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Every Wednesday, the European Circle delivers an overview of the most important topics from the European Union and the European nations.

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Every Wednesday, the European Circle delivers an overview of the most important topics from the European Union and the European nations.

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Germany agrees to send heavy weapons to Ukraine, EU, India agree to deepen trade and tech ties, Macron wins France’s presidential election
European Circle in week 17, 2022
curated by Nina von Schweinitz

EUROPE

Germany agrees to send heavy weapons to Ukraine, US believes Ukraine can win war against Russia: The United States and the broader international community believe Ukraine can win the war against Russia, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Tuesday during a meeting of international defence officials at the Ramstein US Air Force base in Germany. He added that he wanted officials to leave the meeting “with a common and transparent understanding of Ukraine’s near-term security requirements because we’re going to keep moving heaven and earth so that we can meet them.” Germany has agreed to deliver anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine, the German Defence Ministry announced on Tuesday, a move that underscores a major shift in its approach to providing military help to Ukraine. politico.com, pbs.org, cnn.com

  • Swiss veto German request to re-export tank ammunition to Ukraine reuters.com

UN ready to evacuate people from Mariupol, says chief in Moscow visit: The United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, has told Russia’s foreign minister on Tuesday he is ready to fully mobilise the UN’s resources to evacuate people from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol amid criticism of his role in the crisis. Guterres, who also met the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, at a later meeting, said he was concerned by reports of war crimes in Ukraine and that they required an independent investigation, but not by the UN. theguardian.com

War crimes: EU Commission proposes reinforcing mandate of EU judicial agency Eurojust to facilitate collection and protection of evidence of war crimes in Ukraine. euractiv.com

Swiss bank UBS holds $22 bln for Russians subject to Swiss and EU scrutiny: „Many banks have…sanctioned parties in their books, and we have some as well, but we don’t disclose these numbers.“ reuters.com

EU, India agree to deepen trade and tech ties: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the capital city, New Delhi. The two leaders announced an agreement, the „EU-India Trade and Technology Council,“ to work together on technology and security matters. dw.com

EU agrees new rules for tackling illegal content: The European Union has agreed on the Digital Services Act (DSA), new digital regulations that will force tech giants like Google and Meta to police illegal content on their platforms more aggressively, or else risk potential multibillion-dollar fines. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen issued a statement calling the agreement historic. “The DSA will upgrade the ground-rules for all online services in the EU,” she said. “It will ensure that the online environment remains a safe space, safeguarding freedom of expression and opportunities for digital businesses.” cnbc.com

EU warns Elon Musk that Twitter must follow local content rules: EU internal market commissioner Thierry Breton told The Financial Times in an interview that Elon Musk’s Twitter will still be subject to EU regulations, including the new Digital Services Act governing efforts to fight misinformation. The Tesla chief is „welcome,“ but „there are rules“ he still has to follow, Breton said. engadget.com

EU top court upholds Copyright Directive’s “upload filter” provision with caveats: The EU Court of Justice has upheld the controversial Article 17 of the Copyright Directive, meaning platforms will be directly liable for – and responsible for removing – copyrighted content uploaded to their sites. The ruling by the EU’s top court constitutes a dismissal of a case brought by Poland in 2019, in which the court was asked to annul provisions in Article 17 that Warsaw argued would infringe upon freedoms of expression and information. euractiv.com

EU to move away from emergency phase of Covid pandemic: The EU Commission is set to say the EU has entered a new post-emergency phase of the pandemic in which testing should be targeted and monitoring of COVID-19 cases should be similar to sample-based flu surveillance, according to a draft document seen by Reuters. The shift comes amid a gradual drop of cases and a fall in the number of deaths linked to COVID-19, thanks to the spread of the less virulent Omicron variant and the immunisation of over 70% of the EU population, with half of the population having received also a booster shot. reuters.com

Turkish businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala sentenced to life over Gezi Park protests: An Istanbul court has sentenced Osman Kavala to life in prison for “attempting to overthrow the government,” according to state-run news agency Anadolu. Germany’s foreign minister Annalena Baerbock called the judgment a “blatant contradiction” of the international obligations Turkey is committed to as a member of the Council of Europe, according to a statement posted by Germany’s Federal Embassy on Monday. In February, Europe’s top human rights body, the Council of Europe, launched infringement procedures against Turkey for refusing to abide by a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, which called for Kavala’s release on grounds that his rights had been violated. cnn.com

Palestinians accuse EU and Austria of „double standards“: „We follow the statements of the governments in Europe and in Austria when there are deaths on the Israeli side,“ said Palestinian Foreign Minister Rijad Malki. „And we expect the same treatment when it happens on our side.“ derstandard.at

Lithium: Europe faces critical shortage of metals needed for clean energy. ft.com

WHO: 1 death, 17 liver transplants in multi-country outbreak of hepatitis in children. cnn.com

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Crypto evangelists promise heaven on earth, using an illusory narrative of ever-rising crypto-asset prices to maintain inflows and thus the momentum fuelling the crypto bubble.“

In a speech in New York, a member of the European Central Bank’s executive board, Fabio Panetta, criticised crypto finance for its lack of transparency and the risks it poses to financial stability, describing crypto-assets as “speculative assets that can cause major damage to society” and calling for faster and more stringent regulation. euractiv.com

