⊂ UNITED KINGDOM ⊃
Johnson “appalled and sickened” by George Floyd’s death: Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was appalled by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and that his message to US President Donald Trump was that racism had no place in society. Giving his first public comments on the unrest in the US at the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Johnson said he understood protesters’ anger, but declined to be drawn on whether he had raised his concerns with Trump. Labour leader Keir Starmer urged Johnson to convey the UK’s abhorrence at Trump’s response, while the Scottish National Party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said Trump’s actions and rhetoric had been distressing and claimed the US was on a dangerous slide into autocracy. Britain’s police chiefs also weighed in on Wednesday, issuing a joint statement from all of the nation’s forces saying they stood alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified by the way Floyd lost his life.
uk.reuters.com, politico.com, cbsnews.com
Business secretary tested for Covid-19 after feeling ill during Commons speech: Business Minister Alok Sharma has been tested for Covid-19 after feeling unwell in parliament on Wednesday, just a day after the government required hundreds of legislators to resume voting in person. A spokesperson for Sharma said the minister began feeling unwell while presenting new legislation in the main chamber of the House of Commons. Television footage showed Sharma wiping his brow, and opposition lawmaker Sarah Olney, who took part in the debate, said it had been clear from the start that Sharma looked unwell. The cabinet minister has gone home to self-isolate. The parliamentary authorities are understood to have given the area a deep clean and MPs were at the time sitting at least 2 metres apart.
Johnson promises proxy votes for shielding MPs: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a government U-turn to allow MPs who are shielding to vote by proxy following an outcry over the treatment of parliamentarians with medical conditions or those who are looking after vulnerable loved ones during the pandemic. Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, told the prime minster that the scenes of MPs either queuing to vote or unable to vote on Tuesday were shameful. The PM said he understood the concerns of MPs who were shielding due to health conditions, their age or caring duties about having to vote in person. But he defended MPs having to queue to vote, saying ordinary people were doing the same when they went shopping.
Coronavirus: Do not meet others indoors during rain, PM urges bbc.com
Arrivals to the UK: UK quarantine plans and £1,000 penalties confirmed bbc.com
Hong Kong: China accuses UK of gross interference over Hong Kong citizenship offer 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 ⊃
Alliance for coronavirus vaccine production in Europe: France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands have forged an alliance to speed up the development and production of a vaccine against the coronavirus on European soil, the Dutch health ministry announced on Wednesday. The countries, now part of the Inclusive Vaccine Alliance, are convinced that a successful result requires a joint strategy and investments. The alliance is currently exploring initiatives and is in discussions with various pharmaceutical companies. Earlier that day, German Development Minister Gerd Müller called for a future coronavirus vaccine to be available to everyone.
EU seeks overhaul of pharma rules: The EU Commission has begun a process to overhaul pharmaceutical manufacturing rules to make medicines and vaccines more easily available. The coronavirus pandemic clearly demonstrated the need to modernise the way the EU ensures access to medicines for its population, a Commission document said on Tuesday, listing shortages and unequal access to medicines as the main issues to address. The document seeks feedback from the public on possible reforms of rules on clinical trials, marketing of medicines and their production and distribution in Europe. The Commission cited antibiotics, cancer medicines and vaccines as essential items often in short supply across the EU.
No agreement on aid programme at next EU summit: According to EU Council leader Charles Michel, the next EU summit will not reach an agreement on the 750 billion euro programme for economic recovery after the coronavirus crisis. The virtual summit on 19 June will only serve as preparation for a later EU meeting, Michel’s spokesman said on Wednesday. If possible, the next summit could take place as a physical meeting.
Coronavirus is not high threat to workers, EU says: The EU Commission has classified the coronavirus as a level-3 hazard on a four-step risk list on which level 4 is the highest. Under EU rules, a level-3 virus can cause severe human disease and present a serious hazard to workers; it may present a risk of spreading to the community, but there is usually effective prophylaxis or treatment available. The move will allow less stringent workplace safety measures than if the virus was deemed a high risk. The decision has wide economic and health implications as it could affect companies’ costs in restarting business activity and have an impact on workers’ safety.
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.
George Floyd: Europe’s reaction to Floyd’s death highlights racism at home as well as in the US; All four former officers involved in Floyd’s killing now face charges fortune.com; cnn.com
China: Planned EU-China summit in Germany postponed due to coronavirus reuters.com
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
“I have doubts about whether it makes sense to create another intermediate format.”
