Swedish war warnings mocked in Moscow

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In today’s news from The Capitals:


Russian Senator Alexei Pushkov downplayed fears of a possible war in Sweden voiced by some of the country’s top security officials on Tuesday, going so far as to mock the country’s geopolitical weight. Read more.



German transport to be hit by mass strikes as train drivers to protest too. Germany’s train drivers’ union announced the start of nationwide strikes on Wednesday, adding to the traffic chaos as the showdown between farmers and the government over farm subsidies continues. Read more.



France’s Macron appoints new PM, hoping to boost EU campaign. Education Minister Gabriel Attal was appointed France’s prime minister on Tuesday, just months ahead of EU elections, hoping to set a new clear political line after heavy political instability that had sapped President Emmanuel Macron’s popularity. Read more.



Italy’s Salvini rejects EU election bid. Far-right Lega leader and  Transport Minister Matteo Salvini has already rejected running in the upcoming EU elections, though things remain up in the air for the other two party leaders in the ruling coalition, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani. Read more.



Gibraltar chief optimistic EU post-Brexit question to be resolved this year. Gibraltar’s future relationship with the European Union will be decided in the first half of the year, Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo assured on Tuesday, adding that this year will be the year in which an agreement could be reached on a post-Brexit solution. Read more.

Migrants who died trying to reach Spain in ‘deadliest year’ almost tripled. An average of 18 migrants a day, or a total of 6,618, lost their lives trying to reach Spanish shores, a figure that almost tripled compared to the 2,390 deaths recorded in 2022, a report by the NGO Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders) revealed on Tuesday. Read more.



Duda faces decision to pardon MPs, may impact cooperation with new government. President Andrzej Duda faces a difficult decision whether to pardon two sentenced MPs, who were sentenced for their abuse of power in previous posts, once again, a decision that could seriously undermine any chance of successful cooperation with the new government. Read more.



Czechia mulls stricter firearm laws following school shooting. Czech lawmakers will meet with Interior Ministry officials and experts on Wednesday to discuss a possible tightening of gun laws in the wake of the tragic shooting at Charles University on 21 December, in which a student killed 14 people before turning the gun on himself. Read more.



Slovakia pays record-high interest on government bonds. Slovakia is now paying record-high interest rates on government bonds, surpassing even the once-troubled Greece, which is now slowly digging itself out of the abyss of bankruptcy that Slovakia is now inching towards. Read more.



Bulgarian defence minister travels to the US ahead of the key military deal. Bulgarian Defence Minister Todor Tagarev is heading to the US for a five-day trip to meet members of key defence institutions and take stock of the progress on the many deals Bulgaria has signed with US companies with a view of modernising its army, as well as the forthcoming agreement on new 3D radars, Tagarev announced on Tuesday. Read more.



Criminal case filed against far-right AUR party for allegedly corrupting voters. Prosecutors in Ialomiţia, southern Romania, have initiated a criminal case against the far-right AUR party for allegedly corrupting voters by offering them free medical consultations in a caravan. Read more.



Slovenian judges kickstart two-week strike over low wages. Slovenian judges began a two-week protest on Wednesday to express their frustration at the government’s failure to bring their salaries in line with those of the most senior officials in the other two branches of government – a move they said would have them delay proceedings on a case-by-case basis. Read more.



Bosnian Serbs mark controversial ‘national day’. Bosnian Serbs marked on Tuesday their self-proclaimed “national day”, disregarding condemnations and warnings that the holiday violated Bosnia’s constitution and put peace at risk. Read more.



Commission needs ‘more facts’ over detention of Serbian opposition politician. The European Commission is in contact with Serbian authorities regarding the alleged kidnap, arrest and torture of opposition politician Nikola Sandulovic, but they stressed it is important to have all the facts. Read more.


  • EU: Informal meeting of employment and social affairs ministers expected to address social protection & inclusion, stronger social pilar for a stronger economic governance, and more;
  • Commission President Ursula von der Leyen chairs College of Commissioners meeting;
  • Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič hosts President and Chair of the Board of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity Zbynek Boldis and Damian Cortinas;
  • Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski receives delegation of representatives from agricultural organisations AVEC, CEPM, CIBE, COPA-COGECA, and EUWEP;
  • Jobs and Social Rights Commissioner Nicolas Schmit hosts President of Euro App Mobility Jean Arthuis;
  • Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commissioner Iliana Ivanova hosts President of the Lifelong Learning Platform Elisa Gambardella;


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

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