Friday, 5 June 2020: Face coverings will be mandatory on public transport, Vaccine summit exceeds target, ECB to inject additional €600bn into eurozone economy, Finland criticises proposal for EU reconstruction programme

⊂ UNITED KINGDOM ⊃

Face coverings will be mandatory on public transport: Wearing face coverings is to be compulsory on public transport in England from 15 June, with fines for those who refuse, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced. Shapps said the move was designed to prevent an upsurge in coronavirus infections as the country moves to the next stage of lockdown relaxation, with non-essential shops allowed to reopen. Wearing a face covering would be made a condition of travel on public transport, allowing passengers to be refused carriage if they do not comply. Frontline staff such as bus drivers will also be required to wear face coverings, and Shapps said the government will work with devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to try to make the change nationwide.
independent.co.uk

Sharma tests negative for coronavirus after scare in parliament: Business Secretary Alok Sharma has tested negative for coronavirus after he appeared to be unwell in the House of Commons chamber. The cabinet minister was seen wiping his brow with a handkerchief several times and was passed a glass of water by his opposite number, Ed Miliband, during a debate in the Commons on Wednesday evening. Earlier this week, MPs voted to return to physical sittings in parliament – with additional motions due later to allow members who cannot attend due to age and health issues to participate via Zoom and to vote via proxy. Commons Speaker Jacob Rees-Mogg is now facing renewed calls to restore the virtual parliament as MPs reacted furiously to the reckless scenes of Sharma appearing visibly ill in the Commons – just 24 hours after members queued around the parliamentary estate to vote. The speaker granted MPs an emergency debate on Monday on how the house operates during the pandemic.
cnn.com, independent.co.uk, bbc.com

Watchdog to investigate racial inequalities: The human rights watchdog will investigate racial inequalities laid bare by the coronavirus outbreak. The Equalities and Human Rights Commission will examine the loss of lives and livelihoods of people from different ethnic minorities. This week a report found that people from ethnic minorities are at a higher risk of dying from coronavirus. Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch has said work is under way to find out the reasons for the greater risk. However speaking in the House of Commons, she rejected claims that systemic injustice is the cause of ethnic minorities being more likely to die from coronavirus in England.
bbc.com

“Black Lives Matter”: Anti-racism protest targets Johnson’s aide Cummings uk.reuters.com
Job losses: Labour calls for second round of support for struggling firms theguardian.com

⊂ POLITJOBS UNITED KINGDOM ⊃

Association of Directors of Children’s Services seeks Policy Officer *** The Royal Society seeks Senior Policy Adviser (Education) *** ITV Cymru Wales seeks Public Affairs Manager *** Independent Age seeks Public Affairs Officer *** Dogs Trust seeks European Policy Advisor (Publish your job ad)

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Vaccine summit exceeds target: The Gavi vaccines alliance announced on Thursday it had raised $8.8 billion from international donor governments, companies and philanthropic foundations to fund its immunisation programmes through to 2025. The money will help immunise children in the world’s poorest countries against diseases like polio, diphtheria and measles over five years. The vaccines alliance also raised $567 million from international donors to buy future Covid-19 vaccines for poor countries. Germany’s pledge includes €600 million for Gavi’s programmes in the next five years, and €100 million to fight the coronavirus. French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to donate €500 million over the next five years, as well as a further €100 million if an effective Covid-19 vaccine was found, while the EU Commission pledged €300 million to the organisation. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged £1.65bn over the next five years, making the UK the organisation’s biggest donor. Meanwhile, the EU is preparing to use an emergency €2.4 billion fund to make advance purchases of promising Covid-19 vaccines. The move was discussed at a meeting of EU ambassadors on Wednesday.
nytimes.com, bbc.com, dw.com, cnbc.com, ec.europa.eu, reuters.com

ECB to inject additional €600bn into eurozone economy: The European Central Bank has ramped up its coronavirus pandemic response by agreeing to inject an additional €600 billion of emergency financial support into the eurozone economy. The ECB said it would increase the size of its quantitative easing bond-buying programme to €1.35 trillion. The central bank also said it would extend the scheme, known as the pandemic emergency purchase programme, until at least June 2021 to support the recovery of the eurozone’s stricken economy. But more is needed, the ECB concluded, as the eurozone economy continues to shrink and price indexes drop to levels bordering on deflation.
theguardian.com, politico.eu

Finland criticises proposal for EU reconstruction programme: Finland has announced plans to veto the EU’s proposal for a recovery package unless alterations are made. It is not yet clear what changes the Nordic country is seeking but the 27 EU member states are due to discuss the EU Commission’s package on 19 June. The recovery proposal due to the pandemic is hoping to raise an unprecedented €750 billion of debt. This comes in addition to the €1.1 trillion for the long-term EU budget, taking the total funding to €1.85 trillion. Meanwhile, health officials in Finland announced no new coronavirus infections on Thursday for the first time in more than three months.
dw.com

Gaia-X starts with 22 companies: France and Germany have thrown their weight behind plans to create a cloud computing ecosystem that seeks to reduce Europe’s dependence on Silicon Valley giants Amazon, Microsoft and Google. The project, called Gaia-X, will establish common standards for storing and processing data on servers that are sited locally and comply with the EU’s strict laws on data privacy. German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier described Gaia-X as a “moonshot” that would help reassert Europe’s technological sovereignty, and invited other countries and companies to join. In an initial step, 22 French and German companies will set up a non-profit foundation to run Gaia-X, which is not conceived as a direct rival to the hyperscale US cloud providers but would instead referee a common set of European rules.
reuters.com

