Two people were killed and more than a dozen injured when a man opened fire outside a bar popular with the LGBTQ community in Norway's capital, Oslo early Saturday. The annual Pride parade to be held in the city on Saturday was cancelled on advice from the police. The perpetrator, a 42 year old Norwegian citizen of Iranian origin, is charged with murder, attempted murder and terror.
EU leaders at their summit talked of unity in the face of the economic outfall of the war in Ukraine — but amid uncertainty over common solutions.
EU leaders discussed how to guarantee enough gas supplies for next winter at a summit in Brussels — after Russia cut off or reduced gas supplies to 12 member states.
Turbulent times require cooperation between EU members, Belgian prime minister Alexander de Croo told reporters on Friday, "otherwise it could become a very hard winter." He also expressed hopes Germany would move on jointly procuring gas, which would be a solution for the energy crisis, he said. "They have been reluctant so far, but they may now have to slow down their industry. There is no better argument to cooperate."
Bulgarian MPs have voted by 170 against 37 to lift a veto on starting North Macedonia accession talks, but under strict conditions that might be hard for Skopje to swallow. These include amending the constitution to mention a Bulgarian minority and concessions on the historical origins of the Macedonian language. The parliament in Skopje will also have to vote on the deal, if prime minister Dimitar Kovačevski calls a vote.
Lativan prime minister Krišjānis Kariņš told reporters on Friday Nato needs to expand operations in the Baltics for Latvia to "feel safe." The current defense posture allows Russia to occupy part of the country, after which Nato would come in to liberate the country. "Russians will leave nothing behind. They destroy infrastructure; they rape women; they deport civlians, this can't be tolerated. We need a brigade-size Nato force," he said.
The body governing the Energy Charter Treaty launched Friday its "agreement in principle" over the modernisation of this controversial trade deal, ending two-year-long negotiations. The outcome of the talks was slammed by campaigners, who argue that the treaty may potentially be in breach of EU law and international commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement. Under the deal, fossil-fuel investments will be protected in the EU for decades.
After Covid-19 restrictions were partially eased last year, carbon emissions from EU energy use grew 6.3 percent compared with the 2020, according to Eurostat figures. The biggest increases were in Bulgaria, Estonia, Slovakia and Italy, while only Portugal and Finland recorded emissions decline. Carbon emissions from electricity generation, industry, transport and other energy uses are a major contributor to global warming, accounting for about 75 percent of EU total emissions.
EU leaders have granted "candidate" status to Ukraine and Moldova at a summit marked also by Western Balkan frustration.
The Hungarian hacking allowed Russian intelligence to read 'over the shoulder' of an EU member state for an extended period of time. The difficulty for the EU is that it's not one nation, but a combination of 27 cybersecurity policies.
We now have French president Emmanuel Macron's "European Political Community", European Council president Charles Michel's "European Geopolitical Community", and former Italian PM Enrico Letta's "European Confederation" — among others.
Germany took a step closer to rationing gas after a drop in supplies from Russia. Nine days ago gas supply through the Nord Steam 1 pipeline was reduced by 60 percent, and on Thursday Germany triggered the second stage of its national gas emergency plan. "We are in a gas crisis," economy minister Robert Habeck said. "From now on, gas is a scarce commodity."
Albanian prime minister Edi Rama said Thursday that it was a "disgrace" that the bloc could not overcome Bulgaria's veto over accession talks for North Macedonia and Albania. "It's a disgrace that a Nato country, Bulgaria, kidnaps two other Nato countries, Albania and North Macedonia, in the midst of a hot war in Europe's backyard with 26 other EU countries sitting still in a scary show of impotence," he said.
North Macedonia's prime minister Dimitar Kovacevski on Thursday said "what has happened is a serious blow to the credibility [of] the European Union," referring to the lack of progress in his country's EU accession because of a veto from Bulgaria. The veto has been in place since 2020 over a dispute relating to history and language. Albania is also being held back because the EU has linked the two processes.
MEPs have renewed their calls on the EU to prepare a withdrawal from the Energy Charter Treaty, which they say threatens the bloc's climate objectives.
Finland, Sweden, and Turkey are edging toward a deal on the Nordic countries joining Nato, Helsinki has indicated.
In Brussels, both diplomats and MEPs think Hungary is opposing the tax agreement to put pressure on the EU over ongoing rule-of-law conflicts.
Frontex won't reveal how it complies with rights when it returns rejected asylum seekers from Hungary. The Warsaw-based agency had suspended other operations in Hungary after the EU court in 2020 told Budapest to stop abusing migrants.
Finland sees no sign of a Russian military build up around Kaliningrad and Lithuania in their dispute on transit of EU-sanctioned goods. "Russia has taken units from the Kaliningrad area and [nearby] Suwalki area, so they don't really have a military capability or presence. We haven't seen any changes in their posture, so we think it's highly unlikely they'd go into any military aggression," a senior Finnish diplomat said Thursday.
German chancellor Olaf Scholz told businessmen at an aviation trade fair in Berlin Wednesday Europe was ready to move to carbon-neutral air travel. "What's good for the climate can at the same time be an asset for Germany as an industrial location," he said at the opening of the ILA Berlin Air Show. The industry should first shift from kerosene to biofuels and then to hydrogen-powered engines, he said.