⊂ EUROPE ⊃
Four EU nations sign deal for coronavirus vaccine: Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands have signed an initial deal with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for over 300 million doses of a promising coronavirus vaccine currently still in the experimental phase. Doses of the vaccine would be distributed to countries relative to their population as soon as it is ready, Germany’s health ministry said on Saturday, adding that all EU members can participate in the programme. The vaccine is expected to be finished by the end of 2020. Many countries in the world had already secured vaccines, Europe had not yet, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said. Rapid coordinated action by a group of member states would create added value for all EU citizens in the coronavirus crisis.
Travel in Europe in times of the coronavirus: Poland has reopened all its EU borders for the first time in nearly three months. Almost all other EU countries will follow this Monday. Germany ended its border controls at midnight Sunday. The country’s foreign ministry also removed travel warnings for 27 European countries from its website. However, warnings are still in place for Spain, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Germany had already opened its borders to the neighbouring states of Austria, Switzerland, and France on 16 May with tightly controlled measures. Spain will reopen its borders to most European visitors from 21 June, ten days earlier than previously planned, the government said on Sunday. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Spain’s land border with Portugal would remain closed until 1 July because Lisbon had requested it. German tourists will be allowed to start visiting Spain’s Balearic Islands from Monday as a test programme. German Chancellery Minister Helge Braun warned of the infection risks during the upcoming travel season.
euronews.com, dw.com, reuters.com, zeit.de
Migrant crossings into Europe spiked in May: European border agency Frontex recorded a sharp increase in migrants hoping to enter the EU last month, German media reported. In May, there were almost 4,300 illegal border crossings, almost three times as many compared to the previous month. The spike comes after coronavirus lockdowns and widespread border closures cut the number of potential asylum-seekers able to reach Europe. As a result, traffic along the continent’s main migration routes reached record lows in April.
Spain backs its economy minister to head Eurogroup: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has said he would look favourably on Spain’s Economy Minister Nadia Calvino becoming a candidate to lead the euro zone’s group of finance ministers. Sanchez said Spain would be very interested in leading the Eurogroup, adding it was an honour that Calvino had been tipped as a leading candidate after Portugal’s Mario Centeno said he would step down from the post.
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.
Brexit: EU Commission President von der Leyen and British PM Johnson to hold talks this Monday telegraph.co.uk
EU Commission Vice-President Dombrovskis: EU has enough firepower to deal with crisis handelsblatt.com
United States: Atlanta police chief resigns after fatal shooting of African American man during arrest bbc.com
Israel approves funding for new “Trump Heights” settlement nbcnews.com
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
“For the first time, we, the EU, are borrowing money from our children. Our investments today must therefore bear fruit for our children.”
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has urged Italy to use the EU’s proposed 750 billion-euro recovery plan to tackle long overdue reforms. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Saturday that Italy could not afford to return to normality after the coronavirus emergency but should turn the crisis into an opportunity to reform the country.
bloomberg.com, n-tv.de, nytimes.com
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Polish president calls LGBTI ideology more harmful than communism: Polish President Andrzej Duda accused the LGBTI rights movement Saturday of promoting a viewpoint more harmful than communism and said he agreed with another conservative politician who stated that “LGBT is not people, it’s an ideology.” Duda made his comments in the small southwestern town of Brzeg as he campaigns for reelection in Poland. Gay rights is emerging as a key campaign theme in the presidential election as the race grows close between Duda, backed by the nationalist conservative ruling party, and Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, who has called for tolerance for gays and lesbians. The Left’s presidential candidate, Robert Biedron, the first Polish politician to openly identify as gay, called on Duda to “be done with this hatred”. The Trump administration on Friday finalised a regulation that will erase protections for transgender patients against discrimination by doctors, hospitals and health insurance companies.
time.com, reuters.com (Poland); nytimes.com (US)
France’s president announces more easing: French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a number of coronavirus restrictions are being lifted. From Monday cafes and restaurants can open across France and travel to other European countries will be allowed. People will also be able to visit family members in retirement homes, which have been hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 outbreak. In a televised address, Macron said France had won its first victory, but warned the virus could return. Macron also said France would not be tearing down statues or rewriting its history in response to pressure from anti-racism activists. “We must instead lucidly look together at our history, and in particular our relationship with Africa,” Macron said in a televised address. France’s top administrative court has suspended a ban on demonstrations, part of the government’s ongoing coronavirus restrictions.
bbc.com, politico.eu, handelsblatt.com
Spain plans auto sector aid package: Spain plans a 3.7 billion euro aid package for its automobile sector, hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, to promote investment and the purchase of vehicles, specially electric models, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Sunday. Sanchez said details of the plan, which will also include fiscal and research measures, would be announced this Monday.
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Austria plans investment subsidy for firms: The Austrian government plans extra investment subsidies and tax breaks to help companies hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Economy Minister Margarete Schramboeck announced on Sunday. Companies that commit to investments in the next six months could get 14% of it back as a subsidy, she told broadcaster ORF ahead of a two-day cabinet meeting on more stimulus measures. Leaders of the conservative-Greens coalition also announced plans for one-off payments to jobless people and more help for families with children.
Commemoration of first prisoner transport to Auschwitz 80 years ago: Eighty years ago, on 14 June, 1940, the first 728 prisoners arrived at Auschwitz. The camp was initially meant for Polish resistance fighters, but from 1942 it played a central role in the Nazi genocide of Jews. The Polish prisoners were victims of a German occupation policy that aimed to wipe out the Polish elites. After German troops invaded Poland on 1 September, 1939, the Nazi regime incorporated the western regions of Poland into the Third Reich. By July 1940, the occupiers had murdered 50,000 Poles and deported the same number to concentration camps as part of a genocidal operation mostly targeting intellectuals.
Germany: Thousands of people participate in human chains to protest racism dw.com
Parliamentary election in Serbia: Is the country facing an election boycott? de.euronews.com
Bulgaria relaxes rules despite increasing number of coronavirus cases orf.at
⊂ 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 ⊃
Italian farmers pay to fly in workers: Due to the coronavirus pandemic farmers in Italy have resorted to chartering private planes to bring back seasonal workers from Morocco to help with the summer harvest. The workers usually return to their hometowns during the winter months and fly back for the next cycle in early spring. It has been like that for many years, but no one anticipated the pandemic. Just days before their due return to Italy in March, international borders were shut down.