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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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Queen’s coffin arrives in London, UK says Russian forces severely weakened, EU weighs price cap on power from renewables and nuclear
European Circle in week 37, 2022
curated by Nina von Schweinitz

EUROPE

Queen’s coffin arrives in London: A plane carrying the body of Queen Elizabeth II landed at a royal airforce base in west London on Tuesday, as the coffin heads to Buckingham Palace before lying in state in parliament from Wednesday. Thursday marks the first of four full days that the Queen’s coffin will lie in state in Westminster Hall, where she will remain until the morning of the state funeral on Monday. Russia, Belarus and Myanmar will not receive an invite to the funeral on Monday, Whitehall sources have said. reuters.com, bbc.com, independent.co.uk

  • King Charles III makes first visit to Northern Ireland as monarch. bbc.com
  • Arrests of anti-royal protesters spur free-speech debate. bloomberg.com

Germany’s Scholz tells Putin to withdraw: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to completely withdraw his troops from Ukraine during a phone call Tuesday. “The chancellor stressed that any further Russian annexation moves would not go unanswered and would not be recognised under any circumstances,” a German government readout from the 90-minute call said. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has accused Germany of ignoring Kyiv’s pleas for Leopard tanks and Marder infantry fighting vehicles, saying Berlin offered only „abstract fears and excuses“ for not providing such military hardware. politico.eu, reuters.com

UK says Russian forces severely weakened: The British Ministry of Defence says Russia could take years to rebuild one of its most prestigious tank units after the retreat from Kharkiv oblast. In its latest intelligence briefing on Twitter, the MoD said the 1st Guards Tank Army had been severely degraded, leaving Russia’s conventional forces severely weakened. Despite Ukraine’s advances, Russia said there was no discussion of a nationwide mobilisation to bolster its forces. Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said more than 300 settlements were liberated during the latest counteroffensive by the armed forces of Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed that his troops had retaken roughly 6,000 square km of territory this month. theguardian.com, reuters.com, ukrinform.net, independent.co.uk

  • Putin faces calls to resign over lack of strength in Ukraine war. nypost.com
  • Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin calls for tougher Russia sanctions. euractiv.com
  • Yet another energy executive’s death adds to the tally of powerful Russian bosses who have died this year under mysterious circumstances. fortune.com
  • Bulgaria reopens its embassy in Kyiv. euractiv.com

EU weighs price cap on power from renewables and nuclear: The EU is zeroing in on a plan to cap energy companies’ profits and channel the cash to consumers, as it steps closer to energy rationing in a bid to tame the energy price crisis. The European Commission wants to cap revenues from lower-cost power generators; introduce a levy on fossil fuel companies’ excess profits; and introduce a mandatory consumption cut. However, the Commission is retreating from imposing a price cap on Russian gas. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will give her annual State of the Union address to the EU Parliament this Wednesday. It is expected that she will use the speech to outline the plans. bloomberg.com, theguardian.com

  • France keen to push Brussels on capping Russian energy imports. euractiv.com
  • Slovakia has enough gas for winter if Russia puts total halt on supplies. euractiv.com
  • Spanish lawmakers discuss controversial tax on banks, energy companies. euractiv.com

US considers China sanctions to deter Taiwan action, Taiwan presses EU: The United States is considering options for a sanctions package against China to deter it from invading Taiwan, with the EU coming under diplomatic pressure from Taipei to do the same, according to sources familiar with the discussions. Meanwhile, Lithuania’s new representative office in Taiwan has already effectively begun operations, despite criticism from China. The EU Commission is set to unveil its proposal for an EU-wide ban on all products made using forced labour. Despite the EU’s insistence that it is not directly targeting China, Brussels‘ latest proposals will inevitably hit Beijing. reuters.com (Sanctions), reuters.com (Lithuania), euronews.com (Forced labour)

  • China’s charm offensive loses ground in the Baltics. euractiv.de

About 100 troops killed in clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan: Fighting on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan has killed about 100 troops as attacks on both sides fed fears of broader hostilities breaking out between the longtime adversaries. Armenia has said it will appeal to the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) — a security bloc of former Soviet states — as well as the UN Security Council. The EU and the US called for an end to the fighting. theguardian.com, dw.com

New rules for companies to help limit global deforestation: To fight global climate change and biodiversity loss, the EU Parliament demands companies ensure that products sold in the EU do not come from deforested or degraded land. MEPs also want companies to verify that goods are produced in accordance with human rights provisions in international law and respect the rights of indigenous people. europarl.europa.eu

