News from the Capitals #25
Europe is a colourful continent in terms of policies and outcomes. It is essential to stay updated on how these policies may impact your work to build better regulatory frameworks, enhance your message and enhance communication with stakeholders. Here you can find a summary of the major European political updates of this week.
The focus remains on the Russian war against Ukraine. Following domestic and political criticism, the government has relaxed some requirements for Ukrainian refugees to enter the country and now includes all close relatives of Ukrainian residents in the UK. There is also growing pressure from the political sphere for British companies to divest from stakes in Russian state-backed organisations. Notably, BP has agreed to sell off its 20% share in Rosneft.
Since Saturday, there have been more vans in the town square on the border with Germany loading up with supplies. The next group of Ukrainian volunteers is leaving this week and will take further donations with them. The organizers of the aid drive have said that the campaign will continue and will also try to meet the needs of refugees arriving in the German-Polish border area. Last Saturday, the government announced that it would be delivering 1,000 rocket-propelled grenades and 500 Stinger surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine. The government further announced that it would no longer stand in the way of efforts to boot Russia out of the SWIFT international payment system. Natural gas deliveries from Russia have yet to be suspended, but it was a major shift.
Gerhard Schröder - a member of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the head of Germany's government from 1998 to 2005 - who works for oil giants Gazprom and Rosneft, has been pressed to disavow the war in Ukraine. His silence has caused some of his staff to quit in protest and business partners are distancing themselves. The news of his staff's quitting was followed by several other companies and partners dropping their projects with Schröder (Borussia Dortmund, DFB).
On his first tour of Israel as German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz spoke alongside Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. The war in Ukraine has overshadowed the visit, which was planned before Russia's invasion.
German football club Schalke 04 has confirmed they are canceling their partnership with Russian state-owned sponsor Gazprom. It comes in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine under orders from President Vladimir Putin.
On Wednesday evening, the President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech on television. Macron talked about the consequences of the war on the French economy. However, the President did not mention whether he would be a candidate for the French elections.
Faced with the crisis, the President had set himself the goal of "reassuring and protecting". President Macron wishes to announce in the next few days an "economic and social resilience plan" to face the rise in raw material prices. The Cabinet of Prime Minister, Jean Castex will be in charge of implementing an economic resilience plan.
After the great internal crisis suffered in the main opposition party, the leader of the party, Pablo Casado has called for an extraordinary congress to be formed and everything points to the fact that there will be no primaries but that Alberto Nuñez Feijoo, President of the Galician community will be the only candidate.
On the other hand, a controversy has arisen on the part of the central government. The government is formed by the coalition of the Socialist Party and Unidas Podemos (communist party), plus the parties that supported the legislature. Three of these parties including Izquierda Unida and Bildu voted in Parliament against Ukraine being granted EU membership. Although the party Unidad Podemos refused to allow the government of Spain to send arms to Ukraine, Pedro Sánchez defended sending arms only through the European mechanism on Monday. Pedro Sánchez further announced this Wednesday in Congress the direct sending of "offensive military material to the Ukrainian resistance". This has caused the Podemos ministers to split with the rest of the Executive.