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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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Poland confirms Russian-made missile hit country, EU tells COP27 it will increase climate ambition, Glyphosate temporarily re-approved
European Circle in week 46, 2022
curated by Nina von Schweinitz

EUROPE

Poland confirms Russian-made missile hit country: Poland said early Wednesday that a Russian-made missile fell in the eastern part of the country, killing two people. The exact circumstances of the fatal explosion were unclear, including who fired the missile and from where. The Polish government said it was investigating and raising its level of military preparedness. NATO planned to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the events close to the Ukrainian border. Russia denied any involvement. apnews.com

Lavrov leaves G20 summit early: According to information from Russian state television, the Russian foreign minister’s departure had already been planned in advance for Tuesday evening. No reason was given. A draft declaration by G20 leaders said most members condemned Russia’s war in Ukraine and stressed it was exacerbating weaknesses in the global economy. The G20 members also voiced deep concern over the risks to global food security posed by escalating tensions, and emphasised the need for the independence of central banks to ensure they keep up efforts to curb soaring inflation. tagesschau.de, reuters.com

EU tells COP27 it will increase climate ambition: The European Union plans to update its emissions-cutting target under the Paris climate accord, EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans told the COP27 summit in Egypt. The EU has among the most ambitious climate change policies of major emitters, having committed to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions 55% by 2030, from 1990 levels, and eliminate them by 2050. EU countries and lawmakers are negotiating legislation to deliver those goals, which Timmermans said should be finished by the end of the year. An EU official said the bloc planned to then upgrade its target before next year’s UN climate summit in November 2023. reuters.com

  • EU greenhouse gas emissions higher than last year. handelsblatt.com
  • Climate negotiations are in disarray as COP27 enters its second week. newscientist.com
  • Egyptian-British activist ends hunger strike, family says. dw.com

Russian oil price cap, EU bans to stoke unprecedented uncertainty: Looming EU bans on seaborne exports of Russian crude oil and products along with a G7 price cap on those sales will create unprecedented uncertainty for oil markets already beset by high prices and deep economic challenges, the International Energy Agency has warned. According to the agency, the approaching EU embargoes on Russian crude and oil product imports and a ban on maritime services will add further pressure on global oil balances, and, in particular, on already exceptionally tight diesel markets. reuters.com

Glyphosate temporarily re-approved: EU member states once again blocked the European Commission’s proposal to extend the marketing authorisation of the herbicide glyphosate for another year, but the Commission is set to still approve an interim renewal before mid-December. The temporary extension of glyphosate marketing authorisation for an extra year was proposed by the Commission since the current authorisation is set to expire in mid-December while the European Food Safety Authority reassessment of the active substance will only become available in July 2023. euractiv.com

German minister targets Iran in appeal to abolish death penalty: German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock singled out Iran for using the death penalty to suppress members of the opposition at a conference which aimed to outlaw the punishment around the world. Baerbock said execution was used especially by authoritarian regimes: „We are experiencing this again in Iran, where a death sentence has now been pronounced against a person who has done nothing other than stand up for their liberal and civil rights.“ She added there was no doubt about what Europe thought of the regime’s brutal repression against its own people, a day after the EU imposed further sanctions on Iran’s leaders. reuters.com

EU Parliament slams Qatari minister for workers’ rights violations: Miguel Urbán Crespo of the left group in the European Parliament called the World Cup in Qatar a “World Cup bathed in blood,” while Social Democrat Lara Wolters called it a “World Cup of shame.” Samira Rafaela of the liberal Renew Europe group criticised the discrimination of women and the criminalisation of homosexuality. Earlier this month, a Qatari official caused outrage by calling homosexuality “damage in the mind” in an interview with ZDF, a German public broadcaster. euractiv.com

Agreement on EU annual budget 2023: Total commitments are set at €186.6 billion. This is an increase of 1.1% compared to the 2022 budget as amended. €0.4 billion have been kept available under the expenditure ceilings of the multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027, allowing the EU to react to unforeseeable needs. consilium.europa.eu

EU launches training mission for Ukraine: The aim of the mission is to enhance the military capability of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to allow them to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognised borders, as well as to protect the civilian population. The EU reiterated its support to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, and its legitimate right to defend itself against the Russian aggression. consilium.europa.eu

  • Europeans have delivered weapons and equipment worth at least eight billion euros reuters.com
  • EU to provide 500 million euros for short-term arms procurement esut.de
  • European Commission announces €210 million in food assistance for most vulnerable worldwide ec.europa.eu
  • EU starts reviewing principles for relations with Russia euractiv.com

