Spain wants EU to handle COVID as ‘common flu’ –

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In today’s news from the Capitals:


The Spanish government has been working for several weeks on a plan to approach the COVID-19 disease as if it were ordinary flu, EURACTIV partner EFE reported, citing El País. Read more.



President of the European Parliament David Sassoli dies. The President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, died on Tuesday in the early hours of a hospital in Italy, his spokesperson announced on Twitter. Read more.



Mega cruise ship builder with facilities in Germany files for bankruptcy. MV Werften, a large shipbuilding company based in the German Land of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and employing around 1,900 workers, filed for bankruptcy on Monday. Read more.



Taubira will run in the French presidential elections if she wins the citizen primary. Former MEP and Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira has announced that she will only stand in the French presidential elections if she is nominated by the People’s Party Primary, a citizens’ initiative. According to her, it represents “the last chance for a possible union of the left”. Read more.



Austria steps up checks on compliance with COVID rules. Starting Tuesday, store and restaurant owners will face intense police checks to see if they are verifying their customers’ COVID certificates. Read more.



The UK banned Huawei because the US told us, former minister. The UK government’s decision to ban Huawei 5G equipment and services “had nothing to do with national security” and was due to US pressure, a former business and industry minister said. Read more.



Ireland is considering compulsory vaccinations. The Irish National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) will consider introducing a mandate on vaccines following the publication of an upcoming article by the Department of Health on the complexity of the problem. Read more.



Swedish Minister of Defense: Russia threatens European security order. Russia’s actions threaten the entire European security order, Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said in a keynote address at Folk och Försvar, an annual meeting of the Swedish security and defense policy community. The minister also spoke about Russia’s demands on NATO and the current situation on the Ukrainian border. Read more.



The Baltic States top the euro area monthly inflation table. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania currently have the highest monthly inflation rates in the euro area, according to the latest Eurostat estimates. Read more.



Cyber ​​attacks against Portuguese organizations increased by 81% in 2021. The average weekly number of cyber attacks against Portuguese organizations increased 81% year-on-year in 2021, with one organization being attacked 881 times per week according to data from Check Point Research. Read more.



Greece silently admits the death of the East Med project. The market, not governments, decide the economic viability of energy projects, the Greek government said in the wake of a US State Department statement suggesting that Washington had lost interest in the EastMed gas pipeline project. Read more.



Surgeries in Italy drop 50 to 80% as intensive care units fill with COVID-19 patients. TThe lack of space in intensive care units (ICUs) caused by the number of COVID-19 patients is causing a deep crisis for surgical activities in hospitals, which have dropped to between 50 and80% as a result. Read more.



The Hungarian minister is certain of the fourth vaccine. Human Resources Minister for Health Miklós Kásler said he was absolutely certain that the need for a fourth vaccination should be taken into account in an interview with InfoRádió on Monday, Telex reported. Read more.



A critic of the government acquitted of insulting the Polish president. The Warsaw Regional Court has decided to stop the trial against the writer Jakub Żulczyk, who called President Andrzej Duda a “moron”. The decision was not well received by the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), of which Duda was a member until 2015. Read more.



Czech farmers fight over CAP strategic plan. Small-scale farmers protest against the EU’s national strategic plan for the implementation of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in Czechia, calling for more sustainable agricultural finance while large-scale farmers oppose last-minute changes . Read more.



Slovaks lose thousands of retirement savings per year. Pension savings are worth hHundreds of millions or more than a billion euros in total are lost every year by Slovaks who invest their money in the second pillar of the pension system. Read more.



The European Commission chooses not to comment on the protests in Tirana. The European Commission has chosen not to comment on the protests that rocked Tirana over the weekend as tensions between two factions of the Democratic Party peaked. Read more.



Bulgaria is concentrating its efforts on the rights of Macedonian Bulgarians. Bulgaria will focus its efforts on protecting the rights of Macedonian Bulgarians in talks with North Macedonia, while Skopje will seek to negotiate the swift lifting of Bulgaria’s veto on EU membership. Read more.



Romania has sold or donated nearly 6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Romania has received more than 28.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since the end of 2020, but less than 60% have been used for its own population. Some 3.5 million doses have been sold to other countries, 2.2 million have been donated and nearly a million of what remains has expired. Read more.



Electricity and gas prices will increase in Croatia. The government and all its ministries are trying to avoid a blow to the standard of living due to the rise in energy prices, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said. Read more.


Unemployment in Croatia has fallen for the ninth consecutive month. At the end of December, 125,715 people were registered with the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ), i.e. 34,130 job seekers or 21.4% less than in December 2020, reported the HZZ. Read more.



Serbian speaker: Harmonization with EU laws should not be scary. Serbia “cannot be hurt” by harmonizing its laws with those of the European Union, Parliament Speaker Ivica Dačić said on Monday, adding that the alignment should give rise to no fear. Read more.


Serbian health expert: COVID passes should be required 24 hours a day. Only a massive deployment of vaccination and the required 24-hour COVID passes could curb and mitigate the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, Colonel Ivo Udovičić, head of the Karaburma military hospital in Belgrade, said on Monday. Read more.



BiH citizens across Europe are protesting against the crisis in the country. Bosnians and Herzegovinians in the UK, Italy, Sweden, Belgium and 14 other countries staged protests for the preservation of peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina, urging the EU to react against those who question the survival of the country, N1 reported. Read more.



Bread prices in Montenegro up 30%. Basic types of bread in Montenegro will cost 65 euro cents, which is 30% more than the previous 50 cents, a bakery business group of the Montenegro Chamber of Commerce decided.

This comes after the Ministry of Economic Development announced at the end of December that it was proposing free price setting for white bread from January 1, 20002.

(Željko Trkanjec |


  • EU / France: President Emmanuel Macron receives European Council President Charles Michel in Paris.
  • Germany: ECB President Christine Lagarde and German Finance Minister Lindner speak at handover ceremony for new Bundesbank President Nagel / Press conference by Minister for Climate Protection and Economy, Robert Habeck.
  • Austria: The FFP2 mask becomes mandatory outdoors in the fight against Covid-19.
  • Switzerland: The World Economic Forum publishes an annual report on global risks.
  • Lithuania: Lithuanian and Taiwanese economy ministers hold joint press conference online.
  • Czechia / Slovakia: Prime Minister Petr Fiala is visiting Bratislava to meet his Slovak counterpart Eduard Heger and Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová. European affairs such as the EU’s eastern borders and the Green Deal are on the agenda.
  • Croatia: Government bargaining committees and union representatives hold meeting on general collective agreement for public sector employeess.


[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]

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