⊂ EUROPE ⊃
EU to consider credit line from bailout fund to fight coronavirus: Euro zone ministers discussed on Tuesday the possibility of governments applying for a credit line from the bloc’s bailout fund to fight the coronavirus crisis, a move that would also pave the way for unlimited European Central Bank bond purchases if needed. The idea is that either all, or most, euro zone countries would apply for a precautionary stand-by credit called the “Enhanced Conditions Credit Line” from the European Stability Mechanism ESM, the bailout fund, which has an unused lending capacity of 410 billion euros. Italy, France and other southern European countries said the ESM was created to fight an economic shock and should now be used. But Germany, Finland, the Netherlands and Austria said money could not be lent with no strings attached. Officials cautioned it was unclear if decisions could be taken now or if they would require the input of EU leaders who hold talks on Thursday.
EU asks Greece to move migrants out of crowded camps: The EU Commission has asked Greece to move migrants most at risk of contracting the coronavirus from overcrowded camps on its Mediterranean islands. Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said Greece had opposed moving the migrants to the Greek mainland, citing the absence of coronavirus cases in the camps while the disease is spreading elsewhere in Greece. With much of Europe in lockdown under measures to curb the spread of the virus, Johansson said the elderly, sick and others most at risk of infection could be moved to other areas on the Greek islands. The situation in the camps is dire at the best of times. Immigration officers in Mozambique have found 64 dead bodies in a shipping container on the back of a lorry that had crossed into Mozambique from Malawi. Two people, including the vehicle’s driver, have been detained in connection with the deaths. The migrants were on a well-known trafficking route to South Africa.
reuters.com (Greek camps), bbc.com (Mozambique)
Bid to ensure supply of protective equipment for EU proves successful: The joint procurement of personal protective equipment launched by the EU Commission to address the coronavirus crisis has proven successful. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU had secured concrete offers of considerable scale to supply protective equipment, in some cases exceeding the quantities that had been requested. The offers were being assessed and the equipment should be available two weeks after EU governments sign contracts with the bidders, the Commission said in a statement. “It shows that being part of the Union pays off,” von der Leyen said.
ec.europa.eu, reuters.com, euractiv.com
G7 pledges to do whatever is necessary to restore growth: Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of Seven countries on Tuesday pledged to do whatever would be necessary to restore confidence and economic growth and to protect jobs, businesses, and the resilience of the financial system in the corona crisis. G7 officials also promised to continue co-ordinating efforts. The Group of Seven is made up of the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Japan, France and Italy. A joint declaration on the crisis failed, however, because of the United States. According to the German “Spiegel”, the US insisted on the dubious name “Wuhan virus”. The other G7 members rejected any label that suggested that the pandemic was a Chinese problem. They proposed the term “Covid-19”, which is also used by the World Health Organisation WHO.
marketwatch.com, cnbc.com, spiegel.de
Corona crisis 1: EU Commission accuses online platforms of exploiting consumers’ fear of coronavirus for economic gain euractiv.com
Corona crisis 2: Council of Europe stresses that corona measures must respect democracy sn.at
Corona crisis 3: Economy in the euro zone collapses cnbc.com
Corona crisis 4: EU Commissioner Gentiloni in quarantine as a precaution de.investing.com
EU accession talks: EU greenlights membership talks for Albania and North Macedonia nytimes.com
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
“Our fear becomes their business idea.”
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has warned of internet fraudsters and alleged miracle drugs against the coronavirus.
