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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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European uranium supply secure even after coup in Niger, Elon Musk is facing legal problems in the EU, Hungary passport fraud leads to tighter US travel restrictions
European Circle in week 31, 2023
curated by Nina von Schweinitz


European uranium supply secure even after coup in Niger: EU nuclear agency Euratom said it saw no immediate risk to nuclear power production in Europe should Niger cut its deliveries of uranium. The EU Commission also said the 27-nation bloc had sufficient inventories of uranium to mitigate any short-term supply risks. „Medium and long-term, there are enough deposits on the world market“ to cover EU needs, a spokesman for the Commission said.

  • First plane evacuating French citizens leaves Niger six days after coup.
  • „Down with France!“ – Paris looks anxiously at the situation in Niger.

Elon Musk is facing legal problems in the EU after renaming Twitter: After Twitter turned into X, trademark lawyers are sending off legal warnings to its billionaire owner Elon Musk. Rockers Metallica, software giant Microsoft, carmaker Honda and sportswear brand Adidas all own versions of X as a trademark. There are already 262 Xs registered as trademarks with the EU’s Intellectual Property Office, according to an agency database. These give companies exclusive rights to use X in certain design formats, for certain purposes — such as clothing — or for certain industries, such as entertainment or financial services.

Meta to seek user consent for targeted ads in the EU: Meta intends to ask users in the EU for their consent before allowing businesses to target advertising based on what they view on its services such as Facebook and Instagram. Meta said the change addresses an order by Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner to reassess the legal basis on how it targets ads. Facebook and Instagram users had effectively agreed to allow their data to be used in targeted advertising when they signed up to the services‘ terms and conditions, until the regulator ruled it could not process personal information in that way.

Britain to retain European „CE“ safety mark following Brexit: Britain said it would retain the European ‚CE‘ safety mark for products indefinitely rather than scrap it following the country’s departure from the European Union. The British government had touted Brexit as an opportunity to ditch burdensome EU regulations on businesses but it has since dialled back some of those plans after companies complained they would face increased costs and bureaucracy, hitting their ability to compete.

Ukraine to export grain through Croatian ports: Ukraine and Croatia have agreed on the possibility of using Croatian ports on the Danube and the Adriatic Sea for the export of Ukrainian grain, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said after talks with his Croatian counterpart. Russia quit the UN-brokered Black Sea grain deal this month, depriving Ukraine, a global producer, of a vital conduit to safely export its agricultural products during the war. Meanwhile, NATO planes watched as a trio of civilian cargo ships ran the Russian blockade in the Black Sea on Sunday and anchored at one of Ukraine’s grain ports on the Danube Delta.,

  • Lithuania concerned about Wagner mercenaries in Belarus.
  • Poland to send more troops to Belarus border.
  • Poland summons Ukraine’s ambassador amid dispute over Kyiv’s insufficient gratitude for support.
  • Iceland becomes the first European country to close its embassy in Moscow.

EU confirms watering down of corporate sustainability disclosures: The EU Commission has published final rules for corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosures, confirming earlier moves to water down the requirements. The final rules, still subject to two-month scrutiny from the European Parliament and EU states who can only reject but not amend them, introduce additional phase-in provisions for companies with fewer than 750 staff.

WHO: Only one country in Europe doing enough to stop people smoking
Cargo ship fire sparks safety concerns over electric-car transport
Tourism: How Europe’s hotspots are fighting the masses
Stress test: Europe’s banks could survive a drastic economic downturn
Raw materials: China introduces export controls on industrial metals gallium and germanium – EU criticises this step
EU and Philippines to resume trade talks


“The EU denounces the continuing arrests of Ministers and senior officials of President Mohamed Bazoum’s government by the putschists in Niger.“

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell condemned the arrest by Niger’s new junta of ministers from the ousted government and demanded they be freed immediately.


Sweden to step up border controls after Quran burnings: Sweden plans to step up border controls and identity checks at crossing points as its security situation deteriorates during a Quran burning crisis that has shaken the country as well as neighboring Denmark in recent weeks. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said the measure is expected to be approved by his government on Thursday.

