Bratislava and Prague brace for influx of Ukrainian refugees –

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In today’s news from the capitals:


Even a limited conflict in Ukraine will bring tens of thousands of refugees to Slovakia, Defense Minister Jaroslav Nai (OĽaNO) said on Tuesday after the Security Council meeting. If the situation in Ukraine escalates and the worst-case scenario comes true, Prague has offered to send police to the Slovak-Ukrainian border. Read more.



Macron and Scholz pledge not to give up dialogue with Russia. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, who met in Berlin on Tuesday, were keen to project unity in the face of the Ukraine crisis and promised to “keep open all channels of dialogue” with Russia. Read more.



The French Minister of Agriculture puts the examination of pesticide residues on the EU agenda. The French Agriculture Minister’s ambitions to link the upcoming revision of the Pesticides Directive to completely separate legislation on maximum residue limits has confused stakeholders, some of whom see it as a covert way to revise the current framework on pesticide tolerances. Read the full story.



Austria will pilot “green jobs” for the long-term unemployed. As the Austrian labor market recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of long-term job seekers has inspired a new pilot project to offer them “green jobs”. Read more.



Johnson is facing judgment on Partygate. After weeks of revelations about parties hosted by Boris Johnson and his team, senior civil servant Sue Gray is due to release her investigative report into the matter on Wednesday morning. Gray’s report will likely increase pressure on Johnson to resign. Read more.



The Irish government is proposing a bill on the future of remote working. A new bill released by the Irish government will establish a legal framework for employees and employers to negotiate working conditions remotely as a phased return to work after the lockdown is underway this week. Read more.



Sweden is doing everything to stay “out of the war”, says the Foreign Minister. Cooperation with NATO remains close and deep, and Sweden is doing everything to stay out of the war, says Foreign Minister Anne Linde after meeting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Read more.



The Finnish Greens are facing an identity crisis after a poor election result. The Greens are facing an identity crisis as their poor result in the recent county council elections sparked a debate over the future direction of the party. Read more.



COVID-19 related measures have worsened Portugal’s budget deficit. The measures adopted to respond to the impact of the pandemic have worsened Portugal’s budget deficit by around 2.6% of GDP, according to the Parliament’s Technical Budget Support Unit (UTAO), published on Tuesday. Read more.

Portugal slightly less corrupt than last year – anti-corruption index. Portugal improved a position in Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, pointing to an anti-corruption strategy that leaves out political power and the Bank of Portugal. Read more.



Meteorologists denounce the Greek government over the snowstorm disaster. Meteorologists said they had alerted with “great precision” to a snowstorm that has paralyzed the country for three days. Earlier, to justify its unpreparedness, the government had said that the snowstorm had arrived earlier than expected. Read more.



The Swiss group MSC wants to buy Ita Airways with Lufthansa. Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), announced on Tuesday that it had submitted an expression of interest for the takeover of Ita Airways, controlled by the Italian state. Read more.



The IMF predicts robust growth for Spain in 2022. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday maintained its growth forecast for the Spanish economy at 5.8% for 2022, a figure significantly higher than other EU countries such as Germany, France and Spain. Italy. Read more.



The Hungarian government wants teachers to work for free during the strike. With negotiations between the government and teachers’ unions over improved working conditions having failed, Telex reports that teachers are now preparing to strike following the executive’s “absurd” proposals.. Read more.



The Minister of Defense says that it has not been decided to deploy NATO troops in Bulgaria. The government has not decided gathering or deploying forces from NATO or any other country in Bulgaria, Defense Minister Stefan Yanev said on Tuesday during his hearing before the parliamentary defense committee. Let’s reduce tensions, stop reading foreign press and stop speculation, he added. Read more.



President: Croatia will not be involved in the Ukrainian crisis. Croatia would in no way be involved in the Ukraine crisis if it escalated, nor would it send its soldiers if it did, President Zoran Milanović said after visiting the Kraš chocolate factory on Tuesday. Read more.



Romania begins negotiations to join the OECD. The government has welcomed the OECD Council’s decision to open accession talks with Romania, 18 years after the country submitted its application. Read more.



Slovenia’s worst corruption ranking since 2013. Slovenia ranked 41st out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perceptions Index. Down six places from a year ago, it was the country’s worst showing since 2013 – a performance the Justice Ministry dismissed as “not necessarily reflecting the objective situation”. Read more.



Serbia ranks lowest on the Corruption Perceptions Index for the second consecutive year. Serbia scored 38 points in the Corruption Perceptions Index for 2021, maintaining its lowest ranking ever for the second consecutive year, Transparency International said on Tuesday. Read more.


Borrell: No place in the EU for genocide deniers, supporters of war criminals. Senior EU officials Josep Borrell and Oliver Varhelyi on Tuesday hailed Serbia’s progress towards EU membership by opening Group 4 of the accession negotiations. The head of EU diplomacy also warned that there is no place in the EU for those who publicly support genocide, war crimes and war criminals. Read more.



The Croatian President calls on the Croats in favor of sanctions against the traitors of Dodik. President Zoran Milanović once again defended the Serbian member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina tripartite presidency, Milorad Dodik, calling any Croat who votes for EU sanctions against him a traitor. Read more.



Petkov and Kovacevski mark the recent Skopje-Sofia meeting as a success. The Prime Ministers of Bulgaria and North Macedonia, Kiril Petkov and Dimitar Kovačevski met on Tuesday in Sofia in a new attempt to defuse tensions between the two neighbors. Read more.



The pro-Serbian DF wants to join the new Montenegrin government. The pro-Serbian and pro-Russian Democratic Front (DF) would like to be part of the new government that Dritan Abazović, the leader of the URA civic movement, is trying to form, said Andrija Mandić, one of the party leaders. Serbian agency Tanjug. Read more.



A bomb explodes outside the home of the football chief embroiled in a political dispute. A suspected bomb exploded on the night of Monday January 24 at home of the head of the Albanian Football Federation (KSHF), Armand Duka, following threats to his life and a public spat with the mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj over the upcoming elections. Read more.


Albania drops six places in the Corruption Perceptions Index. Albania has fallen in the list of the world’s most corrupt countries, ranking 110 out of 180. This represents a drop of 27 places since 2016 and six places since 2020, according to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2021. Find out more.


  • Germany: Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht receives her British counterpart Ben Wallace for a working meeting, after a reception with military honors.
  • France: Covid restrictions on event capacity limits, mandatory work from home and outdoor masks have come to an end.
  • Luxemburg: The ECJ rules on a complaint by a Polish company concerning Gazprom’s activities in Central and Eastern Europe.
  • Italy: Third day of voting for the election of the new President of the Republic.
  • Bulgaria: The Parliament will hold an extraordinary session on Ukraine. MPs will listen to Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, Defense Minister Stefan Yanev and heads of the State Agency for National Security, State Agency for Intelligence and Military Intelligence.
  • Croatia: A conference on ensuring energy security in the era of rapid decarbonisation is organized by EURACTIV partner Jutarnji List. European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Economy Minister Tomislav Ćorić will participate in the event.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Beginning of negotiations on the electoral law with representatives of the EU and the United States; Visit of a delegation from the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British Parliament.


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

Berta D. Wells