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News on Europe - May 2020

 
29 May 2020
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Image Source: European Commission


European leaders are in no mood to follow the United States in threatening trade sanctions against China as it moves to tighten its grip on Hong Kong. Despite growing tensions over the US trade sanctions against China, German Chancellor Angela Merkel insists she still wants the EU to reach an investment agreement with China this year. European foreign ministers will meet on Friday to try to work out a common position on China after the national security laws on Hong Kong is approved.

Read more: https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-hong-kong-trade-china-agreement/

 

Related articles:

https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3086620/eu-not-mood-follow-donald-trump-china-conflict-over-hong-kong

https://www.france24.com/en/20200528-china-s-parliament-backs-controversial-hong-kong-security-law

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hongkong-protests/china-parliament-advances-hong-kong-security-law-as-us-tensions-rise-idUSKBN2340FZ




28 May 2020

Image Source: European Commission
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On 27 May, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented her proposal of a €750 billion recovery fund as the best possible package – €500 billion in grants; €250 billion in loans. She said that EU members were in agreement on broad principles, but some of the items that are yet to be agreed are hardly trivial.

Commission officials said a key advantage of von der Leyen's proposal is that the money borrowed by the EU and distributed as grants would not add to the national debt of countries struggling to recover.

Read more: https://www.politico.eu/article/ursula-von-der-leyens-big-gamble-with-borrowed-money/

 

Related articles:

https://euobserver.com/coronavirus/148490

https://www.euronews.com/2020/05/27/eu-commission-set-to-unveil-trillion-euro-coronavirus-recovery-plan

https://www.euractiv.com/section/economy-jobs/news/commission-puts-forward-massive-e750bn-stimulus-against-corona-crisis/

https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/news/do-no-harm-eu-recovery-fund-has-green-strings-attached/

https://www.euractiv.com/section/digital/news/commission-mulls-digital-tax-to-fund-europes-multi-billion-euro-recovery/

https://www.euronews.com/2020/05/27/ursula-von-der-leyen-europe-s-next-generation-will-benefit-from-stimulus-package

https://www.neweurope.eu/article/von-der-leyen-unveils-e750-billion-recovery-fund/

https://www.france24.com/en/20200527-eu-commission-proposes-%E2%82%AC750-billion-recovery-fund-in-wake-of-covid-19-crisis

https://www.dw.com/en/european-commission-unveils-750-billion-recovery-plan/a-53584998

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/speech_20_941

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20200526IPR79817/eu-future-at-stake-meps-broadly-welcome-commission-s-recovery-package-proposals



27 May 2020

 

Following a teleconference on Tuesday (26 May), European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to work together to defend multilateralism. Their joint statement insisted on refraining from imposing unnecessary travel and export restrictions, and noted that the future COVID-19 vaccine must become a global common good.

Read more: https://www.euractiv.com/section/economy-jobs/news/eu-and-japan-commit-to-avoiding-unnecessary-barriers-in-times-of-covid-19/

 

Related articles:

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/international-summit/2020/05/26/

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20200526/p2g/00m/0na/150000c

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200527_03/

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_942



26 May 2020​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Image Source: Pixabay
 

A new study published on 25 May to coincide with the second anniversary of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), reveals that data protection authorities have to date been unable to enforce the regulation adequately. The report, from the non-profit group Access Now, suggests that regulators have been hamstrung due to a lack of resources and administrative hurdles.

Read more: https://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/gdpr-is-two-years-old-but-still-lacking-resources-1.4262166

 

Related articles:

https://www.euractiv.com/section/data-protection/news/gdpr-enforcement-held-back-by-lack-of-resources-report-says/

https://europost.eu/en/a/view/the-effect-of-gdpr-two-years-on-29159

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-05-25/tech-giants-top-eu-privacy-watchdog-attacked-over-slow-pace

https://www.euractiv.com/section/data-protection/news/irish-data-protection-authority-under-fire-over-facebook-case/

https://www.politico.eu/article/irish-regulator-mismanaged-facebook-privacy-probe-austrian-campaigner-max-schrems/

https://euobserver.com/justice/148454




22 May 2020​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Image Source: Pixabay
 

Following the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling, Hungary announced that it is closing the transit camps where hundreds of asylum seekers and migrants were held. The move came after ECJ ruled that Hungary’s practice of holding asylum-seekers at a camp near the border with Serbia amounted to unlawful detention.

