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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 provides more financial assistance Ukraine, Conservatives win election in Spain, Korans burnt in front of Egyptian, Turkish embassies in Denmark
European Circle in week 30, 2023
curated by Nina von Schweinitz


EU provides more financial assistance Ukraine: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the EU had paid out 1.5 billion euros in macro-financial aid to Ukraine. This support will help Ukraine to continue paying wages and pensions, and keep essential public services running, such as hospitals, schools, and housing for relocated people. It will also allow Ukraine to ensure macroeconomic stability and restore critical infrastructure destroyed by Russia in its war of aggression, such as energy infrastructure, water systems, transport networks, roads and bridges.

  • EU lawmakers call for more protection for Russian conscientious objectors.
  • Bulgaria agrees to send heavy military equipment to Ukraine for the first time since the invasion.
  • Swiss bank Julius Baer to end business with clients in Russia-letter.
  • Poland summoned Russian ambassador after Putin said that Stalin allegedly „gave“ land to Poland.

EU bans on Ukrainian grain will not be extended for the time being: Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said a temporary ban on grain imports from Ukraine to its neighbouring countries Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia will not be extended beyond 15 September. He added that the situation would be reassessed in September. Wojciechowski also announced that the EU Commission will look at helping fund the costly transportation of grain out of Ukraine after Russia halted a deal that allowed Black Sea exports vital to global food security.,

  • Britain warns Russia may start targeting civilian ships in the Black Sea.
  • Lithuania to export Ukrainian grain through Baltic ports.

Moldova to summon Russian ambassador over report on surveillance: Moldova’s foreign ministry said it would summon Russian ambassador Oleg Vasnetsov for an explanation of media reports that equipment has been installed on the Russian embassy’s rooftop that could be used for spying. The Insider media outlet and television channel Jurnal TV said 28 satellite dishes, masts, and transmitting and receiving devices had been installed on the embassy and a neighbouring residential building used by diplomats and technical personnel.

EU imposes new sanctions on Iran over supplying drones to Russia: The Council of the EU established a new framework for restrictive measures in view of Iran’s military support of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. This new regime prohibits the export from the European Union to Iran of components used in the construction and production of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). It also provides for travel restrictions and asset freeze measures that could be imposed against persons responsible for, supporting or involved in Iran’s UAV’s programme.

Von der Leyen plans further migration deals: The European Union’s pact with Tunisia can serve as a model for other countries, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Sunday, as the EU struggles to stem unauthorised flows of migrants across the Mediterranean. The EU and Tunisia last week signed a „strategic partnership“ deal that includes cracking down on human traffickers and tightening borders.

Council of the EU gives its final approval of the Chips Act: The Chips Act aims to create the conditions for the development of a European industrial base in the field of semiconductors, attract investment, promote research and innovation and prepare Europe for any future chip supply crisis. The programme should mobilise 43 billion euros in public and private investment, with the objective of doubling the EU’s global market share in semiconductors, from 10% now to at least 20% by 2030.

New EU regulation plans for smartphones to include replaceable batteries: The EU wants to prevent manufacturers from making it difficult for consumers to change their devices‘ batteries safely and cheaply. By 2027, end users must be able to remove and replace the batteries installed in cell phones, computers or tablets.

Lawmakers reintroduce nuclear in EU’s net-zero industry list: Nuclear power was reintroduced as one of the preferred green technologies to revitalise Europe’s industry, according to a political agreement struck on Tuesday by lawmakers in the European Parliament on the bloc’s proposed Net-Zero Industry Act.

Conference of justice ministers: EU network against organised crime
Euro zone: Worsening business downturn reignites recession fears
EU and Japan to reinforce energy cooperation through a dedicated dialogue on global LNG architecture
Energy consumption: Council of the EU adopts energy efficiency directive
Alternative fuels infrastructure: Council adopts new law for more recharging and refuelling stations across Europe


„While Russia continues its reckless war, we continue to support Ukraine.“

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.


