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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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Ukraine on course for EU candidacy, EU court sets limits for use of passenger flight data, Intel seeks millions in interest from EU after antitrust fine win
European Circle in week 25, 2022
curated by Nina von Schweinitz


Ukraine on course for EU candidacy: Ukraine is set to become an official candidate for European Union membership on Thursday, when EU leaders are expected to sign off on last week’s recommendation by the European Commission. „We are working towards the point where we tell Putin that Ukraine belongs to Europe, that we will also defend the values that Ukraine defends,“ Luxembourg’s foreign affairs minister Jean Asselborn said. Moldova is also almost certain to be given candidate status.

  • Slovenia wants ‘magic formula’ on Western Balkans as EU leaders likely to fall short of solution.
  • Some 120,000 march in Georgia ‘for Europe’ after blow to EU bid.

EU court sets limits for use of passenger flight data: The European Court of Justice ruled that certain limitations must be set so that the data collection does not violate EU law. The data can only be accessed by authorities when the person’s travel is believed to be connected to criminal activity — meaning they must be suspected of fleeing the scene of a crime, or arriving at a destination with an intent to commit a crime. The court also banned the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in machine learning systems to harvest and process data on airline passengers.

German finance minister breaks ranks on EU plans to scrap the car by 2035: Germany’s Finance Minister Christian Lindner said that he does not support his government’s agreed position in support of an EU-wide ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035.

State Department warns Russia: Attack on Lithuania is attack on US: Russia has warned Lithuania of „serious“ consequences after it banned the rail transfer of some goods to the Russian territory of Kaliningrad. Russia „will certainly respond to such hostile actions,“ senior security official Nikolai Patrushev said. US state department spokesman Ned Price said the US was standing by Lithuania, adding that the country’s commitment to Nato’s Article 5 – which views an attack on one member state as an attack on all – was „iron clad“.

First heavy weapons from Germany arrive in Ukraine: Self-propelled howitzers are the first heavy weapons sent by Germany to arrive in Ukraine. The arrival comes after repeated appeals from Kyiv for better weapons and ammunition as it seeks to hold off Russia’s military offensive in eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile, the German government published its first full list showing both the equipment it said it had already sent to Ukraine, and items it had pledged that were still being arranged.

  • Poland has sent more than 240 tanks to Ukraine.
  • UK promises more support for Ukraine.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stresses the need to avoid ‚Ukraine fatigue‘.
  • Global Peace Index 2022: War in Ukraine and political terror linked to worst state of global peace in 15 years.

Italy Foreign Minister Di Maio quits 5-Star to form new group: Luigi Di Maio said he was leaving the 5-Star Movement to form a new parliamentary group backing the government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi. Di Maio’s move comes after he accused 5-Star leader and former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of undermining government efforts to support Ukraine and weakening Rome’s standing within the EU.

Intel seeks millions in interest from EU after antitrust fine win: The US chipmaker has filed a claim for 593 million euros in interest from the EU Commission, five months after it convinced Europe’s second-top court to scrap a 1.06-billion-euro EU antitrust fine.

Climate activists glue themselves to European Commission HQ: A group of ten Extinction Rebellion climate activists on Monday glued themselves to the entrance doors of the European Commission’s Berlaymont building in Brussels, calling on the EU to do more against environmental damage and to criminalise ecocide — the deliberate and systematic destruction of ecosystems.

Spain demands EU leave energy treaty over climate concerns.
Insurer must pay Spanish claim in Galicia oil spill, EU court says.


„One cannot imagine that millions of tonnes of wheat remain blocked in Ukraine while in the rest of the world people are suffering hunger. This is a real war crime.“

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Russia is committing a war crime by blocking the export of millions of tonnes of Ukrainian grain.


Macron holds postelection talks with French party leaders: French President Emmanuel Macron held talks with France’s main party leaders after his centrist alliance failed to win an absolute majority in parliamentary elections. Edouard Philippe, Macron’s former prime minister and an influential figure, urged parties to form a coalition to secure a governing majority. This would be a first in modern French politics. But Les Republicains leader Christian Jacob said after meeting Macron: „I told the president that it was out of the question to enter into a coalition deal, that would be a betrayal of our voters.“,

French burkini ban upheld: France’s highest administrative court has upheld a ban on full-body „burkini“ swimsuits in public pools, rejecting an appeal by the city of Grenoble. The court said it could not allow „selective exceptions to the rules to satisfy religious demands“.

German art show takes down art after antisemitism accusations: An artwork by a group of Indonesian artists that has been criticised for containing antisemitic imagery will be removed from the Documenta contemporary art exhibition in Kassel, the German city’s mayor has announced. The artwork includes an image of a soldier with a pig’s head, wearing a Star of David neckerchief and a helmet with “Mossad,” the name of Israel’s security service, written on it.,

Poland’s most powerful politician steps down: The leader of Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party has resigned from his government position. Jaroslaw Kaczynski said he had left his role as deputy prime minister in charge of security to focus on the conservative party and upcoming elections.

Spain’s Popular Party boosted by Andalusia victory 18 months before general election: The „historic“ electoral victory of the Spanish right in the southern region of Andalusia has weakened Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez a year and a half before national elections that could see the Conservatives return to power.

Priti Patel slams ECHR ruling that blocked Rwanda flight: UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has reportedly called the last-minute intervention by the European Court of Human Rights (EHCR) that grounded the government’s first deportation flight to Rwanda “scandalous”. The flight was halted minutes before its scheduled take-off on Tuesday after the ECHR ruled two of the asylum seekers due to be on board should not be removed from the UK until their appeals had been heard.

Italy’s interior minister promises more police and video surveillance after riots on Lake Garda: Four young men of African origin are being investigated for sexual assaults during a flash mob on Lake Garda. Right-wing parties accused Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese of downplaying a national phenomenon.

Senators vote to abolish five day wait before an abortion: As expected, senators on Tuesday voted in favour of scrapping the five day wait for women seeking an abortion before the operation can be carried out. MPs also voted in March to allow family doctors to prescribe abortion pills but that legislation still has to be processed by the upper house.

Belgium hands over tooth to family of Congo independence hero: Belgium handed over the only known remains of the murdered Congolese independence hero Patrice Lumumba to his family during a ceremony in Brussels. Lumumba became the Democratic Republic of Congo’s first democratically elected prime minister after independence from Belgium in 1960. His government lasted just three months before he was overthrown and assassinated by a firing squad. His supporters and some historians accuse the CIA of having ordered his killing. His body was never found.

Worst drought in 70 Years threatens Northern Italy’s food, power: Italy is in the depths of one of its worst droughts, with the country’s largest river, the Po, hitting its lowest level in 70 years, threatening crops and raising the specter of power outages.

Belgium repatriates women and children linked to Isis fighters from Syria.
First Cyprus-Greece ferry in 22 years starts service.
Despite Rwanda threat, migrants in Calais still dream of England.
National strike sees Brussels airport cancel all outgoing flights.
Dutch researchers uncover Roman temple complex.


A punishing early-season heat wave that tormented large swaths of Europe over the weekend is easing after delivering hundreds of record high temperatures. Temperatures between 40 to 43 degrees Celsius were common from Spain to Germany.


Thousands flock to Stonehenge to mark summer solstice: About 6,000 people gathered at the ancient stone circle in southern England to watch the sun rise. Stonehenge was built between 5,000 and 3,500 years ago on a windswept plain in southwest England by a sun-worshipping Neolithic culture. Experts still debate its purpose, but it is aligned so that on summer solstice the sun rises behind the Heel Stone and rays of sunlight are channeled into the center of the circle.