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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 plan to deal with gas crisis, Ukrainian PM urges EU to stand firm against Russia, Europe’s summer wildfire emissions highest in 15 years
European Circle in week 36, 2022
curated by Nina von Schweinitz

EUROPE

EU plan to deal with gas crisis: EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen once again accused Russia of manipulating the energy markets and promised to protect consumers from increased prices. She said the EU Commission was working on proposals to help vulnerable households and businesses deal with the high prices. Ideas up for discussion include a gas price cap and a special levy for oil and gas companies with high profits, according to media reports. The proposals will be discussed with EU member states this Wednesday. The legal texts are to be presented next week. handelsblatt.com, welt.de

  • Sources say Hungary is threatening to block some EU sanctions on Russia. rferl.org
  • Turkey’s Erdogan says ‚Europe reaping what it sowed‘ on energy crisis. reuters.com
  • EU makes it more difficult for Russians to visit, but stops short of full visa ban. cnn.com
  • EU and US step up Russian aluminium, nickel imports since Ukraine war. reuters.com

Germany to delay phase-out of nuclear plants to shore up energy security: Germany is to temporarily halt the phasing-out of two nuclear power plants in an effort to shore up energy security after Russia cut supplies of gas to Europe’s largest economy. German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said that Germany had very high supply security and that the two nuclear plants should remain on standby until mid-April 2023, in order, if necessary, to provide an additional contribution to the electricity grid in southern Germany. He insisted that Germany would continue to stick by its plans to withdraw from nuclear power. theguardian.com

France ready to send gas to Germany: French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that his country was ready to deliver gas to Germany this coming winter should Europe’s gas squeeze make such a move necessary, urging French citizens to reduce their energy consumption in order to stave off rationing and cuts. Germany is more dependent on Russian gas than France, which generates most of its electricity in nuclear power stations. france24.com

IAEA chief warns UN Security Council after Ukraine visit: UN Secretary General António Guterres on Tuesday called on both Russian and Ukrainian forces not to engage in any military activity toward or from Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. His appeal to a meeting of the UN Security Council on the issue came as the International Atomic Energy Agency called for the creation of a special safety and security zone in and around the plant. “We are playing with fire, and something very, very catastrophic could take place,” Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned the Security Council. washingtonpost.com, lemonde.fr

Brussels sets out plans to restrict visas for Russian nationals. euronews.com

Ukrainian PM urges EU to stand firm against Russia: Ukraine must not waver in the face of Russian aggression, according to the country’s prime minister, as he urged the EU to provide more firepower. Denys Shmyhal was in Brussels to meet with senior European officials, where he made the case for continued support for Kyiv. The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, said the bloc will not backtrack on its commitments. euronews.com

Europe’s summer wildfire emissions highest in 15 years: The August heatwave that scorched western Europe, combined with prolonged dry conditions, resulted in increased wildfire activity and intensity in the region in recent months. According to data from the CAMS Global Fire Assimilation System, total wildfire emissions in the EU and the UK between 1 June and 31 August in 2022 are estimated at 6.4 megatonnes of carbon, the highest level since 2007. atmosphere.copernicus.eu

EU regulator gives green light to omicron booster vaccines: The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has backed two separate Covid-19 booster vaccines updated to target the omicron variant of Covid-19 and developed by drugmakers Moderna and BioNTech-Pfizer. The decision came a day after the US drug regulator cleared updated versions of Covid-19 vaccines incorporating protection against the later subvariants. rfi.fr

Windfall profits during the gas crisis: French President Macron backs European windfall tax on energy firms. euractiv.com
G7: Nations pledge to impose price cap on Russian oil. euronews.com
Czech EU Presidency to tackle migration reform, further protection for Ukrainians. euractiv.com
Digital diplomacy: EU opens new office in San Francisco. agenceurope.eu

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

„I am confident that together we can ride out the storm.“

Liz Truss told Britons they could “ride out the storm” of the worst economic crisis in a generation as she addressed the nation for the first time as prime minister. theguardian.com

NATION

Liz Truss promises tax cuts and action on energy bills: Britain’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, made her first speech Tuesday, promising to tackle rising energy bills and the cost-of-living crisis in the next couple of days. Truss also said she had a bold plan to grow the economy through tax cuts and reform that would boost business-led growth and investment. Improving health services was the third priority listed by the former foreign secretary. Truss was officially appointed as prime minister of the UK on Tuesday morning following a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. cnbc.com, theguardian.com

  • Therese Coffey appointed deputy prime minister and health minister. reuters.com
  • Kwasi Kwarteng is the UK’s new chancellor. politico.eu
  • Jacob Rees-Mogg is Britain’s new business secretary. politico.eu
  • Suella Braverman becomes new home secretary.
  • James Cleverly promoted from education secretary to foreign secretary.
  • Ben Wallace reappointed as defence secretary.