EU explores closer trade ties with Saudi Arabia: EU Council President Charles Michel spoke with Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman in Jeddah. During Michel’s one-day visit, the topics of climate change and energy security were also discussed. In addition, the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia was addressed. faz.net

Brexit: EU offers to reduce Northern Ireland border checks to a couple of lorries a day. theguardian.com
WHO estimate: At least 17 million people in Europe have had long Covid. ft.com
Covid vaccine: EU regulator backs latest Omicron-targeting COVID vaccine. politico.eu

Rising inflation: European lawmakers expected to approve EU-wide minimum wage for workers. euronews.com
Closed-door meeting: EU Parliament deflects cronyism cries as it appoints top civil servant. politico.eu
Irregularities in public tenders: EU Commission threatens Hungary with withdrawal of budget funds. faz.net
State Trojan investigation committee: EU Commission conceals how often it was hacked. netzpolitik.org

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Grief is the price we pay for love.”

US President Joe Biden quoted the late Queen Elizabeth II in a speech Sunday remembering the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. politico.com

NATION

Hungary enshrines fetal heartbeat abortion law: Hungarian women seeking an abortion will be obliged to listen to the fetal heartbeat before they can access the procedure, according to a new decree issued by the government of the far-right prime minister Viktor Orbán. The amendment, which was published late on Monday, will go into effect on Thursday. Under the new law, doctors must issue a report that records that the pregnant woman was presented with the factor indicating the functioning of fetal vital functions in a clearly identifiable manner. dw.com, theguardian.com

Serbia bans its first staging of EuroPride rally: Serbian authorities have banned EuroPride, the pan-European gathering of the LGBTQ community due to be held in Belgrade on Saturday, sparking an outcry from organisers. EuroPride is held in a different country every year, and this would have been Serbia’s first time hosting the event. theguardian.com

Sweden election: Right-wing bloc starts talks to form new government: The anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats have already started talks with other right-wing parties about forming the Nordic country’s next government. The Moderates have traditionally been Sweden’s leading conservative political party but were out-polled in Sunday’s election by the Sweden Democrats who got 20.6% of the vote. euronews.com

Italy will elect a new parliament on 25 September: Polls have consistently shown that a rightist coalition led by the nationalist Brothers of Italy party and also involving the League party and Forza Italia is on course for a clear victory. The right has been helped by divisions in the centre-left where attempts by the main Democratic Party (PD) to form a broad electoral alliance fell apart. reuters.com

Germany seeks talks with Switzerland on controversial nuclear waste site: The German government on Monday said it would not be sending nuclear waste to a planned Swiss repository close to the border with Germany, and that it was seeking talks on the issue. Berlin, which had already criticized Switzerland’s proposal to build a nuclear waste repository so close to the border, said Germany was examining the plans in detail. dw.com

Belgium’s largest-ever trial opens over 2016 Brussels terror attacks: Six years after Belgium’s deadliest peacetime attack, a Brussels court is hosting a landmark trial that survivors hope will mark a step forward in their recovery and that of their nation. The case against alleged members of an Islamic State (Isis) group cell that launched both the March 2016 suicide bombings in Brussels and the November 2015 attacks in Paris began on Monday. france24.com

Former Czech PM Babis goes on trial: A Prague court has opened a trial in which former Prime Minister Andrej Babis, the leader of the Czech Republic’s most popular party, is accused of involvement in fraud related to European Union subsidies. The allegations have dogged the billionaire for a significant part of his political career – and contributed to his ouster from power last year. Babis has rejected all charges as an attack orchestrated by his political rivals. bloomberg.com

Slovakia’s president appoints new ministers in minority government. reuters.com
UK unemployment hits lowest since 1974 but jobs boom is fading. reuters.com
Albanians up in arms over oil burning power plants off coast of tourist hotspot. euractiv.com

Greece: Macron-Mitsotakis dinner stays clear of Predator wiretapping scandal. euractiv.com
Athens justifies itself: Only warning shots fired at suspicious ship. rnd.de
France: 400 hectares burned in Saumos as firefighters battle to control blaze. euronews.com

NUMERS

The cost of gas and electricity across Europe has risen by 38% compared to last year. euractiv.de

AT LEAST

France’s Eiffel Tower to go dark earlier to save energy: Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced that the French capital would start switching off the lights of its monuments earlier than usual. Ornamental lights illuminating the Eiffel Tower will now go dark after 11:45 p.m. Lights will also go out as early as 10:00 p.m. for public buildings across Paris. Street lights, however, will not be restricted for public safety. Unlike its neighbours, France is less affected by the reduction of Russian gas. However, the country that was typically an exporter of energy has been forced to import power due to a record number of nuclear reactor outages. dw.com