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Poles pin hopes on Tusk to prevent EU exit – EURACTIV.com

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The Capitals brings you the latest news from across Europe, through on-the-ground reporting by EURACTIV’s media network. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.


The European news you deserve to read. Welcome to The Capitals by EURACTIV.


In today’s news from the Capitals:

WARSAW 

On Sunday, some 200,000 people in 126 towns and cities across Poland, the rest of Europe and the world demonstrated against last week’s decision of Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal that ruled EU basic treaties are partially illegal. Read more.

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BERLIN

German defence and economy ministers relinquish Bundestag mandate. Influential German conservative union CDU/CSU members Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Peter Altmaier announced that they would abandon their Bundestag mandate to allow young members to rejuvenate their party. Read more.

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PARIS

Ex-PM Philippe launches his own political party. The former French prime minister Edouard Philippe revealed the name of his right-wing party – “Horizons” – on Saturday. Philippe has, however, ruled out a run for the upcoming presidency, stating that “my objective is that in 2022, Emmanuel Macron is re-elected”. Read more.

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VIENNA

Austrian Chancellor Kurz resigns over corruption allegations. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced his resignation on Saturday evening over corruption allegations and a looming government crisis. Experts say that he will act as a shadow-chancellor and might return to office once cleared of the allegations. Read more.


UK AND IRELAND

LONDON

Migrant numbers making Channel crossing surge. The UK Home Office said that more than 1,000 migrants in over forty small boats made the Channel crossing from France to the UK in the last two days. Read more.

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DUBLIN 

Irish foreign minister warns of ‘red line barrier’ in NI protocol dispute. Ireland’s Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney, has accused the British government of creating a “red line barrier to progress” in post-Brexit negotiations over the Northern Ireland protocol. Read more.


NORDICS AND BALTICS

HELSINKI

Finland lobbies nuclear energy as a sustainable source. Following a previously secret decision, the Finnish government will lobby the European Union to declare nuclear power as a sustainable energy source. Read more.


EUROPE’S SOUTH

ROME

Italy mulls dismantling far-right movements. A protest against anti-COVID measures in Rome with 10,000 demonstrators resulted in the Roman headquarters of the national labour union CGIL being attacked, 38 injured police personnel, and the arrest of 12 protesters. Read more.

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ATHENS

Austria’s Kurz resignation opens media freedom debate in Greece. Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz resigned after he was accused of manipulating the media to the tune of more than €1 million in public funds.  In Greece, more than €30 million of state money has been given to the media by the Greek conservative government, and everything is business as usual, the main opposition Syriza party, has said. Read more.

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MADRID 

Spains COVID-19 rate drops to low risk prompting regions to lift restrictions. Some 21 million people in Spain are free from COVID-19 restrictions as the incidence rate in the country fell to ‘low risk’ for the first time in fifteen months. Read more.


VISEGRAD

PRAGUE

Czechia turns conservative as Babiš loses elections. Czech’s voted for a conservative shift, as social democrats and the communist party failed to reach the 5% threshold following Friday’s (8 October) elections. This means the ruling party led by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš are effectively ousted from the Czech Parliament. Read more

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BUDAPEST

Second round of Hungarian opposition primaries starts after capital mayor’s surprise withdrawal. The second round of the opposition primaries began on Sunday (10 October)  and will run until next Saturday. European social-democrat and federalist MEP Klára Dobrev will face off Christian conservative independent mayor Péter Márki-Zay to lead the opposition against Viktor Orbán in the 2022 parliamentary polls. Read more.

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BRATISLAVA

Difficulties linger in accessing legal abortion in Slovakia. As many as a third of all hospitals and medical facilities surveyed refuse to provide legal abortions on the grounds of conscientious objection, according to a study by the feminist organisation Possibility of Choice. Read more.


NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

SOFIA

Bulgaria mulls 2040 for the end of coal. The government is considering three possible deadlines for the closure of coal-fired power plants – by 2035, 2038 or 2040, Energy Minister Andrey Zhivkov has announced, as quoted by Bulgarian National Radio (BNR). Read more.

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BUCHAREST

No end in sight for Romania’s government crisis. Romania has an interim government and an awful situation in its hospitals due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there seems to be no quick fix for the political crisis. Read more.

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ZAGREB

Riot officers suspended in Croatia over violent pushbacks of migrants. Police Director Nikola Milina said three police officers, identified as some of those in video recordings involved in violent pushbacks against illegal migrants, have been suspended, and further disciplinary steps would be taken. Read more.

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BELGRADE 

Epidemiologist warns COVID situation in Serbia worst in Europe. Serbia is one of the states hardest hit by the virus since the pandemic broke out, said the country’s leading epidemiologist, Dr Zoran Radovanović. Read more.

