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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.

Newsletter

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EU scientists warn of spike in ozone pollution caused by heat wave, EU launches accession talks with North Macedonia, Albania, European Commission sued for violating EU’s data protection rules
European Circle in week 29, 2022
curated by Nina von Schweinitz

EUROPE

EU scientists warn of spike in ozone pollution caused by heat wave: Extreme heat has engulfed parts of western Europe, with wildfires raging in France and Spain, a worsening drought in Portugal, and the third hottest day on record in the UK on Monday. The EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service warned that large parts of Europe could experience very high levels of surface ozone pollution this week amid the fierce heat wave. cnn.com, politico.eu

EU says planning for all Nord Stream 1 scenarios, including no restart: The European Commission is planning for all scenarios regarding gas flows to Europe through Russia’s Nord Stream 1 pipeline, including the possibility that deliveries do not restart on Thursday when maintenance on the pipeline is due to end. The Commission will publish plans this Wednesday for how EU countries could cut gas demand now. It is considering setting targets for countries to curb gas use. nbcnews.com

Germany rejects delaying climate action: German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has rejected the notion of cutting back on climate change targets despite the energy and food security crisis, speaking at the end of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin on Tuesday. Despite geopolitical tensions fueled by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, she reiterated the importance of cooperation and trust among the global community to combat climate change so as to not further delay crucial climate action. dw.com

  • EU foreign ministers agreed another 500 million euros of EU funding to supply arms to Ukraine. reuters.com
  • EU sanctions: Gold embargo against Russia leaves loopholes. handelsblatt.com

EU lawmaker promises support to Taiwan: In light of Russia’s assault on Ukraine, concerns about China’s willingness to attempt a military invasion of Taiwan are running high — especially if Moscow proves victorious. EU Parliament Vice-President Nicola Beer assured leaders in Taipei on Tuesday that Europe would back Taiwan’s democracy, as she arrived for the first official visit by an MEP of her rank. dw.com

EU launches accession talks with North Macedonia, Albania: The European Union started membership negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia on Tuesday, a long-delayed step in the Balkan nations’ paths toward EU membership that gained momentum amid the war in Ukraine. Officially, the process kicked off with the presentation of the negotiating frameworks, which allow the EU’s head office to screen how prepared each country is to take on all the EU’s laws, rules and regulations. washingtonpost.com, politico.eu

  • European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen: „This historic moment is your success. The result of your hard work.“
  • North Macedonian Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski: “It is a great satisfaction that after 17 years, today, we are finally starting the negotiations […] steady but surely, we are joining the large European family.“

Hungary: Lawmakers back anti-European Parliament bill: The lawmakers from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s far-right Fidesz party voted to pass a resolution calling for a redesign of the European Parliament and the removal of the goal of an „ever closer union“ in the EU’s treaties. The EU is currently withholding recovery funds and credit from Hungary as the nationalist government fails to abide by EU standards on the rule of law and anti-corruption measures. dw.com

Hungarian protesters angered by Orban-backed tax reforms. dw.com

European Commission sued for violating EU’s data protection rules: The Commission is to face a lawsuit over allegations it is violating its own data protection rules when transferring citizens’ personal data from one of its websites to the United States. euractiv.com

DMA: Council gives final approval to new rules for fair competition online. consilium.europa.eu
EU health chief calls countries to step up COVID measures ahead of autumn. euractiv.com
Brussels approves Spanish agricultural plan. euractiv.com
EU environment chief: Healthy ecosystems key to food security. euractiv.com
Armenia says will withdraw its troops from Karabakh by September. euractiv.com
Official development assistance: the EU and its member states remain the biggest global provider. consilium.europa.eu

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

”Some European leaders have been saying that the sanctions were an error, were a mistake.”

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell lashed out at critics claiming that measures on anything from oil sanctions to monetary measures were counterproductive and hurting the EU more than Russia itself. abcnews.go.com

NATION

Three Tory leadership candidates left: Trade minister Penny Mordaunt and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will battle for a place in the final runoff alongside Rishi Sunak in the contest to be Conservative leader and the UK’s next prime minister. In the latest ballot of Tory MPs Tuesday, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer won 118 votes. Mordaunt had 92 votes and Truss 86. Former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch was eliminated. bloomberg.com

Estonia: New cabinet sworn into office: Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has regained her parliamentary majority with the swearing in of a new government made up of a three-party coalition. The move comes after Kallas resigned last week, paving the way for the formation of a new coalition with her liberal Reform Party, the Social Democrats and the conservative Isamaa party. dw.com

Bulgaria’s president asks third party to form a government: Bulgarian President Rumen Radev on Monday handed a mandate to the third-largest political party in parliament to form a government after two previous attempts have failed. Although the chances of the Socialist Party’s success are dim, its floor leader, Georgi Svilenski, said his party would invite the three other groups in the former coalition to give it a new try. apnews.com

Four charged over Cyprus cash-for-passports scandal: Cyprus authorities have filed charges against four people related to a now discredited cash-for-passports scheme scrapped by Cyprus in late 2020. The Attorney-General’s office filed five counts of conspiracy to defraud the state and untoward influence over public officials under a law penalising corruption, it said in a statement. reuters.com

France’s Macron decries rising hate, ignorance in Holocaust speech: French President Emmanuel Macron decried his Nazi-collaborator predecessors and rising antisemitism, vigorously vowing to stamp out Holocaust denial as he paid homage Sunday to thousands of French children sent to death camps 80 years ago for one reason alone: because they were Jewish. politico.com

France: Newly appointed minister Caroline Cayeux under pressure to resign over LGBTQ comments. dw.com

More than 1,000 mayors call on Draghi to stay in office: Pleas were piling up Sunday in Italy aimed at persuading Premier Mario Draghi to stay in office instead of resigning as he tried to do last week after being let down by a populist coalition partner. Hundreds of mayors have signed an open letter. Union leaders and industrialists, who often have opposing agendas, have been united in pressing Draghi to keep on governing. lemonde.fr

Moldova gets temporary trade liberalisation with the EU for seven foodstuffs. euractiv.com
Portugal launches ‘gigabattery’ renewable project. euractiv.com
Slovak health system on verge of collapse. euractiv.com

NUMERS

Record energy prices drove the inflation rate in the euro zone to 8.6%, according to the statistics office Eurostat. spiegel.de

AT LEAST

UK’s Heathrow faces strike this week as refuellers reject revised pay offer: A strike by refuellers at Britain’s busiest airport Heathrow is set to go ahead later this week and cause delays for hundreds of flights after workers rejected a revised pay offer, labour union Unite said on Tuesday. reuters.com