Korans burnt in front of Egyptian, Turkish embassies in Denmark: A small group of anti-Islam activists set fire to Korans in front of the Egyptian and Turkish embassies in Copenhagen on Tuesday after similar protests in Denmark and Sweden over recent weeks that have enraged Muslims. During meetings with EU ambassadors on Monday, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said that such acts „have nothing to do with freedom of expression“ and called on EU countries to „fight such racist acts and all those that incite violence.“,

Spain’s conservatives insist on forming government against odds: The leader of the conservatives Alberto Nunez Feijoo stuck to his plan on Tuesday of getting enough support in parliament for a right-wing government following Sunday’s inconclusive election, even as such prospects looked dim after a Basque party refused to negotiate. „To say that you have no support because of a conversation with some group is a hasty conclusion,“ Feijoo told reporters. He said he had yet to talk to Vox leadership. The PP earned 136 seats in the 350-seat lower house, well short of the 176 lawmakers needed for an outright majority. It would only be able to form a government with the support of other parties, including far-right Vox.

Fires in the Mediterranean, storms in northern Italy: For the eighth day in a row, firefighters battled to douse blazes on the Greek island of Rhodes. Thousands of tourists and locals have been evacuated. The wildfires on Rhodes are among hundreds to have broken out across Greece in the past week, stoked by tinder-dry conditions as heat waves sweep the country. Other countries across Southern Europe have also struggled with the baking conditions and other extreme weather; some areas have matched or broken temperature records, while still others are experiencing violent storms. Italy suffered a twin pounding from the elements on Tuesday when severe storms battered the north, killing a woman and a 16-year-old girl scout.,

  • UK, Norway, Switzerland: These European countries are ‘dangerously unprepared’ to keep people cool.
  • The Mediterranean Sea broke its daily temperature record on Monday.
  • Heat waves in U.S., Europe ‘virtually impossible’ without climate change, study finds.

Eight convicted in 2016 terrorist bombings in Brussels: Eight men were found guilty on Tuesday of having organized a series of bombings in Brussels in March 2016 that amounted to the deadliest terrorist assault in Belgium’s history. The attacks — which were claimed by the same Islamic State cell that took responsibility for a string of terrorist attacks in Paris the previous year — killed 36 people and injured hundreds more.

Italy hosted conference to address irregular migration: A summit on Sunday convened by Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni laid the foundations for a fund to finance investment projects and support border controls, with a medium-term aim of better regulating migratory flows. Opening the conference, Meloni said talks would focus on illegal and legal immigration, refugee support and „the most important… wide cooperation to support development in Africa“.,

Macron calls for return to authority after French riots: The killing of 17-year-old Nahel M. during a traffic stop last month prompted protests, riots and looting, with many accusing the French government of allowing a culture of institutional racism in the police force to fester. Condemning „the burning of schools, city halls, gyms and libraries“, President Emmanuel Macron said: „The lesson I draw from this is order, order, order.“ He called for a „return to authority at every level, starting with the family,“ Macron said.

EU climate chief Frans Timmermans quits to run in Dutch elections: Frans Timmermans, the mastermind of the EU’s environment policies, is to quit the EU Commission to return to national politics in the Netherlands. He said he would run for the leadership of the combined Labour and Green Left parties before a Dutch national election due in November.

Norway government ministries hit by cyber attack: Norwegian authorities reported a cyber attack of unknown origin against 12 government ministries on Monday. A police investigation into the incident has been opened and the Norwegian Data Protection Authority had been notified of the problem.

Greta Thunberg fined for disobeying Swedish police: Greta Thunberg has been fined by a Swedish court after she was found guilty of disobeying a police order to leave a climate protest. The 20-year-old climate activist, who from 2018 became the face of the youth climate movement, had admitted taking part in the protest in Malmö in June, but pleaded not guilty on the grounds she had acted out of necessity.

Slovakia: Interior minister dismissed over spat with police leadership
France: Macron is visiting New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea on ‘historic’ Pacific tour
Appearance in Romania: Orbán provokes his neighbours


The Mediterranean Sea hit its highest temperature ever recorded on Monday amid back-to-back extreme heatwaves buffeting Europe. The average Sea Surface Temperature for the Mediterranean was 28.4C (83.1F), the European Copernicus Climate Change Service confirmed.


Left-wing Norway party leader resigns after stealing Hugo Boss sunglasses: Bjørnar Moxnes resigned on Monday after stealing a pair of luxury sunglasses from Oslo airport. Moxnes — who leads Norway’s Red Party which has eight seats in the Norwegian parliament — was caught on camera on 16 June pilfering a pair of Hugo Boss sunglasses in a duty-free shop. After surveillance footage of the theft went viral, Moxnes called in sick at the beginning of July.