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Germany admits coronavirus patients from Italy: Hospitals in the cities of Dresden and Leipzig will take on six Italian coronavirus patients who are unable to receive treatment in their own country. The western state of North Rhine-Westphalia also announced plans to take ten Italian patients over coming days. “We need solidarity across borders in Europe,” said state premier Armin Laschet. “We want to preserve the European spirit.” A benefit to Germany from the transfers is that its hospitals will gain valuable further experience in treating coronavirus patients before the country’s tally of serious cases soars. Italy once again reported more than 700 coronavirus deaths in one day on Tuesday. This has dampened hopes that the infection rate in the country is slowing. A health official has warned that the reported numbers of infection cases may be just one-tenth of reality. One reason for the discrepancy is that only the people who come to hospitals are being tested. Italy’s petrol stations will start to close down because of the pandemic. Italian authorities have seized almost 2,000 ventilators that were to be delivered to Greece. The export of ventilators from Italy has been prohibited since the 25th of February.
euobserver.com, reuters.com (Germany); welt.de, nydailynews.com (Infections); reuters.com (Petrol stations); kleinezeitung.at (Ventilators)
Health workers account for 12% of Spain’s corona cases: Spain has paid tribute to front-line staff battling the worsening coronavirus outbreak that has infected nearly 4,000 health workers, who make up more than a tenth of known cases in the country. Nurses, doctors and other health workers have echoed the complaints of their counterparts in other countries, saying they lack protective equipment like masks. Spain’s armed forces have asked Nato for humanitarian assistance to fight the outbreak, seeking medical supplies to help curb the spread of the virus both in the military and in the civilian population. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Tuesday sought parliamentary approval to extend the state of emergency for an extra two weeks, until the 11th of April. A parliamentary vote is scheduled for this Wednesday.
Austria investigates ski resort business for hiding case: Austrian prosecutors are investigating a bar at the popular ski resort Ischgl for allegedly not reporting a case of coronavirus after an employee tested positive for the virus at the end of February. The resort has been linked to hundreds of cases in Austria, Germany and Scandinavian countries. Despite this, the slopes and bars at the resort stayed open for weeks. The public prosecutor’s office in Innsbruck said it had commissioned the Tyrol Criminal Police Office to conduct investigations on suspicion of negligent endangerment of people by communicable diseases.
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Swiss corona cases rise to nearly 9,000: Switzerland has nearly 9,000 confirmed coronavirus infections and 90 deaths from the disease, the Federal Office of Public Health said on Tuesday, adding it was premature to say the number of new cases was flattening out. Switzerland has stepped up its testing to around 8,000 people per day, with so far around 80,000 people tested in the Alpine republic since the crisis began. Health officials said this uptick was providing them with a more complete picture of who is infected and from where.
Norway unemployment is worst since WWII: Norway’s unemployment rate soared five-fold this month to above 10%, its highest level since the 1930s, as companies announced mass layoffs and shutdowns amid efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak. The number of Norwegians seeking unemployment benefits rose almost 350% in the past two weeks. Private-sector activity outside of the oil industry is expected to contract by between 15% and 20% in the near term, the government predicted on Friday. Norway has confirmed 2,566 people infected with the virus, of whom 12 have died. On Tuesday, Norway extended curbs on a range of public and private institutions, including the closure of schools and nurseries, until the 13th of April.
reuters.com, bloombergquint.com, reuters.com
“Dangerous situation” in Hungary: EU Parliament stands up for democracy in Hungary during corona crisis europarl.europa.eu
Croatia: Handling earthquake damage amid the virus outbreak euractiv.com
France: Companies could get state support, says Finance Minister Le Maire nytimes.com
Portugal: Prime Minister Costa calls for EU plan to tackle pandemic politico.eu
Netherlands: Coronavirus cases rise by 811 to 5,560, 63 new deaths reuters.com
Poland: Further limits to movement over coronavirus reuters.com
Cyprus: Far-reaching measures to limit citizens’ movement during outbreak handelsblatt.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
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)
⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
Tokyo 2020 Olympics to be postponed: The Tokyo Olympics were postponed to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the first such delay in the Games’ 124-year modern history. Pressure had been building on the International Olympic Committee, with some athletes and sporting bodies angry that a seemingly inevitable decision had taken so long. The committee said the Games would move to the summer of 2021 at the latest in a hoped-for celebration of triumph over the pandemic.