Euractiv – Georgi Gotev, Sarantis Michalopoulos and Zeljko Trkanjec / Bulgaria spells out conditions for unblocking North Macedonia’s EU path
- Bulgaria vetoed the decision to open EU accession negotiations with North Macedonia on Tuesday (17 November), a move which indirectly also affects Albania, another Western Balkans candidate which has advanced on its EU path in tandem with Skopje.
- Bulgaria officially uses the full name ‘Republic of North Macedonia’, instead of the shorter version ‘North Macedonia’, to avoid confusion with the geographic term of Macedonia, comprising Aegean Macedonia in Greece, Vardar Macedonia in the Republic of North Macedonia, and Pirin Macedonia in Bulgaria.
- As the first condition, Zaharieva said Bulgaria does not accept the mention of ‘Macedonian languages’ in the negotiating framework but would accept the formulation “the official language of the Republic of Northern Macedonia”. Bulgaria also wants an explicit text in the roadmap saying that claims for a Macedonian minority in Bulgaria will not be supported in any form.
- Sofia considers the language of its neighbour a dialect of Bulgarian, although it admits the language of the neighbouring country had been modified under the Serb influence in Yugoslavia after 1947. “Macedonian identity and language are non-negotiable”, was one of the first reactions from the government in Skopje after the news of the Bulgarian veto.
- Politico – Jacopo Barigazzi / Bulgaria blocks EU membership talks for North Macedonia
The New York Times – David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth / Trump fires Christopher Krebs, official who disputed election fraud claims
- President Trump on Tuesday night fired his administration’s most senior cybersecurity official responsible for securing the presidential election, Christopher Krebs, who had systematically disputed Mr. Trump’s false declarations in recent days that the presidency was stolen from him.
- The announcement came via Twitter, the same way Mr. Trump fired his defense secretary a week ago and has dismissed other officials throughout his presidency.
- Mr. Trump seemed set off by a statement released by the Department of Homeland Security late last week, the product of a broad committee overseeing the elections, that declared the 2020 election “the most secure in American history.”
- Mr. Krebs, 43, a former Microsoft executive, has been hailed in recent days for his two years spent preparing the states for the challenges of the vote, hardening systems against Russian interference and setting up a “rumor control” website to guard against disinformation.
- The Washington Post – Ellen Nakashima and Nick Miroff / Trump fires top DHS official who refuted his claims that the election was rigged
Financial Times – Martin Arnold, Miles Johnson and Daniel Dombey / Eurozone economy: the struggle to stay afloat until a vaccine arrives
- Across Europe, varying degrees of national lockdowns have been reintroduced to try to contain the resurgence of the pandemic, which is once again threatening to overwhelm public healthcare systems.
- Restaurants, bars, gyms, cinemas and theatres have been forced to close and curfews are in force across the region, while France, Ireland and Belgium have closed non-essential shops — prompting uproar from independent shopkeepers.
- Even though the new restrictions are milder than in the spring and most schools and factories are staying open this time, the measures are still expected to cause another downturn in the economy, which remains well below pre-pandemic levels despite a strong third-quarter rebound.
- The resulting economic pain could have big consequences, especially for services companies such as restaurants, hotels and airlines that rely on human contact and have borne the brunt of the crisis.
- The Atlantic – Ed Yong / ‘No one is listening to us’
Bloomberg – Tim Ross, Alex Morales and Jess Shankleman / U.K.’s new green plan backs 250,000 jobs and bans gas car sales
- U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a 12 billion-pound ($15.9 billion) plan to boost green industries and tackle climate change, in a blueprint he says will create or support as many as 250,000 jobs.
- Under the wide-ranging proposals, sales of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030, the government will back investment in electric vehicles, hydrogen, wind and nuclear power, and measures to make homes more energy efficient.
- Britain is due to host next year’s COP26 global climate change summit in Scotland and has committed to a net zero carbon economy by 2050. The premier also intends to use his commitment to tackling climate change to help build a strong partnership with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden.
- A U.K. government spokeswoman said the plan included at least 3 billion pounds of new government spending. The government will invest 1.3 billion pounds on speeding up the roll-out of charging points for electric vehicles in residential streets, homes and highways in England.
- The Guardian – Jillian Ambrose / UK ban on new fossil fuel vehicles by 2030 ‘not enough’ to hit climate targets
- The Economist – Tom Standage / Ten trends to watch in the coming year