Around 280 asylum-seekers who are being held in these transit camps at the border while their applications are being processed will now be moved to reception centers across the country.

Read more: https://www.dw.com/en/hungary-to-close-transit-zone-camps-for-asylum-seekers/a-53524417

 

Related articles:

https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/hungary-closes-asylum-seeker-camps-after-eu-court-ruling/

https://balkaninsight.com/2020/05/21/hungary-to-close-transit-zones-after-european-court-ruling/

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/hungary-to-shut-migrant-transit-zone-camps-after-eu-court-ruling-1.4259491



21 May 2020​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Image Source: Pixabay
 

The European Commission presented its strategy to pursue a more environmentally friendly EU agriculture and biodiversity policy as part of the European Green Deal. The “farm to fork” strategy would improve animal welfare, reduce the use of pesticides and antibiotics and improve fertilizers. The Green parties welcomed the move, but opponents said the policy is too “hurried” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: https://www.dw.com/en/eu-presents-green-deal-farming-plan-to-half-pesticide-use/a-53511139

 

Related articles:

https://www.eubusiness.com/Members/foeeurope/farm-fork-biodiversity/

https://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/farm-to-fork-strategy-aims-to-slash-pesticide-use-and-risk-by-half/

https://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/commission-upholds-highly-ambitious-targets-to-transform-eu-food-system/

https://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/new-food-policy-to-triple-amount-of-agricultural-land-farmed-organically-by-2030/

https://www.euronews.com/2020/05/20/farm-to-fork-eu-wants-to-slash-pesticide-use-by-50-and-boost-organic-farming

https://euobserver.com/green-deal/148421

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_884




20 May 2020​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
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Image Source: Pixabay


EU Commission welcomed a proposal by France and Germany for a 500 billion euro fund to disburse grants to regions and sectors worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, however, informed that the Commission will unveil its budget and recovery plans next Wednesday (27 May). The proposed recovery fund, which include both loans and grants, is said to be close to one trillion euro.

Read more: https://euobserver.com/coronavirus/148419

 

Related articles:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eufund/eu-executive-to-propose-trillion-euro-recovery-plan-with-grants-and-loans-idUSKBN22V1ZF

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/eu-to-propose-trillion-euro-recovery-fund-1.4257597

https://www.politico.eu/article/franco-german-recovery-deal-meets-resistance/

https://www.euractiv.com/section/economy-jobs/news/eu-recovery-funds-with-strings-attached/

https://www.euronews.com/2020/05/19/analysis-is-the-500bn-recovery-fund-plan-europe-s-hamilton-moment

https://www.politico.eu/article/austrians-danes-dutch-oppose-grant-based-recovery-fund/




19 May 2020​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
 
 ​Image Source: Pixabay
 

During an online debate with EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton on Monday (18 May), Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg warned against the spread of China’s internet regulation model and called upon the EU to take the lead in establishing regulatory framework for online platforms. Referencing the EU’s privacy regulations (GDPR) that came into force 2 years ago, he added that “… when the EU sets policies, it becomes a standard around the world”.

Read more: https://www.scmp.com/tech/big-tech/article/3084962/facebook-ceo-warns-against-spread-chinese-style-internet-regulations

 

Related articles:

https://www.euractiv.com/section/digital/news/zuckerberg-appeals-for-european-leadership-on-platform-regulation/

https://www.politico.eu/article/facebooks-zuckerberg-calls-out-chinese-internet-model/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4eNEyNdHTk

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/facebook-s-zuckerberg-calls-for-more-regulation-of-big-tech-1.4256579




18 May 2020​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
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Image Source: Pixabay


The EU and UK on Friday (15 May) accused each other of unrealistic expectations and blame each other for the lack of progress in negotiations after the latest round of post Brexit talks. Two main sticking points are the so-called level playing field and an agreement on access to fishing waters. One more round of talks remain in June before the political leaders get together and assess whether a deal is possible.

