Poland: Paris and Berlin congratulate Donald Tusk

Paris (AFP) – On Wednesday, France welcomed the election of pro-European Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Poland, with whom it wants to “move the European Union forward,” according to a statement by the French Foreign Ministry.

“France wishes to work closely with Poland to tackle the challenges facing the EU,” in particular “Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” as well as the energy transition, protection of the rule of law, defence and migration, the statement said.

On Wednesday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also welcomed the election of Donald Tusk, whom he sees as a Prime Minister who wants to “bring Poland back to the heart of the EU.”

“Donald Tusk wants to lead Poland back into the heart of the EU – which is exactly where Poland belongs,” wrote the German leader on X (formerly Twitter), saying he was looking forward to advancing “the EU and German-Polish relations side by side with Poland.” (13 December 2023)

A worker walks in front of th logo of 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28 UAE), which takes place on 30 November until 12 December 2023 in Expo City Dubai. ire
A worker walks in front of the logo of 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28 UAE). Photo: Beata Zawrzel/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

Slovenian Environment Minister Kumer on COP28: We have to start somewhere

Ljubljana (STA) – The agreement reached at the COP28 climate summit does not bring maximum satisfaction, but “it’s the best we could do” to avoid blockade from certain countries, Slovenian Environment minister Bojan Kumer said on Wednesday. Slovenia’s main climate negotiator Tina Kobilšek said the “transition away” from polluting fossil fuels was a key point.

“It is true that the transition away from fossil fuels is limited to energy systems, but you have to start somewhere,” he said. Never before in the history of climate conferences had a text mentioned fossil fuels, said Kumer in his comment on COP28 in Dubai.

“It is crucial that … we start to address and mitigate the climate crisis quickly, within this decade,” Kumer said. He also pointed to the decision on the first day of the conference to create a financial fund for loss and damage resulting from climate change, and on the location of the next climate summit, COP29, which will be Azerbaijan.

“This is a good basis on which we will have to build,” Kumer said, adding that the EU, together with the presidency of the conference, played a key role in the adoption of the agreement. (13 December 2023)

A general view during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
A general view during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Foto: Fred Marvaux/EU Parliament/dpa

European Parliament: Citizens should have EU-wide access to prescriptions

Brussels (dpa) – Germans who need to go to hospital while on holiday in Spain or France, for example, should in the future be able to access prescriptions, laboratory results and medical records – that’s what the European Parliament called for. On Wednesday, MEPs voted by a large majority in favour of storing this information in a so-called European health data space.

The project still has to be finalised with the EU member states. Negotiations are due to begin on Thursday, so that the project can be finalised before the European elections in June of next year. According to Parliament’s position, healthcare professionals would only be able to access their patients’ data if it was necessary for their treatment. In addition, data should be made available to researchers, for example.

The co-chair of the German conservative CDU/CSU group in the European Parliament, Angelika Niebler, described the plan as a quantum leap. “The new digital patient file will make it easy to visit doctors in other member states,” she said. She emphasised that patients could decide for themselves who should have access to their data and which data should remain hidden.

According to Patrick Bayer, MEP for the Pirate Party, there should also be a right to object to an electronic patient file. However, whether this will be enshrined in the final version of the proposal will only become clear in the negotiations with the EU member states. “A compulsory electronic patient file with Europe-wide access entails irresponsible risks of theft, hacking or loss of highly personal treatment data,” Bayer emphasised.

Vehement criticism was voiced by Sylvia Limmer from the German far-right AfD party. She sees “EU fanatics” at work, who want to get their hands on the German healthcare system. She also expressed concerns that the data might not be protected well enough. According to Parliament, there are plans for strict data protection. (13 December)

This is a compilation of the European coverage of enr news agencies. It is published Tuesdays and Fridays. The content is an editorial selection based on news by the respective agency.