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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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EU Commission to ensure ammunition supplies for Ukraine, EU restricts agricultural imports, EU lawmakers seal the deal on Artificial Intelligence Act
European Circle in week 18, 2023
curated by Nina von Schweinitz


EU Commission to ensure ammunition supplies for Ukraine: In the future, the Commission wants to be able to oblige arms companies in the EU to deliver ammunition to EU member countries instead of to states outside the EU. According to German newspaper „Der Spiegel“, this is part of a legislative proposal that the EU Commission intends to adopt this Wednesday. According to the proposal, the mechanism is to take effect if there are shortages of critical defence equipment that could affect the security of the EU.

EU restricts agricultural imports: In the dispute over cheap grain from Ukraine, the EU Commission has restricted the import of Ukrainian products. Until 5 June, wheat, maize, rape seed and sunflower may no longer be freely traded in Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. However, it is possible that the products will be brought to other EU states by the countries concerned. Farmers in countries particularly affected by the Ukrainian grain imports had complained about the competition.

Ukraine EU accession talks could start this year: Ukraine’s EU accession could begin soon if all EU member states can be persuaded, said Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky after President Petr Pavel vowed to push for accession talks to be opened by the end of this year.

  • France threatened by Russian spies ‘under diplomatic cover’.
  • Slovakia can aid Ukraine in demining efforts.
  • Baltics look to NATO for air defence support in new defence plans.
  • EU Parliament wants probe into alleged Catalonia-Russia ties.

Russland weist Deutschen wegen angeblicher LGBT-Propaganda aus: Einem Bericht der staatlichen Nachrichtenagentur Ria Nowosti zufolge wurde der Mann zunächst von der Halbinsel Kamtschatka im Fernen Osten Russlands nach Moskau gebracht. Von dort soll er über die Türkei nach Deutschland fliegen. Darüber hinaus habe er eine Geldstrafe von 150.000 Rubel (knapp 1.700 Euro) zahlen müssen. Das Gerichtsurteil war bereits Anfang April ergangen und wurde nun vollstreckt. Berichten zufolge hat der Mann versucht, für eine sexuelle Beziehung online Kontakt zu einem Russen aufzunehmen.

Should the world call time on fossil fuels? Germany called for governments around the world to work on setting an ambitious target for renewable energy that would „ring in the end of the fossil fuel age“ and help prevent dangerous global warming. Speaking at the start of a two-day meeting in Berlin attended by dozens of top climate envoys, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock noted that the world needs to sharply cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

EU lawmakers seal the deal on Artificial Intelligence Act: Following months of intense negotiations, members of the European Parliament have bridged their difference and reached a provisional political deal on the world’s first Artificial Intelligence rulebook. The AI Act is a flagship legislative proposal to regulate Artificial Intelligence based on its potential to cause harm.

Von der Leyen hails Infineon factory as chip production milestone for Europe: Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of Infineon’s factory in the German city of Dresden, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it was a step in Europe’s goal of doubling its share of global chip production to 20% by 2030 by quadrupling its current capacity. But she warned that Europe was still too dependent for raw materials on individual suppliers, citing in particular that China has a 76% share of producing the silicon metals needed in chip production.

Irish MEP calls for EU-wide law on cyberbullying, as mother of victim raises awareness in Brussels: Nicole ‚Coco‘ Fox from Ireland committed suicide in 2018 after being bullied online. Since then, her mother Jackie has been relentlessly campaigning to promote legislation that punishes bullying. In 2021 Ireland adopted the so-called Coco’s law, with up to seven years in jail for those who distribute or publish intimate images of a person without consent. Now, Jackie’s battle is being taken up at a European level.

300 nabbed in global crackdown on dark web drug marketplace: Authorities in the US and Europe arrested nearly 300 people, confiscated over $53 million, and seized a dark web marketplace as part of an international crack down on drug trafficking that officials say was the largest operation of its kind. The worldwide operation targeting the “Monopoly Market” is the latest major takedown of sales platforms for drugs and other illicit goods on the so-called dark web, a part of the internet hosted within an encrypted network and accessible only through specialized anonymity-providing tools.

Energy crisis drives EU institutions to cut down on energy use: The EU Commission, the EU Parliament, and the Council of the EU have been trying to reduce their environmental footprint for years – but the past year’s energy crisis has driven them to introduce new measures to cut demand quickly, the three institutions told „Euractiv“. “In the light of recent energy price increases linked to the ongoing Russian invasion in Ukraine, energy savings and energy independence have become even more important and pressing,” the Parliament’s press service said.