Germany urges UK to be more realistic on Brexit: With time running out for the UK and the EU to settle their post-Brexit ties, Germany’s EU envoy Michael Clauss on Thursday warned that no real progress was being made. Speaking to European Policy Centre think-tank in Brussels, Clauss called on the UK to adopt a more realistic approach. While reaching the deal was absolutely possible, Clauss warned that it was not possible for Britain to have full sovereignty and at the same time full access to the EU’s internal market. The fourth round of post-Brexit trade negotiations continues until this Friday.
dw.com

-Advertisement –
AI&I vTalk with Luciano Floridi: The development of a corona tracing app is shaping the public debate. Aside from data protection, complex ethical questions arise from the use of such an app. On May 12th from 5 pm Luciano Floridi, Professor of Philosophy and Information Ethics at the University of Oxford, will speak about the trust of European citizens in the use of mobile tracing apps and the ethical principles of government, business and science in the second edition of the AI&I vTalk.
People interested in participating in the discussion and asking questions to Professor Floridi are invited to visit the Vodafone Institute’s YouTube channel.

Foreign investments: EU considers broadening scrutiny of foreign investments nytimes.com
Despite summit postponement: China and EU emphasise cooperation zeit.de
Hong Kong: Tens of thousands defy ban to attend Tiananmen vigil; Hong Kong passes controversial bill that outlaws insulting China’s national anthem bbc.com; euronews.com
Libya: Internationally recognised government regains full control of Tripoli bbc.com
Russia declares emergency after arctic oil spill nytimes.com

⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃

This murder of George Floyd is very terrible. Racism is something terrible. Society in the United States is very polarised.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned the death of George Floyd at the hands of US police.
orf.at

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Polish government wins confidence vote: Poland’s nationalist government on Thursday won a vote of confidence in parliament which it called to shore up its authority before the presidential election on 28 June. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki unexpectedly asked for the vote in the lower house after a series of setbacks threatened to derail the re-election campaign of President Andrzej Duda, an ally of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. Duda had long been the clear favourite in the election but opinion polls have shown his lead narrowing.
reuters.com

Sweden to ease travel curbs: Sweden will ease restrictions on domestic travel from 13 June, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said on Thursday, despite signs that coronavirus infections are increasing in parts of the country. Lofven said that Swedes who were symptom-free could now plan visits to their summer cottages or relatives in other parts of the country. “This decision does not mean that the danger is over,” Lofven told a news conference. “It doesn’t mean that life is back to normal again, and other restrictions remain in place.” Swedes’ confidence in the ability of the government and the health agency to handle the coronavirus outbreak is falling amid growing worries about the high mortality rate, polls published on Thursday showed. Meanwhile, the government is planning to give free coronavirus tests to people who have symptoms of the virus.
reuters.com (Travel), nytimes.com (Polls), de.nachrichten.yahoo.com (Tests)

Thousands of refugees brought from Greek islands to the mainland: In order to relieve overcrowded refugee camps on the islands in the east of the Aegean, the Greek government has brought almost 14,000 migrants to the mainland since the beginning of the year. The official numbers were announced by Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis on Thursday. In March, more than 42,000 migrants still lived on the islands.
rnd.de

-Advertisement-
Welted men’s footwear: Superior craftsmanship in shoemaking. Buy directly from our manufactures avoiding expensive middlemen. Experience true shoe freedom, handcrafted and custom made from the finest Italian leather. No matter the occasion; be it for the office, leisure or weddings – we have the appropriate pair of shoes
shoepassion.com

Apple wins in “right to repair” battle: Norway’s Supreme Court has upheld a decision by the Court of Appeal, ruling in favour of US tech giant Apple and their claim that an independent smartphone repairer had breached trademark rules by using cheaper repair parts. The news marks the end of a three-year legal battle between Apple and small business owner Henrik Huseby, after Norwegian police seized 63 imported mobile screens which had been making their way to his premises in 2017. Wednesday’s ruling provoked a strong reaction from “right to repair” activists in Europe, who rally the environmental benefits for independent engineers to repair products with more easily accessible parts, without having to rely on larger firms as providers.
euractiv.com

Sweden: Clashes between protesters and police at solidarity rally for George Floyd in Stockholm nymag.com
Germany: Berlin passes first German state anti-discrimination law dw.com
Austria: Ex-FPÖ leader Strache rejects accusations in Ibiza scandal zeit.de
Italy: President Mattarella honours 57 “coronavirus heroes” tagesschau.de
Lithuania: Protest against nuclear power from Astravets nuclear power plant de.euronews.com
North Macedonia again imposes curfews welt.de

⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃

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
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)

⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃

Millions of people are learning German as a foreign language: From Africa to Asia, millions of people are learning German, according to a recent survey. Most German learners are in Europe, where around 9.3 million people are learning the language, despite the tongue-twisting grammar and tricky case system. An increase of German-learners of up to 62% was recorded in Denmark, the Netherlands and France. In Poland, there were 15% less students of the German language, and in the UK the number dipped by 25%.
dw.com

 

Newsletter subscription
Subscribe to our free daily newsletter with a compact overview of European topics:
Previous editions

Other political briefings

Our digital news briefings