⊂ EUROPE ⊃
No agreement on EU defense policy: On Friday, EU heads of government discussed the future of European defense and armaments policy at their video summit. The question is to what extent Europe should emancipate itself from the USA. France is pushing ahead with its demand to achieve autonomy from the U.S. in the foreseeable future. Chancellor Angela Merkel, on the other hand, is promoting a strong NATO as a pillar of defense policy. Hopes are pinned on new President Joe Biden. The transatlantic defense course had noticeably deteriorated under Donald Trump – also because EU defense spending is far below U.S. spending. According to media reports, an extraordinary advance has been made on the part of the U.S. in the Netherlands: The U.S. wants to help build the European defense initiative Pesco.
dw.com, tagesschau.de, welt.de
Space startups demand access to EU contracts: 26 young space companies have written a letter to Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton. They demand the right to participate in EU tenders in order to strengthen internal European competition. Following the U.S. model, space startups should also be allowed to provide services to the European Commission or the European Space Agency. The background to the letter is the award of a satellite broadband project, which was awarded to a consortium of large companies such as Orange and Airbus at the end of 2020. Small startups felt excluded from bidding on the project because one requirement was that the companies had run five space programs worth €100 million each.
Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be approved by March 11: The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to approve the vaccine from U.S. pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson by March 11, according to the Bloomberg news agency. The EU has ordered 200 million doses of the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson. The option for another 200 doses is open. If approved quickly, 100 vaccines could be delivered by summer. Johnson & Johnson, unlike other products, requires only one vaccine dose. The EMA would review the product under an expedited process at this time.
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EU needs eleven million care workers by 2030: According to the EU Commission’s „Health and Longterm Care Workforce“ study, around eleven million care workers will be needed in the EU by 2030. In the EU countries, 20.3 percent of the population is older than 65 on average. Life expectancy at this point is 20 years, however, half of people spend the last years of life in poor health. Age and health status increase the demand for caregivers. In addition to the shortage of skilled workers, the study authors say the lack of common tools for recruiting skilled workers is a problem that needs to be addressed.
Autoindustrie warnt vor der Abgasnorm Euro 7: Die EU-Kommission möchte bis zum Ende des Jahres einen Entwurf für die Auto-Abgasnorm Euro 7 vorlegen, die darauf abzielt den Schadstoffaußstoß von Autos zu verringern. BMW-Betriebsratschef Manfred Schoch mahnt davor Benzin- und Dieselautos durch neue Umweltnormen aus dem Markt zu verdrängen. Seiner Auffassung könne dies in Deutschland zu einer noch nie dagewesene Arbeitslosigkeit führen. In Deutschland seien rund fünf Millionen Arbeitsplätze direkt oder indirekt mit der Autoindustrie verbunden. Die Präsidentin des Verbands der Automobilindustrie (VDA), Hildegard Müller, bewertet die Pläne in Brüssel als unrealistisch. Strengere Abgasnormen sollen nach der Auffassung von Brüssel in der zweiten Hälfte des Jahrzehnts greifen. Müller verwies darauf, dass nicht jeder Bürger die finanziellen Mittel hätte, um auf ein Elektroauto umzusteigen. Außerdem sei die Ladeinfrastruktur nicht ausreichend ausgebaut. Der ADAC hingegen bewertet die Entwicklung moderater: Es sei noch nicht klar, ob Diesel- und Benzinautos tatsächlich von den Straßen verschwinden sollen. Experten zeigen, dass insbesondere beim Stickstoffausstoß ein Rückgang beim Ausstoß technisch möglich sei.
Borrell: „I Should Have Indulged My Desire To Argue a Little More“ spiegel.de
Diplomacy: EU summons ambassador to Cuba over letter to Biden politico.eu
Enlargement: Can the EU work with Biden in the Balkans? globalriskinsights.com
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
„Either the EU allows Lukashenko to rule for five more years, or there are smart sanctions that go to the heart and get results.“
Belarusian oppositionist Svetlana Tikhanovskaya calls for tough sanctions against Alexander Lukashenko.