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Wednesday he was not sure whether now was the right time to shake up the format of the G7 after US President Donald Trump said it was a very outdated group of countries in its current format.
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Coronavirus apps in Europe: France has rolled out its “StopCovid” contact tracing app to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the country. Within a few hours of its release on Tuesday, the new app had been downloaded to smartphones more than 600,000 times, according to official figures. Digital Minister Cedric O indicated that he was pleased with the initial uptake. He had previously said a publicity campaign would initially focus on city-dwellers – particularly those using public transport, restaurants and supermarkets at peak times – as they were among those most likely to spread Covid-19. Italy also made its coronavirus warning app “Immuni” available on Tuesday in the app and play stores. Austria has been using the app “Stopp Corona” since the end of March. In Switzerland, the tracing app “SwissCovid” is currently in its test phase.
cbsnews.com, bbc.com, rnd.de
Poland to hold presidential election on 28 June: The parliament in Poland has picked 28 June as a new date for a presidential election that was cancelled last month amid the coronavirus pandemic. Planning for the election had plunged Poland into political turmoil after the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party abruptly called it off four days before the original 10 May date. The PiS government and the liberal opposition had spent weeks in a bitter stalemate over how to proceed with the ballot, which had been mired in issues ranging from health and practical concerns to constitutional and democracy questions. For PiS, the election is vital to cementing its grip on power and making further progress on its conservative agenda.
Sweden’s coronavirus response chief admits too many died: Sweden’s chief epidemiologist and the architect of its light-touch approach to the coronavirus, Anders Tegnell, has acknowledged that the country has had too many deaths from Covid-19 and should have done more to curb the spread of the virus. Sweden’s death rate per capita was the highest in the world over the seven days to 2 June, figures suggest. This week the government bowed to mounting opposition pressure and promised to set up a commission to look into its Covid-19 strategy. In an interview, Tegnell subsequently said he still believed the basic strategy had worked well. He told Swedish Radio it was not clear yet exactly what the country should have done differently, or whether the restrictions it did impose should have been introduced simultaneously rather than step by step. When asked if too many people had died in Sweden of the disease, Tegnell answered simply: “Yes, absolutely.”
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Belgium to exit lockdown: Belgium is set to enter phase 3 of deconfinement measures next week on Monday, with a reopening of hotels, bars and restaurants, extended social life and eased tourism restrictions. “From June 8 everything will be allowed, with exceptions,” Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes told a news conference after a meeting of the country’s national security council. She said Belgium will also reopen its borders to all fellow EU states on 15 June. Cultural activities can continue without an audience, while cultural activities with an audience will have to wait until 1 July. Rules related to audience management will be provided, but plans include a limitation to 200 people, with social distancing.
Germany to lift travel ban for 31 European countries: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas unveiled Germany’s plan to lift travel restrictions on European countries on Wednesday. The individual advice will be for a total of 31 nations including the UK, provided that there are no longer any entry bans or large-scale lockdowns in the respective countries, he said. The ban currently in place will be changed to travel guidelines. Although the news will be welcomed by many, Maas warned Germans against rushing to travel. Germany will be watching contagion data very carefully, Maas added, saying that warnings could be reintroduced if new infections were to reach 50 per 100,000 people in a week in the country concerned.
Coronavirus emergency in Spain extended until 20 June: The Spanish government on Wednesday secured parliament’s backing for a final extension to the state of emergency imposed to tackle the coronavirus epidemic and which will now last until 21 June. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez sought to extend the state of emergency, which grants his government exceptional powers, to allow greater control over people’s mobility as a lockdown that began in mid-March is phased out. His proposal was narrowly approved in the 350-seat lower house, garnering 177 votes in favour despite opposition from the conservative People’s Party and the far-right Vox.
⊂ 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 ⊃
Record number of Britons becoming German citizens: The number of people who became naturalised German citizens increased by 15% in 2019, with more than average coming from the UK. Out of the 128,900 people who obtained German citizenship in 2019, the most came from Turkey at 16,200, followed by Great Britain at 14,600, Poland at 6,000 and Romania at 5,800. Since Britain voted to leave the EU in June 2016, 31,600 Britons have acquired German citizenship.