Wednesday, 13 October 2021: Report says UK’s slow virus lockdown cost 1000s of lives, UK’s Frost proposes entirely new Northern Ireland Protocol, EU announces €1 billion in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan

⊂ UNITED KINGDOM ⊃

Report says UK’s slow virus lockdown cost 1000s of lives: Britain’s failure to impose a lockdown in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic cost thousands of unnecessary deaths and ranks among the country’s worst public health blunders, lawmakers concluded Tuesday in the nation’s first comprehensive report on the pandemic. The deadly delay derived from the failure of British government ministers to question the recommendations of scientific advisers, resulting in a dangerous level of “groupthink” that caused them to dismiss the more aggressive strategies adopted in East and Southeast Asia to limit infections, the report said.
apnews.com

UK climate chief warns Tories of cost of delaying net zero: The president of the COP26 climate summit has a warning for his Conservative colleagues: Ignore global warming and it will cost you more. Alok Sharma, Britain’s lead for negotiations ahead of November’s talks, attempted to ramp up the political jeopardy as domestic pressures build over the UK’s net zero commitments. Meanwhile, China plans to build more coal-fired power plants and has hinted that it will rethink its timetable to slash emissions, in a significant blow to the UK’s ambitions for securing a global agreement on phasing out coal at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.
politico.eu, theguardian.com

Rishi Sunak to call for ‚global action‘ to tackle supply chain issues as fuel crisis continues: The Chancellor of the Exchequer is to call for „global action“ to tackle supply chain issues on his first official visit to the United States. Sunak will encourage finance ministers from G20 nations to „work together“ to ensure supply chains are more resilient in the future following the struggles in getting goods around the world during the pandemic due to driver shortages and container ships stacking up.
news.sky.com

Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock given United Nations role bbc.com
Racism: Johnson told to drive out ‘dinosaur mentality’ from Tory party after race row theguardian.com

⊂ POLITJOBS UNITED KINGDOM ⊃

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⊂ EUROPE ⊃

UK’s Frost proposes entirely new Northern Ireland Protocol
bbc.com, politico.eu, apnews.com

  • The UK wants to negotiate a new protocol to regulate post-Brexit trade in Northern Ireland, Britain’s Brexit minister David Frost said in a speech at the British embassy in Lisbon Tuesday
  • Frost said a fundamental rewrite of the mutually agreed divorce deal was the only way to fix the „fractious relationship“ between EU and UK
  • He warned that Britain could push an emergency override button on the deal if it didn’t get its way
  • Most contentiously, he said the EU must also remove the European Court of Justice as the ultimate arbiter of disputes concerning trade in Northern Ireland and instead agree to international arbitration
  • Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said this demand was very hard to accept: „I don’t think we could ever have a situation where we had another court deciding what the rules of the single market are.“
  • The EU Commission’s formal response to the UK plan will come this Wednesday, though Brussels has warned the UK not to expect significant renegotiation

EU announces €1 billion in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan
euronews.com

  • EU has announced revamped humanitarian aid package worth €1 billion to deal with aftermath of Taliban takeover of Afghanistan
  • Unlike humanitarian aid, development assistance requires closer cooperation with the government and public authorities, currently dominated by the Taliban
  • EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen: „We have been clear about our conditions for any engagement with the Afghan authorities, including on the respect of human rights. So far, the reports speak for themselves.“
  • Turkey has made a U-turn in its refugee policy and is starting illegal deportations tagesspiegel.de
  • An Afghan interpreter who helped rescue then US senator Joe Biden from the harsh Afghanistan countryside has managed to leave the region with his family bbc.com

EU’s first green bond issuance raises $13.8 billion: The EU Commission issued its inaugural green bonds Tuesday, raising 12 billion euros from a sale that attracted strong demand from investors. The EU’s executive branch is planning to issue up to 250 billion euros in green bonds by the end of 2026 as part of its plans to finance the 27-nation bloc’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
apnews.com

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EU announces cuts in Baltic catches of herring, cod: The EU imposed cuts in catches of cod and herring in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday, to make sure both threatened stock and the region’s fishing fleet have a chance of survival. Under the measures catches for Western cod will be cut by 88% next year while Eastern Baltic cod will be kept at a highly reduced level, down 70% compared with two years ago. The sea off several of the EU’s northern member states has been suffering from pollution, high water temperatures and too many vessels chasing too few fish over the past years, pushing EU ministers to impose some tougher measures.
abcnews.go.com

CureVac has withdrawn its Covid vaccine application to European regulators

  • German company CureVac announced Tuesday that it was withdrawing its mRNA vaccine for COVID-19 from the approval process in Europe nytimes.com
  • Thailand plans to end Covid quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers from at least 10 low-risk nations from 1 November, including the UK, China, Germany and the US bbc.com
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF): Weaker economic recovery in most wealthy countries due to impact of delta variant of the coronavirus de.euronews.com