USA: Former Republican President Donald Trump says he’s launching another White House bid cnn.com
Belarusian opposition leader Tikhanovskaya has met with EU foreign ministers spiegel.de
Albanian prime minister: Western Balkans need EU help this winter, beyond euractiv.com
Airbnb and others: EU’s rulebook on short-term rentals puts evidence-based policymaking to the test euractiv.com
Passports, currency and borders: What changes when Croatia joins the Schengen zone in 2023? euronews.com

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

„Don’t let anybody tell you, here or outside, that the EU is backtracking.“

The European Union is ready to update its emissions-cutting target, climate policy chief Frans Timmermans told the COP27 summit in Sharm el-Sheikh on Tuesday. reuters.com

NATION

Climate activists throw black liquid at famous painting in Vienna: Climate activists in Austria on Tuesday attacked the 1915 painting “Death and Life” by artist Gustav Klimt with a black, oily liquid. After throwing the liquid on the painting, which wasn’t damaged, one activist was pushed away by a museum guard while another glued his hand to the glass over the painting’s frame. Different activist groups have staged numerous climate protests in recent months, including blocking streets and throwing mashed potatoes at a Claude Monet painting in Germany. cnbc.com

France to deport 44 migrants after row with Italy: France said it will deport 44 migrants who disembarked in the country last Friday on board an NGO rescue ship, after Italy refused to let them dock at one of its ports. The migrants whose asylum applications have been rejected will be returned to their country of origin as soon as their health allows, the country’s interior minister said. About a third of the migrants whose asylum requests are accepted would be hosted by France and Germany. A number of other EU countries have volunteered to take in the remainder. The NGO ship has caused a significant row between France and Italy, after the latter’s newly voted far-right government categorically refused to allow it to dock at one of its ports. dw.com

Germany nationalises Sefe to secure gas supply: Germany will nationalise gas importer Sefe, formerly known as Gazprom Germania, the economy ministry said on Monday, in a move to protect it from bankruptcy and force Russia out of the company. The step was necessary to ensure the nation’s energy supply, the ministry said, with Sefe threatened by insolvency after a plunge in Russian imports inflicted billions of euros in losses on it as the company and other gas importers turned to the expensive spot market to source gas elsewhere. reuters.com

Energy crisis puts global climate measures to the test: Halfway through the COP27 UN climate summit in Egypt, the latest Climate Change Performance Index shows where countries stand in terms of climate protection measures. Right at the top: Denmark, Sweden and Chile. As in previous years, the first three places in the ranking remain empty — no single country is doing enough to meet the Paris climate protection targets agreed in 2015 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), compared to pre-industrial times. dw.com

Netherlands to ban laughing gas from January: The ban makes it illegal to buy, sell or own the gas. However, the authorities say it can still be used for medicinal purposes and in the food industry. Nitrous oxide, which is inhaled from a balloon that has been filled by a cylinder, has become increasingly common as a recreational drug. bbc.com, theguardian.com

UK withdraws troops from Mali early blaming political instability: The UK is withdrawing troops from Mali earlier than planned due to political instability in the country, Defence Minister James Heappey has said. Since 2020 around 300 British soldiers had been in the country as part of a UN mission to protect the local population from Islamist extremism. Heappey said two coups in Mali in three years had undermined efforts. He also criticised the current Malian government for working with the Russian mercenary group Wagner. bbc.com

Spanish truckers start new strike to protest regulation, cost of living: An informal group of Spanish truck drivers, whose protests earlier this year paralysed the country, started a new strike early on Monday to demand changes to road freight regulations and protest at the rising cost of living. reuters.com

Germany must overhaul its national security strategy, interior minister says politico.eu
France plans to build two nuclear power plants n-tv.de
Corruption in Spain: Former head of government of Andalusia must go to prison faz.net
Romania: Controversial new justice laws come into force this Wednesday t-online.de
Italy outlaws facial recognition tech, except to fight crime reuters.com
UK: King Charles moves to allow Princess Anne and Prince Edward to be stand-ins for him cbsnews.com

NUMERS

In the third quarter of 2022, seasonally adjusted GDP increased by 0.2% both in the euro area and in the EU, compared with the previous quarter, according to a flash estimate published by Eurostat. ec.europa.eu

AT LEAST

Prince Philip considered suing Netflix over episode of ‚The Crown‘: According to The Sunday Times, Prince Philip seriously considered suing Netflix for airing an episode in „The Crown“ that implied he was blamed for his older sister’s death. The episode is titled „Paterfamilias“ and portrays the death of Philip’s older sister Princess Cecilie, who died alongside her newborn baby in a plane crash in 1937. insider.com