would take on more debt to fund a massive €200 billion aid package. Read more.

The “European Political Community” took shape in the face of the war in Russia. Leaders from 44 European countries are due to gather in Prague on Thursday (October 6th) for their inaugural summit of the European Political Community (EPC), a new format in search of purpose as multiple crises grip the continent. Read more.

BERLIN

German push for Spain to join ‘European Skyshield’ amid war with Russia. There are rumors that Spain and other EU members joining a NATO-European integrated air defense system led by Berlin would be on the agenda of the German-Hispanic summit in Wednesday at La Coruña. Read more.

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PARIS

France has low judicial efficiency compared to EU neighbours. France is lagging behind on budget, personnel and case resolution times compared to its EU counterparts, according to a report by the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) on Wednesday. Read more.

TotalEnergies boss says capping oil prices will boost Putin. The head of major French energy company TotalEnergies said on Wednesday (October 5th) that a possible cap on Russian oil prices during the war in Ukraine would benefit Russian President Vladimir Putin. Read more.

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VIENNA

Austria is reorganizing the financing of public media. Public media funding will be updated to foster more diversity and transparency, the Austrian government announced on Wednesday, after years of criticism over the allocation of public funds to the media. Read more.

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BRUSSELS

A margin of improvement in the Belgian justice budget, according to the CEPEJ. Belgium is far from its German or Dutch neighbors, and below the Council of Europe median in terms of the share of GDP it allocates to the budget of the judicial system, indicates a CEPEJ report published on Wednesday. Read more.


UNITED KINGDOM AND IRELAND

LONDON

NI talks will resume after EU-UK relations thaw. Ministers have confirmed that talks between UK, EU and Irish officials are due to resume this week to finally resolve the long-running dispute over the implementation of the Brexit deal in Northern Ireland. Read more.

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DUBLIN

Ireland’s transport system needs to become less car-dependent, OECD. Ireland’s transport system is overly dependent on the car, hampering progress towards emissions reduction targets, according to an OECD report. Read more.


NORDIC AND BALTIC

COPENHAGEN

The Danish prime minister has called a snap election following the mink-gate scandal. Early elections will be held on November 1, Danish Social Democratic Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced on Wednesday following threats of a vote of no confidence from a party in favor of a scandal involving the slaughter of millions of mink. Read more.


SOUTHERN EUROPE

ATHENS

RSF on mission in Greece amid “terrible setbacks” for press freedom. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) will travel to Greece from October 9-11 to discuss the critical press freedom situation, which has tested the conservative New Democracy (EPP) government. Read more.

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MADRID

The Spanish Prime Minister urges Macron to honor his commitment to gas interconnections. French President Emmanuel Macron has been urged by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to stick to his commitments regarding energy grid connections between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of the EU, including a future Midcat pipeline. Read more.

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LISBON

Ukraine joins the Iberian bid to host the 2030 World Cup final. Ukraine will join Portugal and Spain in their bid to host the final stages of the FIFA World Cup in 2030, the federations of the two Iberian countries announced on Wednesday. Read more.


VISEGRAD

WARSAW

Poland wants NATO nuclear weapons at home. Poland wants to participate in the Nuclear Sharing program and could receive nuclear weapons from the United States, although, as the Polish president points out, this is far from being achieved. Read more.

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PRAGUE

War in Ukraine unlocked potential of Czech arms industry, defense minister says. Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová (ODS, ECR) met with representatives of the Czech arms industry on Wednesday and told reporters that the Czech Republic could become an arms superpower because of the war in Ukraine. Read more.


BALKAN NEWS

SOFIA

Pro-Russian politician in conflict with Bulgarian journalists. The leader of the radical pro-Russian party “Vazrazhdane” Kostadin Kostadinov tried to expel journalists from a press conference in Sofia on Wednesday. Read more.

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BUCHAREST

Romania caps firewood prices. The Romanian government has set a maximum price for firewood, briquettes and wood pellets as winter approaches and heating costs continue to soar.

The maximum price will be 400 lei (€80) per cubic meter for firewood, 1,500 lei per metric ton for wood briquettes and 2,000 lei per ton for wood pellets for all end customers. The government wants to protect citizens from “unjustified price increases” of products used to heat homes. The planned measures will apply until March 31, 2023.

(Bogdan Neagu | EURACTIV.ro)

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LJUBLJANA

The Slovenian unemployment rate at its lowest, but the trend should be reversed. The total number of unemployed in Slovenia has fallen to its lowest level since the country gained independence in June 1991, according to data from the employment service. Read more.

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BELGRADE

Serbia has enough gas but seeks to diversify. Serbia has enough gas reserves to weather two months of a “worst-case scenario” but is seeking to diversify its supply and move away from reliance on Russia, officials said. Read more.

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PRISTINE

Opening of a Kosovo customs point in an Albanian port. Customs goods bound for Kosovo are now handled at the port of Durres in Albania, following an agreement signed between the two countries earlier this year. Read more.

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TIRANA

Albania is moving forward with the regulation of crypto exchanges. Albania’s Financial Supervisory Authority has approved a licensing regime for cryptocurrency exchanges, a first in the region, bolstering a crypto law passed in 2020. Learn more.

Agenda

  • EU: the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, takes part in the meeting of the European Political Community;
  • Vice-President Schinas receives Mr Aleksandr Ceferin, President of UEFA;
  • Commissioner Schmit in Helsinki, Finland: meeting Ms Hanna Sarkkinen, Minister of Social Affairs and Health, workers’ organisations, NGOs; visit Ohjaamo – One Stop Guidance Center for Youth; visits the Y-Foundation on Housing First;
  • Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski participates in the Rural Inspiration Awards ceremony and the official launch of the European CAP network, in Brussels;
  • France: The government presents energy saving plans, closed by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne;
  • Spain: Inauguration of the SNCF Ouigo low-cost train service between Madrid and Valence;
  • The independence party of Carles Puigdemont votes to remain in the regional government;
  • Portugal: The Bank of Portugal revises its economic forecasts for 2022;
  • Norway: The government presents the draft budget for 2023;
  • Czech Republic: First summit meeting of the European Political Community;
  • Ukraine: visit of the head of the IAEA Rafael Grossi;
  • WE: IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva delivers her curtain-raising speech ahead of the Annual Meetings;
  • Australia: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the Lowy Institute think tank via live video link;

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[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Vlad Makszimov, Daniel Eck, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson]

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