Scotland to freeze rent and rail fares to help with cost of living crisis. news.sky.com

Erdogan threatens Greece with invasion: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on Greece to stop “militarising” Greek islands neighbouring Turkey and warned that Turkish military forces could come “at night”. According to the Greek Defence Ministry, Turkey has increased its violations of Greece’s airspace, especially by using drones, such as Βayraktar, which are also used in Ukraine. euractiv.com

  • Greece plans to extend fence on land border with Turkey. reuters.com

Germany’s government agrees on €65 billion relief package: The package is the third and largest announced by Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition as part of its response to the energy crisis resulting from the war in Ukraine. Scholz also gave reassurances on Germany’s energy supply ahead of the winter, after Russia announced a halt to gas supplies to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline on Saturday. Scholz said his government had made timely decisions to avert shortages in winter, such as filling gas storage facilities and restarting coal power plants. nytimes.com, dw.com

Israel, Germany tied by remembrance, Herzog says: Israel and Germany are tied together by the obligation to remember the Holocaust, Israeli President Isaac Herzog told the German parliament. „I bring no forgiveness and no forgetting,“ he said during a speech that received a standing ovation from German lawmakers. „The past cannot be overcome but the future belongs to us,“ said Herzog. „We have a great responsibility for it as well.“ nasdaq.com, dw.com

Germany apologises for 1972 Munich Olympics attack failures: Germany’s president Frank-Walter Steinmeier has apologised for multiple failures by his country before, during, and after the deadly attack at the 1972 Munich Olympics. It came as the country marked half a century since Palestinian militants killed 11 Israeli athletes. Relatives of the slain athletes have fought for half a century for Germany to recognise its responsibilities. Last week, just before the anniversary, they agreed to compensation of €28 million. euronews.com

Poland demands $1.3 trillion war reparations from Germany: Poland’s top politician said Thursday that the government will seek equivalent of some $1.3 trillion in reparations from Germany for the Nazis’ World War II invasion and occupation of his country. Germany argues compensation was paid to East Bloc nations in the years after the war while territories that Poland lost in the East as borders were redrawn were compensated with some of Germany’s pre-war lands. Berlin calls the matter closed. apnews.com

Tens of thousands protest in Prague against Czech government, EU and NATO: An estimated 70,000 people protested in Prague against the Czech government on Saturday, calling on the ruling coalition to do more to control soaring energy prices and voicing opposition to the European Union and NATO. Organisers of the demonstration from a number of far-right and fringe political groups including the Communist party, said the central European nation should be neutral militarily and ensure direct contracts with gas suppliers, including Russia. reuters.com

Slovak government loses its majority after partner withdraws: Slovakia’s political crisis has deepened after a junior partner completed its withdrawal from the governing four-party coalition, leaving Prime Minister Eduard Heger without a parliamentary majority. Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok, Justice Minister Maria Kolikova and Education Minister Branislav Gröhling, all from the liberal Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party, submitted their resignations on Monday. They followed the example of the party leader and former Economy Minister Richard Sulik, who resigned from his government post last week. SaS had threatened to leave the coalition after disagreements with populist Finance Minister Igor Matovic. washingtonpost.com

Spain violated former Catalan Parliament leaders’ political rights, UN Human Rights Committee finds: The UN Human Rights Committee has found that Spain violated the political rights of former Catalan Government and Parliament members by suspending them from public duties prior to a conviction following the independence referendum in 2017. ohchr.org

Spain: Cleaning staff, gardeners and elderly care workers will be treated the same as socially insured employees. spiegel.de
Sweden: Gang violence dominates election campaign ahead of general election. rnd.de
Portugal: Shortage of gynaecologists and midwives in public hospitals. de.euronews.com
Finland: Equal right to parental leave for all. zeit.de
Kosovo pushes ahead with car licensing rule resisted by ethnic Serbs. euractiv.com
Gibraltar: Pollution fears grow as beached ship off Gibraltar leaks fuel. reuters.com
After uncertainty: Hundreds of migrants rescued in Mediterranean dock in Italy. euronews.com

NUMERS

Another week and yet more pain for the euro. The single European currency was trading below 99 US cents on Monday – it’s lowest value in 20 years. euronews.com

AT LEAST

Politicians congratulate the wrong Liz Truss on Twitter: Politicians, the general public and even government bodies began tweeting @LizTruss after she was announced as the UK’s new leader. But the woman behind the account is not the elected leader of the Conservative party – whose handle is @TrussLiz – but Liz Trussell from London. Among those to confuse the two were the Swedish Prime Minister and Green MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas. telegraph.co.uk