Portugal: Poland’s unexpected ally on rule of law?

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Before you start reading today’s edition of the Capitals, feel free to have a look at the interview with MEP Udo Bullmann who said “EU needs open channel with Turkey, no ‘wrong compromises’ with Erdogan“.

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In today’s news from the Capitals:

WARSAW | LISBON

Portuguese PM António Costa is reported to have criticised the proposal to have a mechanism linking EU funding with upholding the rule of law – a bone of contention that has prompted Hungary and Poland to veto the EU budget and recovery programme – at the November meeting the Council of the EU, despite making public statements to the contrary, Portuguese daily Publico reports.

BERLIN

Germany’s CDU/CSU, SPD youth wings target the Greens. The youth wings of both the Christian Democrat CDU/CSU and Social Democrat SPD – each considered more partisan than the parties – held conferences over the weekend where they took aim at the Greens who have surged behind the leading CDU/CSU in recent polls.

BRUSSELS

Belgium keeps lockdown over Christmas, with small exceptions. Belgium’s Consultative Committee has decided to open non-essential stores from 1 December, after retailers were forced to close a month ago, for the second time this year. It was, however, more difficult to find a deal on how to celebrate Christmas and the New Years.

PARIS

French protest controversial security law second Saturday in a row. For the second Saturday in a row, French people have beaten the pavement to demand the withdrawal of the so-called “global security law” as it bans the broadcasting of images of police officers in action. The bill was passed on first reading on 24 November by the French National Assembly.

VIENNA

Austrian defence minister tests positive for COVID-19. Austrian Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner (ÖVP) tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday, but has no severe symptoms and is working from home, said her spokesperson. That makes Tanner the second Austrian minister to test positive after the partyless but ÖVP-backed Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg tested positive in October. He is now in good health.

LONDON

England could face third wave if lawmakers do not ‘get balance right’. England could face a third wave of COVID-19 if lawmakers do not “get the balance right” on restrictions to curb the spread of the pandemic, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said. Read more.

HELSINKI

Two-thirds of Finland’s EU stimulus funding allocated to green initiatives. The Finnish government decided on Friday to spend €2.3 billion from its €3.1 billion share of the EU recovery fund on ecological sustainability and cutting climate emissions, exceeding the Commission’s 37% minimum threshold for targeting climate actions.

ROME

Italy defines governance structure for Recovery Fund distribution. The use of the Recovery Fund in Italy will be managed by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri, Economic Development Minister Stefano Patuanelli, and the European Affairs Committee guided by Minister Enzo Amendola. They will carry out their work in cooperation with an executive committee of six managers, who will be selected by the government according to the sectors the recovery fund’s resources will flow into, and supported by a task force of 300 people. The definitive composition of the governance will be defined by a rule in the budget law.

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