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SARAJEVO 

US to hold corrupt actors in BiH accountable. The United States will step up communication with its European partners to ensure the introduction of effective sanctions for people from Bosnia and Herzegovina involved in corruption, the US Embassy in Sarajevo has announced. Read more.

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SKOPJE

Openness Index: Government of North Macedonia first in Western Balkans. According to the latest Openness Index, which ranked the governments and parliaments in four countries from the Western Balkans – North Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Government of North Macedonia was ranked first on the list, while the country’s Parliament was ranked third, meta.mk reported. Read more.

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PRISTINA

Kurti calls for EU funds to be linked to progress. Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti on Saturday called for the EU to condition disbursement of EU funds on upholding the rule of law and fighting corruption. Read more.

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TIRANA

Albania declares state of energy emergency amid energy crisis. Prime Minister Edi Rama on Friday declared a state of energy emergency due to the ongoing energy crisis. Read more.


AGENDA:

  • EU/Brussels: EU and Britain begin talks on Gibraltar.
  • Luxembourg: EU agriculture and fisheries ministers meet in Luxembourg / ECJ hears appeal by Poland, Hungary linking EU recovery funds to the respect of rule of law
  • Germany: SPD, FDP and the Greens hold talks to form a coalition after the tight German election outcome.
  • Austria: President Alexander van der Bellen to swear in incumbent Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg as new chancellor after Kurz’ resignation / European Fundamental Rights Forum takes place in Vienna.
  • Estonia: Alar Karis takes over as the country’s president.
  • Sweden: Nobel Economics Prize to be announced in Stockholm.
  • Portugal: Government is set to submit its 2022 budget bill to parliament.
  • Czech Republic: Commission VP for Values and Transparency Vĕra Jourová in Prague to speak at the 25th Forum 2000 Conference.
  • Croatia: The “Railways for the Future” conference, organised by EURACTIV’s partner Hanza Media will discuss investment in the rail sector, with keynote from Croatia’s Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butković.
  • Romania: President Klaus Iohannis holds consultations with political parties on forming a new government.
  • Serbia: Jubilee session of the Non-Aligned Movement, dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the Movement’s founding, to be attended by more than 100 foreign delegations, including some 40 foreign ministers.

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




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Momen seeks apology, compensation from “institution” that claimed Padma Bridge corruption

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Photo: Sajjad Hossain/ Star

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Photo: Sajjad Hossain/ Star

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has sought apology and compensation from those who humiliated Bangladesh through accusing some top officials of a conspiracy of corruption in the Padma Bridge project.

“It is time for those, who defamed and humiliated us … the ones incorruptible, to seek apology and voluntarily compensate for the disservice,” he said in an oblique reference to the World Bank.

The minister made the remark at a discussion marking the inauguration of the Padma Bridge at the Foreign Service Academy today.

Participating in the discussion virtually from the UK, Momen said it is not right to believe the institutions just because they are big. Many a times, they resort to trickery for various purposes, he said.

The 6.51-km bridge, which cost USD 3.6 billion, over the river Padma, is the first such mega project implemented with domestic funds after the World Bank and other global lending agencies in 2012 backtracked from funding the project following a corruption scandal involving a Canadian construction company.

Syed Abul Hossain, the then communication minister, resigned, while then secretary to Bridges Division Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan was suspended and arrested for his alleged involvement in the corruption conspiracy. Fingers were also pointed towards Prime Minister’s Economic Affairs Adviser Dr Mashiur Rahman. The corruption charges then went to a court in Canada, but the allegations were not proved.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina later declared to construct the bridge with the nation’s own fund and the project was complete and opened on June 25 this year.

“Many of our scholars danced to the tune of the foreigners. It is time for them to rethink their perspectives,” Momen said.

Addressing the event, Dr Mashiur Rahman said the World Bank inefficiently worked in regards to the allegations of corruption conspiracy.

Mosharraf Hossain Bhuyian, who is now ambassador of Bangladesh to Germany, said that it was not at all a good practice that the World Bank took a major decision based on secret information.

“In fact, that was the time when I had told the World Bank that its jurisprudence was weak. That way of working can only humiliate people, not support them,” he said at the event.

He also said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s decision was so accurate because it was aimed at peoples’ welfare, dignity of the nation and above all, driven by patriotism.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said the LDC countries often are trapped in various forms of conditions set by the global lenders.

Bangladesh’s success in implementing the Padma Bridge project would be an inspiration for other LDC countries, he also said.

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen said Padma Bridge would make Bangladesh’s position stronger in the regional geopolitical landscape, apart from boosting connectivity in South and Southeast Asia.

“We have implemented a number of mega projects and more are underway, but now we need to focus on mega social infrastructure that is education and health, to reap the full benefits of the projects,” said Dr Selim Raihan, professor of Economics at Dhaka University.




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