  • Denmark and Sweden are considering legal action to prevent Quran burnings.

Hungary passport fraud leads to tighter US travel restrictions: The US announced that it would restrict access for Hungarians to its visa-waiver programme amid concerns that foreign nationals have used fraudulently obtained passports to enter the country. Hungarians will only be able to enter the country once during a single year following the online screening process that allows for visa-free travel. Citizens of other countries in the 40-member visa-free travel programme are generally entitled to multiple visits over a two-year period with no need to apply again.

Thousands across Bulgaria protest against domestic violence: Thousands of people staged protest rallies in the capital Sofia and other Bulgarian cities on Monday following a case of shocking violence against an 18-year-old woman. The woman said her ex-boyfriend cut her hundreds of times, broke her nose and shaved off her hair. A court in the central city of Stara Zagora, hearing the case, qualified the injuries as “light” and did not order the 26-year-old detained.,

Protests erupt in Italy over welfare cuts: Discontent mounted on Monday in Italy over cuts to a poverty relief scheme by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government that will affect hundreds of thousands of people. In Naples, trade unionists and far-left activists organised a rally outside the headquarters of welfare agency INPS, while in a small town in Sicily an unemployed man threatened to set the office of the mayor on fire.

  • The only G7 member in China’s Belt and Road seems ready to pull out as its defense minister calls the decision to join an ‘atrocious act’.

Germany hails breakthrough in EU talks on power plant plans: German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said Berlin had made a breakthrough in its talks with the EU Commission on plans for new hydrogen and gas power plants, but has yet to agree on how they will be subsidised. Germany wants to use hydrogen and gas power plants to cover gaps in wind and solar supply, but has been at odds with Brussels on implementing public funding for them.

The UK will drill for more oil and gas in the North Sea: The British government has announced plans to allow a big expansion of drilling for oil and gas in the North Sea. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Monday that he hoped the plans would provide the UK with domestically-sourced energy while it transitions to a net zero economy by 2050. He also announced plans to build two new carbon capture and storage sites in the North Sea, to be completed by 2030, which would take the country’s total to four.

  • Billionaire rethinking new UK green investment after Sunak backs ‘failed tech’ carbon capture.

Sánchez wants to stay in office despite election defeat: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said he wanted to form a new government for another four years. Earlier, he had again rejected the demand of opposition leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo and his conservative People’s Party PP to tolerate a minority government led by the latter because they had won the election.

Unesco recommends adding Venice to endangered list: Venice should be added to a list of world heritage sites in danger, the UN’s cultural agency has said. The iconic Italian city is at risk of „irreversible“ damage from overwhelming tourism, overdevelopment and rising sea levels due to climate change, according to a report from Unesco.

Journalists end strike at French newspaper over far-right editor: Journalists at France’s only dedicated Sunday newspaper have ended the country’s longest media strike in decades. Staff at Le Journal du Dimanche said they were throwing in the towel knowing that their decision would mean they would either leave the paper or have to work under its new leadership. The journalists oppose the appointment of Geoffroy Lejeune as editor in chief. Lejeune was until recently editor of the far-right weekly Valeurs Actuelles and endorsed the far-right media commentator Éric Zemmour during his campaign for the presidency last year.

Greece: Tougher penalties for arson following a spate of wildfires
Canary Island: Three days without electricity – outrage on La Gomera
Germany: Far-right party picks EU lead candidate, wants European anti-migrant ‘fortress’
Viktor Orbán alienates old friends: Is the Visegrad Group in danger of breaking up?


Euro area unemployment at 6.4% – rates remain at historic low in June.


Georgians pelt Russian tourist ship with eggs: Russian cruise ship Astoria Grande has left the Black Sea port of Batumi after anti-war demonstrators threw eggs and called for its passengers to leave. Georgia is courting Russian tourists, but protesters and opposition parties object to Russia’s occupation of Georgian territory and to its invasion of Ukraine.