⊂ EUROPE ⊃
EU Commission approves Air-France aid: The European Commission has approved seven billion euros in French state aid to support the airline Air France. The aid is proportionate as a bankruptcy of the airline would cause serious economic damage. The financial injection is made up of four billion euros in government money and three billion in bank loans. In addition, Air France employs 41,000 people, which is an essential reason for the survival of the company. The airline is part of the Dutch-French Air-France-KLM group, in which the two states each have a 14 percent share. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager also praised the airline for complying with certain environmental requirements when rescuing it.
Büros des Europaparlaments öffnen für Frauen in Notsituationen: The European Parliament has opened its doors to women in need. In the Helmut Kohl House in Brussels women can stay overnight and get a meal. To this end, 100 offices of parliamentarians have been converted into individual accommodation. This is possible because 95 percent of the parliamentarians do their work from their home office. The campaign is an initiative of the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli. The number of homeless women as well as women affected by domestic violence is said to have risen noticeably due to the Corona pandemic. There are currently 60 women in Brussels. Sassoli has also made an offer to local authorities in Strasbourg and Luxembourg to make the premises available to social organisations.
Record slump in industry in the euro zone: The IHS Markit Institute has been studying industrial sentiment in the eurozone using the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) since 1997. In April the PMI fell from 44.5 to 33.4 points, the lowest value ever recorded. In 1997 it stood at 33.6 points. From a value of 50, the value indicates economic growth – including a decline in economic power. Exports, orders and production have declined noticeably, and delivery times have increased considerably. If there is no massive second wave of infection, however, the economic low point could be reached. “Given the flattening curve of the virus spread and the discussions towards easing pandemic restrictions, there is hope that the peak of the virus’ negative impact on the economy was in April,” said Chris Williamson, Chief Economist of IHS.
Vice President of the EU Parliament Karas calls for rule of law criteria: ÖVP politician Othmar Karas, demands that there should be clear criteria for the rule of law in corona aid. According to the Vice-President of the EU Parliament, member states should commit themselves to the democratic and constitutional values of the EU and otherwise be sanctioned if this is disregarded. EU rule of law proceedings are currently underway against Poland and Hungary. The politician also warns, however, that the EU budget beyond the Corona aid of 540 billion euros must be increased, as no other economic, social and ecological challenge would be less important. At the same time, environmental protection and the “Green Deal” should not be played off against containing the Corona pandemic.
EU citizens should be able to enter France without quarantine: French President Emmanuel Macron is sending a signal to the European states: he wants to lift the compulsory quarantine for persons from the EU, Great Britain and the Schengen states against the approach of his health minister Olivier Véran. The two-week compulsory quarantine on entry was a particular challenge for commuters from the border regions. However, France did not close its internal borders with neighbouring states, but implemented a travel ban that did not allow further travel beyond 100 kilometres. However, these are to be relaxed from 11 May. France had only extended the health emergency by two months until 24 July at the weekend. In the coming days, more precise regulations for border crossers will be defined.
EU Commission approves Aurbis takeover: The Hamburg-based copper group Aurubis may now officially take over the Belgian-Spanish Metallo Group for the price of 380 million euros. The EU Commission has approved the deal, which was negotiated in May 2019. The EU Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, explained that copper is an essential component of the digital economy and therefore an examination had to be carried out to ensure that the resource cycle would not be negatively affected. However, no evidence of this had been found, so that the takeover was also in line with the Green Deal plans.
Unemployment: Pandemic pushes Austrian unemployment to all-time high rappler.com
Car manufacturer: Nissan will scale back efforts in Europe to focus elsewhere cnet.com
Apps: European virus tracing apps highlight battle for privacy mynorthwest.com
COVID-19: Von der Leyen thanks Boris Johnson for his generosity as UK makes £774million donation express.co.uk
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
“Faced with COVID-19, ‘everyone for themselves’ would be a major mistake.”
French President Emmanuel Macron at the Donor Conference. France gives 500 million euros in the fight against the Corona virus.
