- EU leaders are expected to grant the candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova when they gather in Brussels for their summit on 23-24 June, but also make clear that conditions set by the European Commission would have to be met before opening accession talks.
- The decision, unprecedented as Ukraine has suffered a Russian invasion since 24 February and does not control its entire territory, represents clear political backing for the war-torn country, which is expected to be matched by pledges of further economic and military support. The EU27, however, not decide on further sanctions against Russia this time.
- Moldova is also likely to get the nod, but Georgia is expected to be left out and will have to put in some work before receiving EU candidate status.
- Likewise, no progress is expected on the long-stalled enlargement process in the Western Balkans, where two official candidates, North Macedonia and Albania, are being held back by a Bulgarian veto on Skopje.
- Atlantic Council – Peter Dickinson / What would EU candidate status mean for Ukraine?
Euractiv – Nikolaus J. Kurmayer / Tired EU Parliament agrees carbon pricing compromise ahead of Council clash
- The European Parliament has adopted a common position on the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) reform and the bloc’s forthcoming carbon border tax (CBAM) following a compromise between the biggest parties.
- Just two weeks ago, the Socialists & Democrats (S&D) pulled the rug out under the European People’s Party at the last minute, collapsing the ETS compromise crafted by rapporteur Peter Liese (EPP).
- Tensions and name-calling ensued, followed by tense negotiations to find a new compromise as fast as possible to be ready for the parliament’s real fight: holding the line in talks with the Council.
- It was thus a tired group of EU parliamentarians briefing the media ahead of a vote that was largely a formality following the compromise.
- Politico – Zia Weise / EU Parliament’s climate champion role in doubt after key vote
The Economist / An earthquake kills hundreds in Afghanistan
- Afghans were already being tormented by hunger, poverty and the aftermath of war when, in the early hours of June 22nd, disaster struck once more. A 5.9-magnitude earthquake centred in the south-eastern province of Khost, on the border with Pakistan, destroyed homes and triggered landslides in Khost and neighbouring Paktika as people slept.
- As dawn broke, pictures showed villages reduced to rubble or demolished by torrents of shifting earth. Residents sifted through piles of crumbled masonry and began digging graves.
- The speed with which the reported death toll rose, even in an area with few communication links, is a sign of how deadly the tremor may have been. Within hours the state news agency had put the number of victims at over 1,000, with a further 1,500 injured. Those figures were expected to rise further, making the quake the country’s deadliest in recent decades.
- “People are digging grave after grave,” said Mohammad Amin Huzaifa, head of Paktika’s information and culture department. “It is raining also, and all houses are destroyed. People are still trapped under the rubble,” he added.
- The Guardian – Shah Meer Baloch / Afghanistan earthquake: Taliban appeal for more aid as death toll set to mount
Financial Times – Guy Chazan / Germany fears ‘maintenance’ shutdown of Russia gas pipeline
- Germany’s government fears Russia could take advantage of annual maintenance on its main export pipeline to shut off gas supplies to the country completely, increasing the risk of a winter energy crisis in Europe’s largest economy.
- Earlier this month Russia cut the flow of gas through Nord Stream 1 by 60 per cent. The pipeline, one of the main conduits for Russian gas into Europe, will be shut down for around two weeks from mid-July for annual summer work on it.
- Officials say they worry that Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas giant, might stop gas deliveries completely while NS1 is closed for repairs, undermining Germany’s efforts to fill gas storage ahead of the winter heating season. “The supply situation is tight enough without NS1 being shut down,” said one.
- Carsten Rolle of the BDI, Germany’s business confederation, said that during previous periods of scheduled maintenance on NS1 Gazprom had made up the shortfall by sending Germany more gas through Ukraine, or via the Yamal-Europe pipeline through Poland.
- The Guardian – Alex Lawson / What happens if Russia turns off Europe’s gas supply this winter?
Today’s longer reads :
- Foreign Affairs – Vladislav Zubok / Can Putin survive?
- Financial Times – Andres Schipani and Emiko Terazono / ‘People are hungry’: food crisis starts to bite across Africa