Wednesday, 10 June 2020: Plan to reopen primary schools ditched, non-essential shops open, EU countries still disagree on coronavirus aid fund, Relatives of coronavirus victims in Italy raise allegations, Paris prosecutor opens probe into handling of virus crisis

⊂ UNITED KINGDOM ⊃

Plan to reopen primary schools ditched, non-essential shops open: The plan for all primary school years in England to go back to school before the end of term will be dropped by the government. While more than two-thirds of schools in England have begun welcoming some pupils, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told MPs the government was not able to extend that to all primary school pupils before the summer. Head teachers’ leaders said the plan had never been a practical possibility, and parents have given a mixed response. The school return is being handled differently in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Business Secretary Alok Sharma has confirmed that non-essential shops in England can open from Monday, saying the move will allow high streets up and down the country to spring back to life.
bbc.com, politico.eu (Schools); theguardian.com (Shops)

Travel bosses told “air bridges” to be allowed from 29 June: Holidays abroad could be possible from July, according to travel industry bosses. Quash Quarantine, a group of more than 500 companies, says it has received private assurances from senior government sources that travel corridors will be in place from 29 June. The group, which has been campaigning to overturn the 14-day quarantine rule that came into force in the UK on 8 June, is pressing for the assurance to be made public. A foreign ministry source in Spain, the most popular holiday destination for Britons, told “Reuters” however that there were no discussions with Britain on a travel corridor.
telegraph.co.uk, theguardian.com, uk.reuters.com

UK to start post-Brexit trade talks with Japan: The UK and Japan are set to begin talks on Tuesday aimed at reaching agreement on a post-Brexit trade deal. After decades of sharing its trade policy with the EU, Britain is now embarking on free trade negotiations with countries around the world. Discussions with Japan will initially be held via video link and be between the UK’s International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs  Toshimitsu Motegi. Britain hopes ultimately to join the 11-member Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and sees trade talks with Japan as a step towards that end.
bbc.com, reuters.com

UK coronavirus death toll tops 50,000, new data shows cnn.com
Black Lives Matter: Oxford protesters target statue of colonialist; Labour councils launch slavery statue review uk.reuters.com; theguardian.com
Brexit: Paymaster General Mordaunt says UK will not budge on fishing rights in Brexit talks nytimes.com
150 business, charity and trade body leaders: Put sustainable development at heart of UK recovery, PM told 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 ⊃

Thousands pay tribute to George Floyd: George Floyd, a black man killed by a police officer in Minneapolis on 25 May, was laid to rest in Houston on Tuesday. Thousands of mourners wearing face coverings to prevent spread of the coronavirus formed a procession to pay final respects. Floyd’s case was reminiscent of the 2014 killing of another African American, Eric Garner, who died after being placed by police in a chokehold while under arrest in New York City. The dying words of both men, “I can’t breathe,” have become a rallying cry in global protests against police violence and racism. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden met with Floyd’s relatives for more than an hour in Houston on Monday, according to the family’s lawyer. President Donald Trump has yet to publicly say something about Floyd’s funeral service. Meanwhile, Trump shared an unfounded claim on Tuesday, tweeting that the 75-year-old man pushed to the ground by Buffalo police officers last week could be an Antifa provocateur. In France, the family of black Frenchman Adama Traore, who died in police custody in circumstances similar to Floyd’s killing, called for more street protests.
nytimes.com, reuters.com (Floyd); independent.co.uk, forbes.com (Trump); reuters.com (Traore)

EU countries still disagree on coronavirus aid fund: The billion-euro reconstruction fund to support the recovery of the EU’s coronavirus-stricken economies still faces high hurdles. The EU states raised many questions during a meeting of EU finance and economics ministers, said EU Commission Vice Valdis Dombrovskis on Tuesday. But he said there was also a lot of support for the EU Commission’s plan. Croatian Finance Minister Zdravko Maric even said the discussion was a good first step towards reaching an agreement. France and Germany have previously proposed a 500 billion euro recovery fund that would offer grants to EU regions and sectors hit hardest by the pandemic. Portugal’s Finance Minister Mario Centeno, the Eurogroup’s president, has resigned from the Portuguese government. Centeno, who had asked to step down both from the government and the Eurogroup, did not give reasons for his decision.
welt.de, reuters.com (Recovery fund); euractiv.com (Centeno)

EU trade chief Hogan confirms interest in WTO job: European Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan confirmed on Tuesday that he was considering a bid to become the next director-general of the World Trade Organisation WTO, as EU governments debated whether to unify around a single European candidate. The nominations process began on Monday and will run to 8 July to find a successor to Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, who will vacate the post a year early at the end of August. Meanwhile, Hogan has announced that the EU wants to review its trade policy. He said the right balance should be struck between a Europe that is open to business and a Europe that protects its citizens and companies.
nytimes.com, handelsblatt.com

