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In today’s news from the Capitals:
The victory of pro-Putin Robert Fico in Slovakia’s elections pleased Budapest, which saw an ally coming to power but caused concern among pro-EU forces. Although the formation of a government is still to be seen, calls for Europe to “wake up” are increasing amid mounting fears over AI misinformation campaigns. Read more.
EU Greens court Yolanda Diaz in Madrid, as Left keeps careful distance. The European Greens closed ranks with the leftist coalition Sumar on 29-30 September to set an alliance ahead of EU elections, while the European Left kept its distance to not anger Spanish radical left parties. Read more.
Terry Reintke top contender to lead European, German Greens in EU election. Co-president of the Greens group in the EU Parliament, Terry Reintke, is the top contender to lead the German and European Greens into the EU election, which would put her in the race to become European Commission president. Read more.
Vilimsky set to remain leader of Austria’s far-right in Brussels. Far-right networker Harald Vilimsky is set to once again become the lead candidate of the Freedom Party in the 2024 elections, party chief Herbert Kickl announced on Sunday, adding that he could image no better candidate than him. Read more.
Former Dutch FM Hoekstra under fire for silencing Qatar criticism. Former Foreign Minister and aspiring EU Climate Chief Wopke Hoekstra is facing mounting criticism after it was revealed that the foreign ministry went out of its way to silence any criticism of Qatar before and during the FIFA World Cup in the country last year, Trouw reported on Friday. Read more.
Meloni denies rumours of technocrat government. There have been whispers in Italy that Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government could fall and make way for a technocrat government similar to the one that in 2011 was led by Mario Monti, a politician and economist close to European institutions, something Meloni called a ‘conspiracy’. Read more.
Sanchez waits on PM news – or else Spain will face another election. The next month will be crucial for Spaniards to know whether incumbent Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has enough support to continue in his role or whether the country will have to head to the polls once again. Read more.
Malta flag-carrier to close after failed EU aid bid, mismanagement, corruption allegations. The Maltese government is set to announce the closure of national airline Air Malta on Monday, following years of cost-cutting measures, claims of mismanagement, and corruption, but is set to launch a budget airline in its place. Read more.
The ‘Third Way’ to determine PiS dominance in Polish politics. Although most analysts focus on the fight between the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party and the opposition Civic Coalition (KO) bloc ahead of the Polish elections, PiS internal surveys estimate that the electoral performance of the “Third Way” – a small coalition of parties formed last April – may ultimately be the game changer. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
Kosovo FM: EU warned security risks, dismissed as ‘excuse’ to get out of dialogue. Kosovo had repeatedly sounded the alarm about the movement of arms and weapons in north Kosovo along with security concerns, but they were interpreted as Pristina trying to find a way out of the EU-backed Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, according to Foreign Minister Donika Gervalla-Schwartz in an exclusive interview. Read more.
Angry miners continue to block roads in Bulgaria over plans to abandon coal. Bulgarian miners who are blocking highways and key roads in southern Bulgaria in a protest against the government – which officially submitted their territorial Just Transition Plans to the EU Commission on Friday – continued for the third day, with unions refusing to appear at the Council of Ministers for negotiations with Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov on Sunday. Read more.
Romanian defence system detects unauthorised airspace entry, citizens alerted. The radar surveillance system of the Romanian Army identified potential unauthorised access into its national airspace on Friday night, prompting alerts to citizens near the Ukrainian border about potential falling aerial objects. Read more.
Vucic: Serbia does not want war with Kosovo. Serbia’s army has no intention of going over the administrative line with Kosovo as an escalation of the conflict would be counterproductive to Serbia’s desire to join the EU, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told Financial Times, despite amassing troops at the border over the weekend. Read more.
EU: Commission President Ursula von der Leyen meets Parliament President Roberta Metsola; Receives Manfred Weber, Iratxe Garcia-Perez and Stephane Sejourne, Chairs of the European People’s Party Group, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and the Renew Europe Groups in the Parliament;
Commission Vice President Vera Jourova speaks with Director General of DigitalEurope Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl;
Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni participates in 12th Recovery and Resilience Dialogue with ECON and BUDG committees of the Parliament, in Strasbourg France;
Commissioner Mairead McGuinness gives keynote speech at the launch of the joint EU/OECD-INFE Financial Competence Framework for Children and Youth in the European Union event;
France: OECD forum on green finance and investment;
Spain: Climate and Energy meeting ahead of COP28;
Hungary: Prime Minister Viktor Orban meets with Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik;
United Arab Emirates: ADIPEC oil conference takes place;
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Daniel Eck, Alice Taylor, Sofia Stuart Leeson, Sofia Mandilara]