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In today’s news from the Capitals:
BRATISLAVA | BUDAPEST
One in five French public hospital beds are unavailable due to a labor shortage crisis. One in five hospital beds are currently unavailable in French public hospitals, according to the newspaper Release revealed Wednesday, referring to an investigation conducted earlier this month by the president of the scientific council, Jean-François Delfraissy. The government had already promised to take measures to deal with this labor shortage crisis. Read more.
The German “traffic coalition” is already functioning. Even though the German parties are negotiating the “traffic light” coalition of the social democrat SPD, the Greens and the pro-business Liberals FDP, they have already started working together in the Bundestag. Read more.
Austria supports the EU’s bid to bring chip production back to Europe. Austria supports the has planned an EU chip law that aims to bring semiconductor production back to Europe, Minister of Digital and Economic Affairs Margarete Schramböck, who also presented her vision of what the new strategy should look like, announced. Read more.
UNITED KINGDOM AND IRELAND
Brexit will mean a bigger economic blow than Covid. Brexit will hit the UK economy harder than the coronavirus pandemic in the long run, the chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility said on Wednesday.
Speaking after Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled the government’s budget for 2022, OBR Chairman Richard Hughes said leaving the EU would reduce the UK’s potential GDP by around 4% long-term. In contrast, the pandemic would reduce GDP “by an additional 2%,” he said.
New estimates suggest the UK economy will return to its pre-pandemic level by the end of this year, faster than expected. (Benjamin Fox | EURACTIV.com)
The Irish government denies that the restrictions will come back despite concerns over rising infections. Pandemic restrictions are unlikely to be reintroduced despite growing concerns over infection rates in Ireland, government ministers said. Read more.
NORDIC AND BALTIC
STOCKHOLM | HELSINKI
Sweden and Finland join forces to increase industrial exports. Assisted by the Ministries of Trade and Industry, Finnish and Swedish companies are embarking on an ambitious common mission to conquer world markets. Behind the new strategy revealed in Stockholm on Tuesday is the realization that Nordic companies are often too small to be successful independently. Read more.
The Italian Senate torpedoed the anti-discrimination bill. After months of debate, compromise and disinformation, a center-right majority in the Italian Senate voted to block the parliamentary process on the so-called “Dof Zan”, a bill that would expand current anti-discrimination laws to protect women, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ + community. Read more.
Second state of alarm also unconstitutional, according to the highest Spanish court. The Spanish Constitutional Court declared on Wednesday October 27 that the second state of alert decreed by the Spanish government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic was unconstitutional. Four of the court’s ten judges opposed the decision. Read more.
The Portuguese Prime Minister is ready for all scenarios after the rejection of the 2022 state budget by Parliament. The government has a “good conscience” after the budget vote and is ready to continue to govern or to go to the elections, according to the decision of the President of the Republic, Prime Minister Antonio costa said Wednesday night. Read more.
COVID-19: Half of Greece in the red. On Wednesday (October 27), Greek health authorities reported 3,651 new cases of coronavirus, a reduction from 4,165 the day before, and 63 deaths, a recent record. Half of the country is now at the epidemiological level “red” while vaccinations remain stagnant at 59%. Read more.
EU Court fines Poland € 1 million per day for non-compliance. As Poland’s row over judicial independence continues to escalate, the EU’s highest court has imposed a daily fine of € 1 million on Warsaw for failing to enforce its summer orders .
On July 14, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) ordered Poland to suspend certain powers of the country’s disciplinary chamber of judges. These powers included the ability to prosecute judges who apply EU law on judicial independence, its power to lift judicial immunity and to retrospectively suspend all decisions already taken. Read more.
The Czech Republic refuses the “Italian way”, says no to the compulsory COVID pass for workers. Representatives of the Czech government, employers and unions refused to impose restrictions on unvaccinated workers, agreeing on Wednesday that such a measure cannot be effectively enforced. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Slovenian Prime Minister Jansa was ordered to pay damages for the “stolen Jewish villa” complaint. Velenje court ordered Prime Minister Janez Janša to pay € 10,000 in damages and apologize to opposition Social Democrats (SD) for claiming party was being exploited from ‘stolen Jewish villa “. Read more.
Bulgaria throws its last reservations in the fight against COVID-19. The Ministry of Health is suspending the planned admission of patients to hospitals, in order to open additional beds to treat patients with COVID-19. The intensive care units, in which more than 600 patients are currently treated, will increase their capacity to 750. Learn more.
The vaccination campaign in Romania is accelerating. Interest in the COVID-19 vaccination has increased dramatically over the past week, amid discussions about making green passes mandatory for certain activities and overcrowded hospitals. Read more.
The Croatian president changes his tone on the euro. Croatia would have more advantages than disadvantages to adopt the euro, President Zoran Milanović reportedly said after meeting his Maltese counterpart, George Vella. Read more.
COVID passes 24/7: Serbian virologist in favor, PM says no. Serbian virologist Dr Milanko Šekler said on Wednesday (October 27) that only 24-hour use of the COVID-19 pass would “make sense.” But Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić said such passes would not be needed at this time. Read more.
CoE: North Macedonia shows its commitment, lack of clarity on decentralization. Political commitment to decentralization is observed in North Macedonia, but more clarity in law and practice is needed to further improve decentralization reform in the country, according to a recommendation adopted by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. Read more.
PRISTINA | BELGRADE
The EU calls for the resolution of the boxing conflict between Kosovo and Serbia. The European Commission has called for the de-politicization of sport after Serbia barred the Kosovo team from participating in the 2021 World Boxing Championship to be held in Belgrade. Read more.
The ruling Albanian party refuses to participate in the investigation into alleged electoral problems. The ruling Socialist Party boycotted, for the third time, Wednesday, October 27, a meeting with a committee set up to investigate possible abuses by central and local public administration ahead of the April general elections. . Read more.
- EU: EU-Moldova Association Council meets in Brussels / NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg meets the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro Đorđe Radulović at NATO Headquarters.
- France: Prime Minister Jean Castex will participate in an interministerial session on research, culture and education in Europe and will meet European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton.
- Austria: Minister of Integration hosts government forum on preventing extremism.
- Belgium: The court hears the request for the Deliveroo runners to be recognized as members of the staff.
- Spain: The Minister of Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, is traveling to Algeria to secure the delivery of gas to the country in winter.
- Greece: German Chancellor Angela Merkel is visiting Greece, where she will meet Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
- Croatia: The government should examine a draft budget revision for 2021 and a draft budget for 2022.
- Serbia: The 13th session of the Serbia-EU Parliamentary Committee for Stabilization and Association, to discuss the current state of accession negotiations and relations between the EU and Serbia. Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi continues his visit to Serbia.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]