⊂ 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
⊂ 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.
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.
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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.
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%.