Zelensky spoke to Macron and Merkel about steps to end war in eastern Ukraine: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday he had spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron about intensifying talks to end the war in eastern Ukraine and preparing a new peace summit. Merkel and Macron also spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone on Monday regarding a solution to the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. Zelensky’s office said the four countries may soon meet for a summit on the conflict, in what is known as the Normandy format. The German and French governments have previously mediated between Russia and Ukraine as part of this diplomatic arrangement. During a summit Tuesday in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, EU leaders vowed to uphold Ukraine’s energy security and signed deals intended to bolster ties.
reuters.com, dw.com, apnews.com

Surging energy prices: EU considers natural gas purchase theguardian.com
Beekeepers: EU to target fake Chinese honey with new labelling rules politico.eu
EU Venezuela election mission: Josep Borrell ignored staff advice ft.com
EU court: Lawful purchaser of a computer programme may decompile it in whole or in part in order to correct functional errors heise.de
Digital: EU Commission gathers expert group on disinformation and digital literacy euractiv.com
Farm to Fork: MEPs slam EU Commission for delaying release of report euractiv.com
Iraq election: Chief Observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission to Iraq, Viola von Cramon, praises „positive“ process de.euronews.com

⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃

Time is running out.
German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze has called for an ambitious new framework agreement to fight species extinction globally.
n-tv.de

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Austrian pollster linked to Sebastian Kurz corruption probe arrested
politico.eu, dw.com

  • Sabine Beinschab, the founder of market research firm Research Affairs, was arrested Tuesday in connection with corruption and bribery scandal that resulted in resignation of Sebastian Kurz as chancellor
  • She is suspected of having deleted her computer’s hard drive shortly before police raids on the offices of Kurz, his close advisers and the conservative party headquarters in Vienna last week
  • Authorities allege that Research Affairs carried out surveys beginning in 2016 that were manipulated to serve Kurz’s political agenda
  • Austria’s new head of government, Alexander Schallenberg, has defended Kurz and said he would continue to work closely with him
  • Opposition activists mocked the new chancellor as Kurz’s puppet
  • The opposition Social Democrats (SPÖ) called on Schallenberg to make a clean break with Kurz’s conservative allies

Norway’s prime minister steps down: Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said Tuesday she will step down as head of a three-party, minority centre-right government after a left-leaning bloc won last month’s parliamentary election. The leader of Norway’s Labour Party, Jonas Gahr Stoere, is expected to take over later this week.
apnews.com

Macron pushes nuclear, hydrogen power in massive green investment plan: French President Emmanuel Macron launched his long-term investment roadmap on Tuesday. Dubbed „France 2030,“ it calls for €30 billion to be spent on reducing carbon emissions while also revitalising the industrial sector. The president promised to promote small, agile startups and create an environment where they could better compete with large, long-established enterprises. Other key components of the plan included investing in hydrogen and „small-sized“ nuclear power plants, expanding electro-mobility, as well as the creation of what he called a „low-emission“ airplane.
dw.com, france24.com

Germany’s budding coalition partners likely to move toward formal talks
politico.eu, dw.com

  • Three major German political parties — the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and neoliberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) — are expected to finish exploratory talks for a possible coalition this week
  • While some issues remain difficult, the parties will quickly get ready for their next big meeting on Friday, said Michael Kellner, the Greens‘ national director
  • FDP General Secretary Volker Wissing: „We will assess the results of the past few days‘ discussions and write down what we can do together.“

Belgium: Government to reform tax regime for expats politico.eu
Spain: Prime Minister Sanchez booed at military parade to observe National Day english.elpais.com
Czech Republic: Prime Minister Babis claims gravely ill president Zeman promised he could continue in role theguardian.com
France 1: Catholic priests must report abuse allegations heard in confession theguardian.com
France 2: Last surviving French World War II Resistance hero dies at 101 france24.com
UK court: Dubai’s ruler and the Pegasus phone hacking exposed theguardian.com

⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃

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⊂ LAST BUT NOT LEAST ⊃

IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva survives China scandal: Kristalina Georgieva will remain International Monetary Fund (IMF) boss after its board decided against giving her the axe on late Monday. Speculation over the Bulgarian’s future has been rife for weeks following a probe last month into allegations she tampered with data during her time as chief executive of the World Bank to improve China’s global standing in the business and investment world. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke with Georgieva by phone and said the report „raised legitimate issues and concerns,“ the Treasury Department said in a statement. However, the Treasury agreed that „absent further direct evidence with regard to the role of the managing director there is not a basis for a change in IMF leadership.“
politico.eu, apnews.com

 

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