Monday, 4. May 2020: EU donor conference for corona vaccine starts on Monday, EU criticises restrictions on press freedom, EU Culture Ministers want to support artists and journalists


EU donor conference for corona vaccine starts on Monday: In order to contain the corona pandemic worldwide, a donor conference initiated by the EU Commission will take place on Monday. The aim is to collect donations to finance research into vaccination and the development of therapies, tests and protective clothing. Eight billion euros are needed as start-up financing. Germany has already promised to contribute a generous donation, but France and Norway have also pledged a strong participation. This is not only a European project – the pandemic is to be fought worldwide. That is why the African Union, Saudi Arabia, Canada and globally active foundations and organisations are participating in the initiative. It is estimated that a total of 40 billion euros will be needed to produce vaccines across the board.,

EU criticises restrictions on press freedom: On the occasion of Press Freedom Day, EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Josep Borrell issued a statement on behalf of the 27 EU Member States criticising restrictions on press freedom. The Corona pandemic would be used in some countries as an opportunity to suppress journalists. Some critics fear that also in the EU member state Hungary, the rights of the press would be curtailed under the pretext of restricting Fakenews. With regard to the restrictive measures implemented in some states against the freedom of the press, the statement states that the EU would work both within and outside its territory to promote credible sources.,

EU Culture Ministers want to support artists and journalists: The Culture Ministers of the EU Member States have agreed to promote artists and journalists at EU level. With the exception of Hungary, all member states have signed an agreement aimed at mobilising financial support for creative and freelance artists who have come under economic pressure because of the corona virus. Germany’s Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters commented on the agreement: “Seldom in the history of the European integration process have culture and the media been more important than they are today. Culture is not a luxury that can only be afforded in good times”. In addition, funding programmes such as “Creative Europe” are to be increased.

EU Commissioner Vestager fears new imbalance between member states4: Danish EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager fears that the imbalance between the member states could increase due to the Corona crisis. She said the fiscal situation differs greatly from country to country – while Italy has been struggling with over-indebtedness for years, Germany has achieved budget surpluses in the same period. The politician believes that equal opportunities for participation in the European internal market are at risk. She also urges vigilance, as ailing European companies could be taken over by international investors to the detriment of EU economic strength.

Eurogroup President Centeno defends European crisis procedure: Mário Centeno, President of the Eurogroup, rejects criticism of the way the economic consequences of the Corona pandemic have been dealt with. He said Europe had reacted quickly and agreed on a €540 billion aid package within ten days – this would enable the Union to take the right aid measures. Compared to the US, the EU is in a good position, said Centeno. He referred to the social security systems, which can cushion current difficulties to a certain extent. In the USA, more than 20 million people have become unemployed within a few weeks. At the same time, the economist is looking to the future with caution – the internal market must be saved, and Europe’s economy must become greener and more digital. In addition, the pathologist Sotiris Tsiodras plays a major role in building public confidence. He is part of the Greek crisis team and his popularity rating is 66 percent. He is praised for his sensitive explanations and his commitment to supplying the affected regions.

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There are many passengers who would need the money. People may have lost their jobs, they may need money for medication, to pay their rent.
EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager on travel reimbursements for passengers.


Germany puts the brakes on Austria’s hopes for open borders: The Austrian Minister of Tourism, Elisabeth Köstinger, had advocated opening the borders between Germany and Austria for tourist purposes during the summer months. After Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas had already urged restraint and the worldwide travel warning had been extended until 15 June, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is now also dampening hopes that the border will soon be opened. Seehofer explained that the restrictions for citizens should not be maintained any longer than necessary, and at the same time it was essential to take account of the incidence of infections.,

Switzerland launches Corona app on 11 May: At the federal government’s press conference, researchers from the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich (ETH) and Lausanne (EPFL) explained that the app to contain the corona virus would probably be available on 11 May. They said it was strongly inspired by the model presented by Apple and Google. Mobile phones will exchange information with the app via Bluetooth. If a person receives a positive Corona message when they meet, they can enter this information via the app. The people they have met during the risk period will receive a notification of the risk of infection. There is still scepticism about data protection at present. Use of the app will be voluntary, but according to a survey, 60 percent of Swiss people have announced that they want to install the application.

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Greece’s corona strategy receives international praise: The Greek government under Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is internationally praised for its handling of the corona virus. The number of cases and deaths is significantly lower than in many other countries. This can partly be attributed to a lower testing rate, but on the other hand the Greek government has acted early and decisively. Curfews were imposed early, school classes abroad were brought back, and business trips were banned. Greece has only 605 intensive care beds in the whole country – a tenth of which cannot be used to capacity due to a lack of personnel.

UK Prime Minister Johnson comments on hospitalisation: For the first time after his return to government business just under a week ago, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented on his hospital stay in early April. Because of the outbreak of the corona virus, he spent three days in intensive care, explaining that there were emergency plans in case of his death. However, at no time did he himself believe that he would actually die. His condition is said to have deteriorated for days before he recovered. Great Britain is one of the countries worst affected by the corona virus. The chain of infection in the country is still unbroken.,

France wants to extend state of emergency until 24 July: Next week a proposal is to be voted on in the French parliament, according to which the country will extend its state of emergency for the health sector by two months. This should provide the government with legal security in case there are further closures in the event of a second wave of infection. Shops are to open in France from 11 May, and the wearing of face masks is to become compulsory on public transport. Catering establishments and beaches are to remain closed. The state of emergency has been in effect in France since the end of March and was initially set for two months.

Poland relaxes conditions for commuters: Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced that as from 4th May he was going to relax the conditions imposed on people working or studying in Germany, the Czech Republic or Slovakia. According to this, commuters would no longer have to spend two weeks in quarantine. Morawiecki explained the move by saying that although the pandemic had not yet been defeated, it would be increasingly brought under control. Since the closure of the border in mid-March and the strict conditions, there have been repeated protests – among others at the border crossing between Frankfurt (Oder) and Slubice.

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Romania: Seasonal workers sidestep lockdown out of necessity
Sweden: Gamble on coronavirus herd immunity couldn’t work in the US — and it may not work in Sweden


Bitkom sucht Referent europäische Digitalpolitik (w/m) *** Int. Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory seeks Innovation Project Manager *** Int. Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory seeks Project Assistant for EU Funded Projects *** PwC seeks Public Affairs Senior Manager Belgium *** Johnson & Johnson seeks Policy Assistant, Government Affairs & Policy EMEA *** Public Policy Manager, Connectivity *** Ryanair offers Public Affairs internship, (Inserat schalten)


Belgian Potato Association calls on citizens to eat more fries: Belgien hat eine lange Tradition Kartoffelprodukte zu verarbeiten und zu konsumieren. Die Corona-Pandemie führt jedoch dazu, dass in diesem Jahr mindestens ein Drittel der Kartoffelproduktion nicht verarbeitet wird. Grund dafür ist die gesunkene Nachfrage durch die Schließung der Restaurants. Für die Landwirte bedeutet das ein Verlust von insgesamt 120 Millionen Euro. Der Verband der Kartoffelbranche fordert die Bevölkerung dazu auf, jede Woche eine Portion Pommes zu essen, um weitere Verschwendung zu verhindern.

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