EU backs Covid-19 changes to airline CO2 scheme: The EU has backed proposals to change a planned United Nations scheme to tackle aviation’s carbon footprint. With planes grounded around the world, carriers want changes to the UN aviation agency’s CORSIA deal to cap emissions from international flights. Starting in 2021, CORSIA would see airlines buy carbon offset credits to cover any emissions from international flights above a baseline of average emissions in 2019 and 2020. The International Air Transport Association wants this baseline changed to 2019, because aviation emissions in 2020 are lower than expected due to the pandemic. Green groups are skeptical of CORSIA, which they say would allow airlines to keep emitting planet-warming carbon dioxide for years, while buying inexpensive carbon offset credits.
consilium.europa.eu, reuters.com

European Central Bank contemplating dividend moratorium extension: The ECB is contemplating whether to extend a request to banks to hold off on dividend payments and share buybacks, and hopes to provide more clarity in July, Andrea Enria, its chief bank supervisor said on Tuesday. The ECB has asked banks to hold off on dividends and buybacks until October but the euro zone’s financial risk watchdog, chaired by ECB President Christine Lagarde, said the moratorium should last at least until the end of the year.
nytimes.com

-Advertisement –
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.

Better preparation: Merkel and Macron urge EU to prepare for next pandemic welt.de
European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) deposes senior official Jacek Krawczyk politico.eu
EU Commission prepares strategy to combat online child sex abuse neweurope.eu
Eurozone GDP drops less than expected brusselstimes.com
Transport Committee approves major reform of road transport sector europarl.europa.eu

⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃

Let us overcome this term.
The EU classified China as a “strategic rival” in 2019. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has emphasised that while their system, values and interests were different, the EU did not believe that China was threatening world peace.
faz.net

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Relatives of coronavirus victims in Italy raise allegations: Relatives of numerous coronavirus victims in Italy have leveled serious accusations against the authorities, saying too many people had died in the virus crisis due to negligence and incompetence. This Wednesday, the relatives want to symbolically file around 50 criminal charges against unknown persons with the public prosecutor in Bergamo. The province was the centre of the coronavirus crisis in Italy. More than half of Bergamo residents who submitted a blood sample tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, health authorities in the northern Italian city reported Monday. Cuban doctors returning from a mission to treat coronavirus patients in Italy were welcomed home Monday with cheers from the public.
orf.at (Relatives), dw.com (Bergamo), afp.com (Cuba)

Paris prosecutor opens probe into handling of virus crisis: The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened a preliminary inquiry into the authorities’ response to the coronavirus epidemic, to determine whether any criminal offences might have been committed. The prosecutor said in a statement the court had received 62 complaints about the handling of the crisis by public bodies, including government ministries, local authorities and nursing homes. The Eiffel Tower in Paris will reopen on 25 June from its longest closure since World War Two after being forced to shut for more than three months due to the pandemic.
nytimes.com (Probe), reuters.com (Eiffel Tower)

Poles march in support of judge critical of government reforms: Hundreds of Polish people marched in cities across the country on Monday to show their support for Warsaw district judge Igor Tuleya, who has been critical of the government’s judicial reforms. Tuleya is accused of overstepping his authority, when he allowed media into a courtroom hearing on whether the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party violated rules during a 2016 vote in parliament. A hearing on Tuesday decided that his immunity will not be lifted. Since coming to power in 2015, the PiS has passed a series of sweeping judicial changes, which it argues are necessary to control corruption within the court system, but party critics say the reforms are just an attempt to muzzle judges.
dw.com, spiegel.de

-Advertisement-
Welted men’s footwear: Superior craftsmanship in shoemaking. Buy directly from our manufactures avoiding expensive middlemen. Experience true shoe freedom, handcrafted and custom made from the finest Italian leather. No matter the occasion; be it for the office, leisure or weddings – we have the appropriate pair of shoes
shoepassion.com

Merkel and Putin concerned about situation in Libya: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Syria’s humanitarian aid needs in a telephone call, the Kremlin said in a statement on Tuesday. Putin and Merkel also expressed their concern over an escalation of fighting in Libya and their support for four-way talks on conflict in eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin added.
reuters.com

Austria to open borders to Italy: Austria will reopen its borders to Italy and lift a quarantine requirement for travellers from over 20 other European countries next week, officials said on Tuesday, in a further easing of restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus. The lifting of controls will not include Sweden, the officials said, adding that details will be finalised at a ministerial meeting this Wednesday.
reuters.com

Germany to extend virus-related travel ban for non-European countries nytimes.com
Sweden: Who killed PM Olof Palme in 1986? Swedes hope to find out reuters.com
Portugal: Coronavirus is spreading in poor neighbourhoods tagesschau.de
Spain: Wearing masks in public will remain mandatory even after state of emergency ends tagesschau.de
Cyprus opens its airports to tourists zeit.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 ⊃

Antwerp removes statue of colonial-era King Leopold: Authorities in Antwerp removed a statue of the former Belgian king and colonial ruler Leopold II on Tuesday after it was set on fire in protest at his oppressive rule of Congo. Leopold II’s rule from 1865 to 1909 involved a reign of terror in the Congo. A long-running campaign to have statues of Leopold II removed, and his name removed from street signs, squares and public transport stops, has been renewed amid the “Black Lives Matter” protests, with more than 60,000 people signing an online petition.
politico.eu

 

Newsletter subscription
Subscribe to our free daily newsletter with a compact overview of European topics:
Previous editions

Other political briefings

Our digital news briefings