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Corona dark figure declines in Austria according to study: On Monday, the Austrian Research Minister Heinz Faßmann announced that according to a new study, a maximum of 11,000 people in the country are infected with the corona virus. The number of infections is thus noticeably decreasing. This is the second study that has been conducted. At the beginning of April, 60,000 people were presumably ill during the first round – at the end of April, only about a sixth of them were still sick. The study was carried out with a random sample of 1,432 people – of whom only one person was proven to have the corona virus. The sample was selected at random, nursing homes and hospitals were not included. In communities where there had previously been a high number of corona infections, every 20th person tested positive. Faßmann thus dissipated hopes for the establishment of local herd immunity.
Outlook among Swiss SMEs is slowly recovering: Small and medium-sized companies assess their financial situation slightly better than a month ago, according to a study by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW). The proportion of companies with financial worries fell from just under half to 36 percent. However, one in eight companies fears bankruptcy. The general mood remains gloomy: 70 percent of SMEs expect negative to very negative consequences of the corona pandemic, this figure has only fallen by seven percent compared to the previous month. In response to the economic turbulence, half of the companies have introduced short-time working. The survey covered 350 companies.
British Minister of State resigns: The British Minister of State Conor Burns, who is responsible for international trade relations, has resigned due to abuse of office. He is considered a close confidant of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. A committee of inquiry had found that Burns had used his office to his advantage in a personal dispute. In a private credit dispute, he had tried to obtain payment for his father on official letterhead. In the process, he allegedly threatened that if he refused to pay, he would bring the case to Parliament. On behalf of the sub-committee, the letter allegedly showed that Burns had used his status to intimidate a British citizen.
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Portugal relaxes restrictions: After six weeks of a state of emergency with severe initial restrictions, Portugal relaxes the rules. Shops up to 200 square metres are allowed to open, and car dealerships can also resume operations. Masks are compulsory on public transport and in shops. Outdoor sports are also permitted again. Some beach sections are open for this purpose, so that citizens can surf. The Portuguese government had presented a plan to get out of the lockdown. In three steps, everyday life should return to normality. The next relaxation is to take place on May 18, shops up to 400 square meters are to open, and cafés and restaurants can also serve guests under certain conditions. Schools are also to reopen from this date. In the third phase, cinemas, theatres and shopping centres will also be accessible from 1 June.
In the Netherlands, contact has been broken off with over 5000 pupils: Due to the corona crisis, 5000 children and adolescents are currently unreachable according to school authorities – this corresponds to about 0.3 percent of all school-age children. Neither by telephone, e-mail or letter can the pupils be located in these cases. Although the digitalisation of the education system in the Netherlands is well advanced, homeschooling concepts would not reach precisely those children whose parents have a poor understanding of the language or where there is neglect. Experts assume that labour migrants have partly returned to their home countries because of the pandemic. However, many children simply miss lessons. In the Netherlands, educational institutions are to reopen from 11 May.
Poland argues about presidential election: A new president is due to be elected in Poland on 10th May – the PiS government is keeping to the date despite a corona pandemic and a polarising electoral law reform that has not yet been approved by Parliament. The opposition wants to postpone the election date. The electoral law reform is to be discussed in parliament on 6 or 7 May – just a few days before the election date. It provides that the election can only be conducted by postal vote. Poland had only abolished postal voting a few years ago because it was too susceptible to forgery. But there is also resistance within the PiS. Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin resigned in protest against the election plan. There is a wing of 18 people around him – if they do not vote for the electoral law reform in parliament, it could fail. What would happen to the presidential election in this case is uncertain.
Slovenia: PM Janša channels Orbán with attacks on media and migrants theguardian.com
Czech Republic: Government will not seek to extend state of emergency past May 17 news.expats.cz
Greece transfers almost 400 migrants from Lesbos island to mainland euronews.com
Belgium: Phasing Out Of Lockdown brusselstimes.com
Sweden: The risk of Sweden’s coronavirus strategy? Blind patriotism. washingtonpost.com
⊂ 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
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⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
Sporting goods manufacturers affected above all in Europe: The corona pandemic has hit sporting goods manufacturers hard economically – large companies like Adidas have already demanded state aid. The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry says Europe’s supply chains are affected by 64 percent – only China has suffered a severe cut of 68 percent.