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“Broken” Franco-German tandem needs Tusk and Trump

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In today’s news from The Capitals:

BERLIN | PARIS

As the vital relationship between Franco-German leaders Olaf Scholz and Emmanuel Macron appears “broken”, hopes for a sustainable fix rest on the Weimar Triangle and even the return of an old nemesis. Read more.

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EU INSTITUTIONS

EU’s democratic oversight under scrutiny as Parliament files landmark suit against Commission over Hungary. The European Parliament President, Roberta Metsola, confirmed on Thursday that she had instructed the Parliament’s legal services to file a lawsuit against the European Commission over its decision to unfreeze €10.2 billion in funds for Hungary, but a rocky road lies ahead as Parliament now needs to build a solid case. Read more.

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PARIS

Ukraine: Macron accepts possibility of need for troops in Ukraine. Commenting on his recent statements on the possibility of sending troops to Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron said in a television interview on Thursday that France would “never go on the offensive” but reiterated his goal of making Russia lose. Read more.

France’s Macron faces backlash over U-turn on legal definition of rape. In a video seen by AFP on Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said he was in favour of including the notion of consent in the criminal definition of rape – a significant U-turn, given that France opposed the idea in an EU directive in February. Read more.

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BERLIN

EU delegation of German far-right faces revolt before European Elections. In an unprecedented move, outgoing members in the European Parliament of Germany’s far-right AfD have elected a new delegation chair, defying a direct request by the party leadership not to go through with it. Read more.

NORDICS & BALTICS

COPENHAGEN

Danish government’s plan to extend military service ‘unrealistic’, says union. The government’s recent proposal to extend compulsory military service from four to 11 months is “unrealistic,” mainly due to a lack of capacity, a leading union representing Danish armed forces personnel told Danish media on Thursday. Read more.

EUROPE’S SOUTH

ATHENS

EU prosecutor says Greece obstructing investigation into deadly train accident. EU Chief Prosecutor Laura Kövesi has said the Greek authorities are posing obstacles in her investigation over a train accident last year which killed 57 people, mainly youngsters. Read more.

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ROME

Italian majority split on third term for regional governors. Tensions are rising among the majority parties in Italy’s ruling coalition after a proposal by Matteo Salvini’s Lega (ID) to extend the maximum term of office for regional governors to three years failed to convince the right-wing coalition’s other partners — a move that could reshape the power dynamics within the government and Lega ahead of June’s EU elections. Read more.

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MADRID

Spanish parliament OKs amnesty law, right-wing opposition announces block in Senate. The Spanish parliament has approved a bill that would pardon Catalan separatists who committed unlawful acts between 2012 and 2023, but with the text now heading to the Senate, the party with a majority in the higher house, the right-wing Partido Popular (PP), has said it will try to block the process. Read more.

EASTERN EUROPE

BRATISLAVA

Slovak opposition reignites anti-government protests amid democratic concerns. Anti-government protests organised by Slovakia’s opposition parties, which have attracted tens of thousands of people in recent months, have resumed after a five-week break, citing the government’s constant attacks on Slovak democracy and the country’s reputation. Read more.

NEWS FROM THE BALKANS

BUCHAREST

Romania delays adoption of energy and climate plan, casts doubt on renewable targets. The Romanian government will neither adopt its National Integrated Energy and Climate Change Plan before the expected 30 June deadline nor will the country meet the EU’s renewable energy targets, an energy ministry official said on Thursday. Read more.

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SOFIA

French company likely to supply new radars for Bulgarian army.  French defence company Thales likely won the bid to supply Bulgaria’s army with new 3D surveillance radars for €142 million – a 25% decrease from the €200 million price Thales initially wanted Sofia to pay for them. Read more.

AGENDA:

EU: Commission President Ursula von der Leyen together with Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen meet with Prime Minister of Greenland Múte I. Bourup Egede, in Nuuk, Greenland;
Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič opens “Conference for Mayors on Translating the EU Green Deal into Local Action”, organised by the Belgian Presidency;
Vice President Margrethe Vestager participates in G7 Ministerial Meeting on Technology & Digital, in Trento, Italy;
Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commissioner Iliana Ivanova delivers video message at “Media partnership: Stars4Media Day – ready for AI & Enlargement?” event by Europe MédiaLab and Euractiv;
Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson participates in roundtable discussion with US Chamber of Commerce and representatives of US private sector, Washington D.C., United States; Holds meeting with US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm; Participates in EU-US Energy Council meeting;
Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski participates in press conference at Europa Experience on “The latest Commission response to farmer concerns: reducing administrative burdens further and reinforcing fairness in the food supply chain”, in Warsaw, Poland;
Parliament President Roberta Metsola meets with Parliament of Sweden Speaker Andres Norlén and representatives of political groups; Holds meeting and press conference with Prime Minister of Sweden Ulf Kristersson;
Germany: Chancellor Olaf Scholz, France President Emmanuel Macron, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk hold talks on Ukraine; Chancellor Olaf Scholz hosts European Council President Charles Michel;
Switzerland: Press briefing by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine;
Russia: Presidential election;

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[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson, Sofia Mandilara]

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