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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 energy ministers reach deal on emergency gas plan, Macron denounces hypocrisy on African nations, Croatia opens Peljesac bridge
European Circle in week 30, 2022
curated by Nina von Schweinitz

EUROPE

EU energy ministers reach deal on emergency gas plan: EU member states reached an agreement in Brussels on an emergency proposal to reduce gas consumption as concerns grow that Russia might ultimately cut off already reduced deliveries. The current proposal now includes numerous national opt-outs and asks EU countries to voluntarily reduce consumption by 15%, based on the five-year average consumption for the time frame starting next month and extending to March next year. dw.com

  • US LNG exports to Europe on track to surpass Biden promise. euractiv.com

EU renews sanctions against Russia for further six months: These sanctions, first introduced in 2014 in response to Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine, were significantly expanded since February 2022, in light of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine. They currently consist of a broad spectrum of sectoral measures, including restrictions on finance, energy, technology and dual-use goods, industry, transport and luxury goods. consilium.europa.eu

Macron denounces ‚hypocrisy‘ on African nations: French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday denounced the „hypocrisy“ expressed “ notably on the African continent“ for not clearly recognising Russia’s „unilateral aggression“ towards Ukraine, as the European Union does. africanews.com

Croatia opens Peljesac bridge: Croatia has officially opened the Peljesac Bridge, connecting two parts of the country’s Adriatic coast divided by Bosnian territory. The bridge had been in the works since 2007, though construction did not start in earnest until 2017, when the EU put up €357 million, or about 85% of the cost of the project. In 2018, the China Road and Bridge Corporation won the international bid to construct the massive infrastructure project. dw.com

Saudi crown prince: First EU visit since Khashoggi killing: Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Greece on his first trip to an EU country since the killing in 2018 of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi that triggered widespread international condemnation. The crown prince, who is travelling with a large government and business delegation, met with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and will attend the signing of a series of bilateral investment and defence agreements. washingtonpost.com

EU submits draft Iran nuclear deal text: EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Tuesday he has proposed a new draft text to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, saying there is no room left for further major compromises. „I have now put on the table a text that addresses, in precise detail, the sanctions lifting as well as the nuclear steps needed to restore the JCPOA,“ Borrell wrote in an essay in the Financial Times. ft.com, reuters.com

Brexit: France says it is ‘not responsible for Brexit’ amid row over Dover travel chaos. theguardian.com
Kosovo to apply for EU membership by end of 2022. euractiv.com
Myanmar: UN and EU condemn first executions in more than 30 years. consilium.europa.eu
Constitutional referendum: MEPs urge Borrell to take stand against Tunisia’s slide to autocracy. euractiv.com

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I am launching this red alarm for the good of the country, but also for the good of Europe.“

Former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has warned that Moscow could try to skew the forthcoming Italian national election by spreading fake news on social media to favour pro-Russian parties. euractiv.com

NATION

Adviser to Hungarian PM Orbán resigns over ‘pure Nazi speech’: A longstanding adviser to Viktor Orbán has resigned in protest at “a pure Nazi speech” the Hungarian prime minister gave that was “worthy of Goebbels”. In her resignation letter Zsuzsa Hegedüs said she had become increasingly uncomfortable with Orbán’s “illiberal turn” in recent years. Orbán has made anti-migration rhetoric a key part of his political platform since 2015, and frequently uses far-right language, but his speech on Saturday – in which he spoke out against “race mixing” – was extreme even by his standards. theguardian.com

UK Tory leadership TV debate cut short after moderator collapses on air: A TV debate between the two candidates to succeed Boris Johnson as UK prime minister was abruptly cut short when the moderator fainted live on air. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was on camera answering a question about Russian President Vladimir Putin, and looked visibly shocked. She could be seen mouthing “oh my god” and then rushing from her podium toward the sound of the crash. The channel then cut to a holding message stating that they were “sorry for the disruption to this programme.” A spokesperson for TalkTV confirmed that host Kate McCann had fainted. politico.eu

Good Friday Agreement architect David Trimble dies: David Trimble, a former Northern Ireland first minister who won the Nobel Peace Prize for playing a key role in helping end Northern Ireland’s decades of violence, has died, the Ulster Unionist Party said Monday. He was 77. Trimble, who led the UUP from 1995 to 2005, was a key architect of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that ended three decades of violent conflict in Northern Ireland known as “The Troubles.” apnews.com

NHS in England facing worst staffing crisis in history, MPs warn. bbc.com

EU launches four more legal cases against UK over Northern Ireland protocol: The EU has expressed its anger over the backing given by British MPs for legislation overriding post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland by launching a further four legal cases against the UK government. The claims concern past failures to implement the 2019 deal agreed with Boris Johnson but the EU has been spurred to act by the passage through parliament of a bill that would rip up current arrangements. theguardian.com

Spain passes bill to help legalise foreign workers: The government decree reforms an existing immigration law and makes it easier for Spanish employers to hire workers from their home country. It also eases work permit requirements for workers already settled in Spain. The migration ministry acknowledged that previous procedures were often slow and inadequate, leading to high social and economic costs for the country. washingtonpost.com

WHO declares monkeypox an international public health emergency: The World Health Organization has declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern, a designation reserved for the most serious global disease outbreaks. The world has seen more than 16,500 monkeypox cases so far this year in 68 countries where the disease is not endemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. nbcnews.com

Germany: Wildfires in eastern states causing ‚very tense‘ situation. dw.com
Italy’s migrant battle: Salvini seizes on island hit by overcrowding. politico.eu
Greece: Government rejects opposition’s call for transparency in EU funds distribution. euractiv.com
Covid: Austria ends compulsory quarantine. faz.net
France: Ties a knotty problem for French MPs as they argue over ‘sloppy dress’ codes. telegraph.co.uk

NUMERS

French lawmakers in the lower house adopted a government-tabled emergency bill earmarking €20 billion to tackle inflation and the resulting social risks. euractiv.com

AT LEAST

UK to host Eurovision song contest in 2023 on behalf of Ukraine: Ukraine won this year’s Eurovision with the song Stefania by Kalush Orchestra, earning the right to host the 2023 edition. However, organisers concluded this could not be done safely while the country was at war with Russia. theguardian.com