World Press Freedom Day: Statement by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union
Next Council of EU presidency: Poland to reinforce transatlantic relations
Bridging the gap: Boosting Europe’s green workforce to keep pace with net zero energy ambitions
Where is Eurovision 2023 taking place? A local’s guide to the vibrant city of Liverpool
Experts: EU could experiment with a participatory budget


„We are all experiencing how drastically geopolitical risks have grown. This is why it is vital that we in Europe strengthen the supply chains of our most important goods and technologies.“

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen hailed the construction of a new factory by Germany’s Infineon a milestone in mass chip production.


Violence flares at May Day marches in France: The country was gripped by widespread May Day protests on Monday as unions joined forces to call for “tidal wave” street marches to force the government to repeal an unpopular pensions law that was rammed through parliament by decree. Police fired teargas at protesters in Nantes, Lyon, Rennes and Paris – where an officer was injured after being struck in the face by a Molotov cocktail that was reportedly thrown by a masked Black Bloc anarchist on the sidelines of the march. French interior minister Gérald Darmanin announced 108 police officers had been injured and 291 arrests were made including 90 in Paris.

Arrest and controlled explosion at Buckingham Palace: A man has been arrested outside Buckingham Palace after allegedly throwing items – suspected to be shotgun cartridges – into the palace grounds, days before the coronation ceremony of King Charles III. The man was also in possession of what the police described as a suspicious bag. Specialists attended and after an assessment a controlled explosion was conducted as a precaution. The king and the queen consort were not at Buckingham Palace at the time. Police do not believe it was a terrorist incident, and the mental health history of the suspect is being examined.,

German government backs asylum checks at EU external borders: Refugees arriving in the EU should go through asylum procedures directly at the bloc’s external borders, according to Berlin’s newly hammered-out position, which also foresees the relocation of migrants between EU countries. While inter-institutional talks on the EU’s Migration and Asylum Pact have been ongoing between EU ministers and the European Parliament for about a month, Germany’s three-party government only agreed to a joint position over the weekend.

Poland calls out Pfizer over vaccine glut: Poland has sent a public letter to Pfizer shareholders calling on the US pharma giant to renegotiate its COVID-19 vaccines contract with the EU. In the letter, Poland’s health minister Adam Niedzielski appeals to Pfizer’s „Corporate Social Responsibility“ and calls on the company to come to more favourable terms in negotiations to lower the total amount of doses it is sending to the EU, and to spread them out over a longer time period.

Climate group hails productive meeting with German minister: German Transport Minister Volker Wissing met representatives of the climate activist group „Last Generation“ on Tuesday. The group says it is calling for more decisive action in the fight against climate change. Members‘ protests — which continued ahead of the meeting — include gluing themselves to roads to block traffic. „Today’s conversation with the minister of transport was respectful on a human level and extremely productive,“ said activist Lea Bonasera.

Swedish majority dealt blow as far-right MP resigns in conspiracy theory scandal: The Swedish ruling coalition holds its parliamentary majority by just one seat after the resignation of Sweden Democrats MP Elsa Widding following criticism of her attendance at a conspiracy theorists conference. Widding recently attended a conference with well-known vaccine opponents, climate change deniers and Holocaust relativists and was heavily criticised for it.

Finnish far right in talks to join coalition government: Finland’s prime minister-elect and leader of the centre-right National Coalition Party (NCP), Petteri Orpo, said Thursday he would start talks to form a coalition government — including the anti-immigration Finns Party. The conservative leader expressed hope that a government would be formed by June, according to Finnish public broadcaster Yle.

UK healthcare pay offer to be implemented as strike threat remains
Sweden is building the world’s first permanent electrified road for EVs to charge while driving
Slovakia sends updated recovery plan to Commission for approval
Spain: Government commits to bringing the deficit down to 3% by 2024


Inflation in countries using euro currency inches higher to 7%.


Senior French politician Bruno Le Maire’s latest novel mocked: A new novel by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire – containing an erotic passage that has gone viral – has forced the government to explain how Le Maire finds the time for such a project in a period of economic trouble for so many. „Fugue américaine“ is the 13th book by Le Maire. The novel was published hours before the credit ratings agency Fitch downgraded the country’s debt worthiness last week, feeding accusations from leftwingers that writing the novel had taken Le Maire’s focus off the economy and inflation.,