NATION

Macron wins France’s presidential election: Emmanuel Macron has won France’s presidential election, fending off a historic challenge from far-right candidate Marine Le Pen during Sunday’s runoff vote. Macron took 58.5% of Sunday’s vote, making him the first French leader to be reelected in 20 years. Though Macron’s pitch to voters of a globalised, economically liberal France at the head of a muscular European Union won out over Le Pen’s vision for a radical shift inward, the 41.5% of people who voted for her put the French far right closer to the presidency than ever before. cnn.com

  • Putin congratulates Macron on French election victory nytimes.com
  • Macron wants to govern with a smaller team: 10 to 15 ministers instead of 42 n-tv.de

Slovenia election: liberal newcomer Robert Golob defeats populist PM: Political newcomer liberal Robert Golob has defeated Slovenia’s three-time prime minister, populist conservative Janez Jansa. “Our objective has been reached: a victory that will enable us to take the country back to freedom,” Golob told jubilant supporters late Sunday. The opposition accuses Jansa of having tried to undermine democratic institutions and press freedoms since he returned to power in 2020. theguardian.com

Germany says Russia oil embargo would be manageable: Berlin could handle an embargo on Russian oil imports, Germany’s Climate and Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Tuesday, suggesting the country could end its dependence on Moscow within days. The minister said that Germany had managed to slash its reliance on Russian oil by two-thirds in recent weeks, reducing the share of imports from 35% before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to 12% now. The remaining Russian imports supply the Schwedt refinery in eastern Germany, he added, as other sites had already switched to alternative suppliers. politico.eu

  • Russia stops gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria dw.com
  • EU agrees to let Spain and Portugal cap cost of gas for power nasdaq.com

Austria’s internal border controls unjust, says EU court: The European Court of Justice has ruled against Austria for imposing and reimposing internal border controls — and fining one person €36 for refusing to show a passport. Such checks may only be introduced for six months when there is serious threat to public policy or internal security. Austria failed to substantiate those threats, but still imposed checks in violation of the Schengen Borders Code, said the court. euobserver.com

Spanish agri minister: EU’s rural areas face ‘most difficult moment of the century’: Spain aims to secure food supply while guarding its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) strategic plan’s green ambitions, said the Spanish Minister of Agriculture Luis Planas. “We lived for a few years with markets that worked like clockwork from a logistical point of view until 2020. First, because of COVID-19 and then with the war, we live the most difficult moment, and the big question is how we can fix this together, with a spirit of lending hands.” euractiv.com

Boris Johnson insists he is ‚delivering for the people‘ after Partygate: Boris Johnson has launched a full-throttled defence of his premiership, as his allies declared he would lead the Tories for years to come. The prime minister highlighted ten landmark measures due to become law this week as proof that he is delivering for Britain. And he said: “Whether it be in response to Putin’s illegal invasion or our recovery from the pandemic, we are providing the leadership needed in challenging times.” express.co.uk

Spain begins investigation into Catalonia Pegasus spyware allegations: The Spanish government has said it would investigate reports of spying on Catalan and Basque pro-independence leaders. Spain’s ombudsman separately announced on Sunday that it would probe reports that the phones of independence figures were hacked. euronews.com

Four miners dead, six trapped after tremor in Polish coal mine: Four miners were killed after a tremor at a coal mine in southern Poland on Saturday and rescuers were still trying to reach six others trapped underground, the mine’s owner JSW said. reuters.com

Brexit:

  • Johnson threatens to privatise Passport Office over backlog theguardian.com
  • Imports to EU in relative 25% fall after Brexit trade agreement, researchers say independent.co.uk

Lack of Bosnia election reform before key ballot splits Croatia and EU Commission: Discontent with the absence of a hoped-for electoral reform in neighbouring Bosnia-Herzegovina, Zagreb has blasted as “illegitimate” the upcoming elections in BiH, while the European Commission repeated they were key for the fragile Balkan country’s European future. euractiv.com

„The Voice of Holland“: #MeToo scandal at a Dutch TV show spurs a sexual assault reckoning. nytimes.com

Greece to raise minimum wage by 50 euros a month. bloomberg.com

Belgium: Foreign minister Sophie Wilmès steps down to support husband after brain cancer diagnosis. theguardian.com

EU-funded repair bonus: Austrians will get money if they have appliances repaired. welt.de

Taiwan: EU backs Lithuania’s plan to aid firms amid China’s embargo. politico.eu

NUMERS

King Felipe VI of Spain has made public his personal assets of €2.6 million for the first time. The Spanish Royal Palace on Monday unveiled the monarch’s estate in an unprecedented move aimed at earning „the respect and trust of citizens“. euronews.com

AT LEAST

Boris Johnson cost GQ magazine £4,000 in parking tickets: Prime Minister Boris Johnson cost GQ magazine thousands in parking tickets while working there as a motoring journalist, his former editor has said. Jones added: „I once worked out that, over the decade he worked for GQ, Boris had cost us about £4,000 in parking tickets. But then he’d also written more than a hundred incredibly funny motoring columns, so I figured it was worth it.“ news.sky.com

Twitter employees react to news that the firm may be acquired by Elon Musk: For some, like Ned Miles, Monday turned out to be „another extremely normal day working at this extremely normal company“. He tweeted: „Can someone just tell me if I’m rich or fired please?“ bbc.com