Tuesday, 7 July 2020: Von der Leyen criticised for Croatian election video, German vaccine maker CureVac receives EU funding, French President Macron appoints new cabinet


Von der Leyen criticised for Croatian election video: The EU Commission on Monday apologised after its president Ursula von der Leyen appeared in an election video for Croatia’s ruling party, ahead of Croatia’s parliamentary election on Sunday. Von der Leyen appeared in a promotional video clip with other figures from the EU’s centre-right European People’s Party, in an ad posted over the weekend by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ). However, the code of conduct for members of the Commission states that they shall abstain from making public statements or interventions on behalf of any political party or organisation of the social partners of which they are members, except for when they stand for election or participate in a vote. Von der Leyens spokesman Eric Mamer said the commission chief acknowledged that any message of a political nature must respect the rules of code, adding that she was meant to be speaking in a personal capacity. Regrettably, this had not been made clear in the final version of the video. “With her show of partisanship, she is gambling away trust and thereby damaging the office,” German Social Democrat MEP Jens Geier said.
dw.com, politico.eu

German vaccine maker CureVac receives EU funding: Biotech company CureVac, which is developing a potential Covid-19 vaccine, has secured a 75 million euro loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to support the company’s ongoing development of vaccines against infectious diseases, including its vaccine candidate CVnCoV aimed at preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections. In addition, the loan will support CureVac’s efforts to expand its existing production capabilities and accelerate the completion of its fourth production site in Tübingen. The EIB financing will be provided in three €25 million tranches upon completion of pre-defined milestones. EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel emphasised the importance of vaccine research and stressed that the coronavirus would not go away until there was a vaccine against it. EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle said it did not need a pandemic to prove that new vaccines could be breakthroughs for public health.
ec.europa.eu, reuters.com

Brexit negotiations continue this Tuesday: The UK might have to pay an extra €2 billion on top of its existing EU pensions bill as a result of a 21% increase in the pension liabilities of EU officials. The cost of the Commission’s Pension Scheme Liability Bill has increased by over €30bn since the UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016, but since the liabilities have been formally agreed to and signed into UK law it appears that Boris Johnson’s government will have little alternative but to settle the revised bill. Meanwhile, the EU and the UK have postponed their negotiations on their future relationship until Tuesday. The Brexit talks scheduled for Monday were cancelled at the last moment. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier once again said he was disappointed with the lack of progress.
euractiv.com (EU pensions), stern.de (Brexit talks)

EU criticises Germany’s single-handed approach to combat hate speech online: Germany has passed a new law that will make it easier to combat hate speech on the internet. The EU Commission has criticised the law. On the sidelines of a video conference of EU justice ministers on Monday, EU Vice-President Vera Jourova reiterated that the EU wanted to use a pan-European solution in the fight against online hate and agitation. This meant that EU countries should not have their own specific laws. At the same time, Jourova promised EU-wide rules for online networks. She said it was important to learn from the German experience.

EU approves loan for Austrian Airlines: The EU Commission has approved a 150 million euro subordinated loan to compensate Lufthansa’s Austrian Airlines for damages suffered due to the coronavirus outbreak, it said on Monday. The loan would enable Austria to partly compensate Austrian Airlines for the damages it has incurred due to travel restrictions, Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said in a statement, adding that the aviation sector had been hit particularly hard by the pandemic.
ec.europa.eu, nytimes.com

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The virus is not to blame for the financial situation of the past ten years.
The Italian government cannot blame the pandemic for its financial problems and therefore shouldn’t receive unconditional EU money, said Austrian Finance Minister Gernot Blümel.


French President Macron appoints new cabinet: After promising reinvention for the rest of his term, French President Emmanuel Macron opted for a limited government reshuffle that kept key figures in place while aiming to beef up ministries to revive the economy. The biggest change comes at the interior ministry, where outgoing Budget Minister Gérald Darmanin takes over. He replaces Christophe Castaner, a close Macron ally who has been embattled for many months, most recently losing the trust of police unions. Barbara Pompili — a former member of the Green party who served as secretary of state for biodiversity from 2016 to 2017 — is the new environment minister. Jean-Yves Le Drian will continue to lead the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs while Bruno Le Maire retains his position as finance minister. Florence Parly remains defence minister.

French bus driver attacked over face masks: A bus driver in the south-west of France has been left brain dead after reportedly being attacked by passengers who refused to wear face masks. The driver had refused to allow several people – who had no tickets and were not wearing masks – to board the bus on Sunday night, a police source told AFP news agency. He sustained serious head injuries after being punched. Five people have been arrested.

Migrants stranded on animal cargo ship off Malta: More than 50 migrants rescued from the Mediterranean have been forced to stay on a cargo ship designed to house animals off Malta. The captain said the ship had rescued the migrants from a sinking dinghy heading from Libya to Europe. He said he was running out of water and food to give them. Malta has sent a medical team and two people were brought ashore for health reasons. But the captain said he was denied permission to bring all people ashore. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell will visit Malta this Tuesday and Wednesday. Talks with top politicians will also revolve around sea rescue. Meanwhile, Italy has authorised the charity ship “Ocean Viking” to transfer 180 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean to a ship in Sicily for quarantine. European lawmakers have called on Greece to investigate recurrent reports of violent pushbacks at the border with Turkey, which if true would mean Greece is not ensuring the right to asylum. One person has been killed and several injured in a fight in the completely overcrowded refugee camp in Moria on the Greek island of Lesbos
zeit.de (Malta), welt.de („Ocean Viking“), europarl.europa.eu (Grenzbeamte), zeit.de (Moria)

Swiss make masks mandatory on public transport: Passengers on public transport across Switzerland have begun wearing face masks after the government ordered citizens to do so. Most restrictive measures were phased out last month as the number of infections across the country dropped but they have since gathered pace again as people come into closer contact, prompting the government to implement the new rule on wearing face masks on trains, trams, buses, mountain railways and ferries.

Sweden prepares for possible second wave: The country is preparing for a second coronavirus wave in autumn. Although the number of deaths and serious coronavirus infections have fortunately decreased, it does not mean that the danger is over, said Swedish Minister of Social Affairs Lena Hallengren on Monday.

Denmark gives Nord Stream 2 nod to restart pipeline work reuters.com
Poland: President Duda criticised for statements about German journalist tagesspiegel.de
Austria: For the first time more than 1000 active coronavirus cases sueddeutsche.de
Greece: Tourists tested positive for coronavirus orf.at


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)


France won’t totally ban Huawei: France will not have a total ban on Huawei equipment, but will urge its telecommunication providers not to switch to the Chinese company, the head of the national cybersecurity agency, Guillaume Poupard, said on Sunday. Poupard said that permits that last between of three and eight months will be issued to operators who already use Huawei equipment, a restriction that will likely limit the Chinese company’s access to France’s 5G network.


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