The Capitals brings you the latest news from across Europe, through on-the-ground reporting by EURACTIV’s media network. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.
***Before you start reading today’s edition of the Capitals, feel free to have a look at the op-ed “Press Freedom and Europe: Wolves, vultures, trolls… plus knights and journalists” written by Christophe Leclercq, who established Fondation EURACTIV and the EURACTIV media network.
To stay up-to-date on everything to do with the coronavirus across the capitals, feel free to check out EURACTIV’s comprehensive overview, which is regularly updated with the help of our network of offices and media partners.
In search of €7.5 billion. European leaders are backing an initiative from Brussels to raise €7.5 billion euros to find a vaccine to curb the global coronavirus pandemic via an online pledging conference due today (4 May). Read more.
Summer holidays still alive. This year’s tourist season can still be saved as long as EU countries apply common rules and coordinate, Eduardo Santander, executive director of the association European Travel Commission (ETC), told EURACTIV.com in an interview. Sarantis Michalopoulos reports.
In today’s news from the Capitals:
BUCHAREST. Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó described Romanian President Klaus Iohannis’ recent statements as “specifically uncivilised and conducive of inciting hatred” and asked the head of state to show more respect toward Hungarians living in Romania.
This exchange took place after a draft bill to proclaim the autonomy of Szeklerland – a region in central Romania populated by ethnic Hungarians – was adopted by the Chamber of Deputies (lower house) without being put to vote due to a technicality. Because of the pandemic, the draft bill was automatically passed as it had not been discussed for 45 days.
Iohannis then accused his most powerful opponents, the Socialist Democratic Party (PSD), of conspiring with the Hungarian minority party UDMR, which supports Iohannis, “to give Transylvania to Hungary.” Bogdan Neagu reports from Bucharest.
Brutal attack fuels calls to protect journalists. Four crew members of the satirical news show “Heute Show” were hospitalised after being ambushed by 20 to 25 masked individuals after filming on Friday (1 May) at a so-called “hygiene demonstration” in Berlin, which protests the country’s coronavirus restrictions. Although some of the attackers had reportedly used metal rods, all hospitalised crew members have been discharged and are recovering well. EURACTIV Germany’s Sarah Lawton looks into what happened next.
No quarantine for EU, Schengen area citizens. France said on Sunday that it would not quarantine anyone arriving from the EU, the Schengen area or Britain due to the coronavirus, as it prepares to start easing confinement measures after two months of lockdown, AFP reported.
German government says no to Austrian tourists. After Austria’s conservative Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger (ÖVP) had announced plans to reach a bilateral agreement with Germany to allow tourists to cross the border, the German government voiced some concerns. Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) said that “as long as the virus does not go on vacation, we will also have to limit our travel plans.” Border controls with neighbouring countries, including with Austria, are set to be prolonged, his ministry added.(Philipp Grüll | EURACTIV.de)
More on how Austria has been handling the virus outbreak, here.
Preparedness for a second wave. Belgium is set to start moving out of its lockdown in three phases as of today, but experts are already preparing for a possible second wave. Alexandra Brzozowski has the details.
€100 for everyone? Interior Minister and Left Alliance Chairperson, Li Andersson, has proposed a €100 handout for all citizens to kickstart the economy following the coronavirus health crisis as part of the 1 May rallies, which traditionally serve as a platform for political initiatives, promises and grand gestures from all parties. EURACTIV’s Pekka Vänttinen has the details.
UK AND IRELAND
A staggered return to work. Firms will be encouraged to stagger employees’ working hours as part of the phase-out of the coronavirus lockdown, Transport Minister Grant Shapps has said. Benjamin Fox reports from London.