Read more: https://euobserver.com/brexit/148389

 

Related articles:

https://www.politico.eu/article/brexit-no-deal-barnier-johnson-eu-uk/

https://www.euractiv.com/section/uk-europe/news/eu-uk-talks-on-the-brink-after-both-sides-blame-each-other-for-disappointing-round/

https://www.dw.com/en/brexit-trade-talks-yield-little-progress-as-eu-uk-dig-heels-in/a-53452033

https://www.euronews.com/2020/05/15/barnier-on-eu-uk-talks-are-we-heading-towards-another-extension

https://news.sky.com/story/brexit-very-little-progress-in-negotiations-with-the-eu-uk-says-11988839

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-gove/uks-gove-says-eu-trade-deal-can-be-done-despite-talks-stalemate-idUSKBN22T08R

https://www.politico.eu/article/brexit-transition-conundrum-solution/




15 May 2020​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Image Source: Pixabay
 

Authorities and experts are warning that the unprecedented rush to bail out the economy risks providing openings for illegal exploitation by criminals and fraudsters. Financial regulators are warning banks and other firms to be on their guard for lawbreakers finding new ways to launder money during the crisis, including potential vulnerabilities from online payment services as online sales reached record high during the pandemic.

Read more: https://www.politico.eu/article/criminals-take-advantage-coronavirus-crisis/

 

Related articles:

https://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/fatfgeneral/documents/statement-covid-19.html

https://www.cssf.lu/wp-content/uploads/cssf20_740eng.pdf




14 May 2020​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
 
 ​Image Source: Pixabay
 

On Wednesday (13 May), the European Commission presented a package of guidelines to help EU countries lift travel restrictions and allow tourism businesses to reopen after months of lockdown while respecting necessary health precautions.

The guideline aims to offer people a chance to catch up with friends and family in their own country or other EU countries as well as help the tourism sector recover from the pandemic by supporting businesses and ensuring Europe continues to be the number one destination for visitors.

Read more: https://www.eubusiness.com/news-eu/coronavirus-tourism.13hq

 

Related articles:

https://euobserver.com/coronavirus/148355

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_854

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/qanda_20_870




13 May 2020​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
 
 Image Source: Pixabay​
 

The EU Schengen free-travel area suffered a near-death experience when most member countries reinstated border checks to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The Commission is now looking into a two-step approach to slowly lift the internal borders and travel restrictions and restore the functioning of the Schengen agreement. An EU official highlighted that restoring a full Schengen will take some time.

Read more: https://www.politico.eu/article/schengen-proves-hard-to-reboot-after-system-meltdown/

 

Related articles:

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/commissioners/2019-2024/johansson/announcements/opening-statement-commissioner-johansson-schengen-migration-and-asylum-policy-and-eu-security_en

https://www.wsj.com/articles/europe-finds-borders-are-harder-to-open-after-coronavirus-closures-11589302019




12 May 2020​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
 
 ​Image Source: European Commission
 

EU International Partnership Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen in an interview with EurActiv said the Covid-19 crisis proves the need for an international rules-based order. She added that the virus knows no border and none of us is safe. She expressed hope to see the EU increase funding for external relations, neighbourhood and international cooperation policy in the updated long term budget.

Read more: https://www.euractiv.com/section/cities-regions/news/urpilainen-covid-19-crisis-proves-the-need-for-an-international-rule-based-order/

 

Related articles:

https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/77326/coronavirus-european-union-launches-%E2%80%9Cteam-europe%E2%80%9D-package-support-partner-countries-more-%E2%82%AC20_en

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-12/g-20-to-freeze-sovereign-debt-payments-for-poor-countries-ft




11 May 2020​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Image Source: Pixabay


In a joint proposal to other 25 EU member states, the French and Dutch trade ministers urge the European Commission to strictly enforce environmental and labour standards with countries the bloc signs trade deals with. Countries that fail to meet their commitments on sustainable development should face trade tariffs from the EU in the future.