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Dutch Chamber of Deputies classifies China’s treatment of Uyghurs as genocide: As the first European Parliament, the Dutch Chamber of Deputies has passed a motion according to which the treatment of the Chinese government with the ethnic minority of the Uyghurs is judged as genocide. The reason for this is the forced sterilization of many Uyghur women. According to ethnologist Adrian Zenz, the birth rate within the minority fell by 84 percent in 2016. China reacted with outrage to the decision, stating that the Uighur population increased by a quarter between 2016 and 2018. The regime also pushed off a vague warning to the MPs – they should „stop their injustice before it is too late.“ Previously, the Dutch government has always been more cautious toward China to avoid possible economic consequences. However, the Chamber of Deputies‘ decision fits into a larger international trend. Just a few days ago, Canada declared its treatment of the Uyghurs as genocide, and criticism is also growing in France.
German states press ahead with demands for new vaccination prioritization: The prime ministers of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, Markus Söder and Winfried Kretschmann, are advocating a change in vaccination prioritization. Söder criticized that in particular the vaccine of the British-Swedish manufacturer AstraZeneca is poorly accepted. So far, only 15 percent of the vaccine supplied has been used. Söder therefore advocates that these unused residual stocks be given to volunteers, regardless of their age and prioritization. Kretschmann also shares this view – as long as vaccine is in short supply, they cannot afford to just let it sit around. However, the state leaders do not want to go it alone in implementing their idea.
France and Germany tighten border controls: Due to the rapid spread of the South African coronavirus mutation in the Moselle region, Germany and France are tightening border controls. The French administrative district of Moselle issued an obligation for a negative PCR test at the border crossing, which is to come into force from mid-March. Commuters are exempt. Germany also issued stricter measures against people entering the country from France after the Moselle region was declared a risk area. Among other things, bus and rail companies are no longer allowed to transport people from Moselle to Germany unless they are German citizens or foreigners residing in Germany.
Think tanks say the UK is ill-prepared for Brexit: The think tanks EU in a Changing Europe, Centre for Competition Policy and Brexit and Environment have published a study according to which they give the UK poor marks. They say the country is not sufficiently equipped in many policy areas to quickly handle regulatory requirements and build infrastructure that is independent of the EU. „The UK does not have the physical or IT-based infrastructure to trade under its new relationship with the EU, and relies on transitional arrangements,“ the report says. The climate change, crime fighting and trade sectors are severely affected by these challenges, it said.
Austria Sets Annual Record for Corona Infections: Since the February 8 relaxations, the 7-day incidence in Austria has risen to 158. On Sunday, 2,123 were recorded – the highest figure this year. The governing coalition continues to adhere to the testing strategy without introducing tightening of the Corona measures. The strategy aims to find and isolate sick people more quickly. However, only 10 to 15 percent of the tests currently registered are due to the increased testing capacity, he said. Meanwhile, viral mutations are spreading rapidly. The situation is expected to remain tense through Easter. The warmer weather combined with vaccination is then expected to have a noticeable effect.
Switzerland commits $65 million in development aid to Indonesia expatica.com
Italy Tightens Coronavirus Restrictions in Milan bloomberg.com
Spain: Fresh violence erupts at protests over rapper’s arrest dw.com
Hungary’s Orbán promotes Chinese coronavirus jab politico.eu
⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃
+++ECOS sucht Partnerships & Development Manager (m/f/d)+++Science Europe seeks Junior Communications Officer (m/f/d)+++GIZ sucht Leiter:in des Projekts Wertschöpfungskettenförderung (m/w/d)+++GIZ cherche Conseiller:e (h/f/a) spécialisé:e en politique fiscale et administration des finances publiques+++bitkom sucht Referent:in EU Public Affairs (m/w/d) +++GIZ seeks Head of Component (m/f/d) „Improving Regional Trade in Seed Potatoes in East Africa“+++European Business Summits seeks Communications, Programme and Research Assistant (CIP) (m/f/d)+++Jobs at politjobs.eu +++ Don’t miss any jobs with the politjobs.eu job alert +++
⊂ LAST BUT NOT LEAST ⊃
Von der Leyen must correct herself: EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen claimed Thursday night at the EU Video Summit that there were talks between the WHO, Apple and Google for a digital vaccination card. Over the weekend, Apple let it be known that this was not true. It said there were no talks about a vaccination app or similar offering. The EU Commission also backed away from its boss‘ statement. It had been a case of mistaken identity.
⊂ EUROPE ⊃