Read more: https://in.reuters.com/article/us-eu-trade-france-netherlands/french-dutch-join-forces-to-urge-eu-to-show-teeth-on-trade-idINKBN22M0CH

 

Related articles:

https://euobserver.com/tickers/148319

https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/france-holland-urge-eu-to-show-teeth-on-trade

https://www.euractiv.com/section/economy-jobs/news/french-dutch-join-forces-to-urge-eu-to-show-teeth-on-trade/




6 May 2020​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
 
 ​Image Source: Pixabay
 

The Czech Republic signed a joint declaration with the United States to strengthen cooperation on the next-generation 5G networks. The joint declaration aims to protect communication networks from disruption or manipulation and to ensure the privacy and individual liberties of citizens.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-czech-usa-5g/czechs-sign-joint-5g-security-declaration-with-united-states-idUSKBN22I33O

 

Related articles:

https://www.neweurope.eu/article/czechs-and-us-to-cooperate-on-5g-network-security/

https://news.expats.cz/weekly-czech-news/czech-pm-babis-u-s-secretary-of-state-pompeo-sign-5g-network-agreement/




6 May 2020​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
 
 ​Image Source: Pixabay
 

The EU and Western Balkan leaders will meet through videoconference today (6 May) for the EU-Western Balkans Zagreb Summit to discuss the future of the region. However, EU enlargement will not be on the agenda. Instead the Summit will focus on reaffirming the European perspective of the region and practical cooperation on COVID-19 pandemic, and the fight against organised crimes and corruption.

Read more: https://exit.al/en/2020/05/05/enlargement-excluded-from-the-eu-western-balkans-zagreb-summit-agenda/

 

Related articles:

https://www.politico.eu/article/croatian-prime-miniter-andrej-plenovic-on-eu-western-balkans-summit-the-meeting-is-the-message-enlargement-coronavirus/

https://www.euractiv.com/section/enlargement/news/western-balkans-summit-encourages-european-perspective-but-omits-enlargement/

https://europeanwesternbalkans.com/2020/05/05/meps-westerns-balkans-summit-must-bring-step-change-and-strengthen-democracy/

https://euobserver.com/tickers/148274

https://www.politico.eu/article/the-western-balkans-croatia-serbia-kosovo-belong-with-europe-european-union/




5 May 2020​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
 
 ​Image Source: Pixabay
 

The Director for European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Dr Andrea Ammon, said on Monday (4 May) that Europe has passed the Covid-19 peak as most EU countries are seeing a “substantial decrease” in cases. With declining infection rates, several EU governments are now in the process of gradually easing the lockdown measures. However, Dr Ammon also warned against any complacency as the virus will not go away until a vaccine is found.

Read more: https://www.euractiv.com/section/coronavirus/news/europe-has-passed-covid-19-peak-says-eu-disease-control-chief/

 

Related articles:

https://www.todayonline.com/world/uk-among-european-states-yet-reach-covid-19-peak-eu-says-0

https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-eu-britain/uk-among-european-states-yet-to-reach-covid-19-peak-eu-says-idUSL8N2CM2LK

https://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-britain-among-five-european-countries-that-havent-hit-coronavirus-20200505-wmzzmwfkmnfsdhv5foyjwmiyuu-story.html




4 May 2020​​​​​​​​​​​​​
 
 ​Image Source: Pixabay
 

European leaders pledged support for a Brussels led initiative to raise €7.5 billion to find a vaccine to curb the global coronavirus pandemic. An online pledging conference will take place today (4 May) to plug gaps in financing of research. Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Saudi Arabia and the European Commission, are co-hosting the conference.

Read more: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/covid-19-coronavirus-european-leaders-vaccine-financing-drive-12698986

 

Related articles:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-52525387

https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/european-leaders-push-coronavirus-vaccine-financing-drive

https://euobserver.com/agenda/148237

https://www.euractiv.com/section/health-consumers/news/european-leaders-push-vaccine-financing-drive/

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ac_20_795


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