Wednesday, 27 January 2021: EU demands that vaccine makers honor their commitments, Biden and Putin agree to extend nuclear arms treaty, French teachers strike for more support as schools stay open during Covid

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

EU demands that vaccine makers honor their commitments: The EU has warned pharmaceutical companies that have developed coronavirus vaccines with EU aid that they must get their shots on schedule. On Friday, AstraZeneca told the European Commission that it will ship fewer doses to the bloc than originally agreed upon. „Europe invested billions to help develop the world’s first Covid-19 vaccines,“ EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video statement at the World Economic Forum Tuesday. „And now, the companies must deliver. They must honor their obligations.“ The EU, which invested 2.7 billion euros in vaccine research and production for the drug companies, “means business,” she added. Addressing the World Economic Forum’s virtual summit by video link, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged against a vaccine race between richer countries. She also admitted that the German government acted too slowly in containing the coronavirus pandemic, saying the country’s worst failure in the pandemic was the lack of digitalisation and that many procedures had taken too long due to bureaucratic red tape.
apnews.com, npr.org, theguardian.com, dw.com, dpa-international.com

Biden and Putin agree to extend nuclear arms treaty: The United States and Russia have agreed to extend the New START arms treaty by five years, the Kremlin reported on Tuesday following a phone call between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The White House did not immediately confirm the Kremlin’s announcement but said Biden and Putin had discussed the issue by telephone and agreed that their teams work urgently to complete the extension by 5 February, when the treaty expires. The treaty limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads deployed by the United States and Russia to 1,550 each as well as the number of land- and submarine-based missiles and bombers that deliver them. During the phone call, Biden also raised “other matters of concern” including the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and the weekend crackdown on Navalny’s supporters in Russia. Biden’s comments came as the foreign ministers from the G7 group of nations condemned Navalny’s arrest as politically motivated. Meanwhile, the Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Antony Blinken as the new US secretary of state.
reuters.com, dw.com, apnews.com, dw.com, npr.org

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Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan: Every year, 3.5 million people in the EU are diagnosed with cancer, and 1.3 million die from it. Without reversing current trends, cancer could become the leading cause of death in the EU. Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan aims to reduce the cancer burden for patients, their families and health systems. It will address cancer related inequalities between and within EU member states with actions to support, coordinate and complement member states’ efforts.
ec.europa.eu, euractiv.com

German-Russian gas pipeline: White House says Biden believes Nord Stream 2 pipeline is bad deal for Europe reuters.com
Virus variants: Researchers are calling for uniform entry rules across Europe rtl.de
Hungary says it bought Russia’s Sputnik V jab because EU scheme was too slow euronews.com

⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃

Protectionism is not the right approach in the middle of a pandemic.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock in response to the EU‘s plan for tight controls on Covid vaccine exports.
politico.eu

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Knife attack near Frankfurt train station: One man has been arrested in Frankfurt shortly after allegedly stabbing four people in the street near the city’s main railway station, police have said. The victims were taken to area hospitals. Three had severe injuries, although none were believed to be life threatening. Police are now investigating if there was any relationship between the suspected attacker and the stabbing victims. The „Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung“ reported eyewitness statements that the suspect was under the influence of drugs and apparently attacked passersby at random. However, police could not yet confirm what motivated the attacker, or if he was on drugs.
dw.com

Italy’s Conte has resigned: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte handed in his resignation on Tuesday, in a tactical political maneuver that he hopes will allow him to build a new coalition. Italy’s political crisis was triggered two weeks ago by ex-premier Matteo Renzi’s decision to quit the ruling centre-left coalition, depriving Conte of a solid parliamentary majority. Conte is now expected to seek from President Sergio Mattarella another mandate to lead what would be his third consecutive government since the 2018 general elections. Mattarella will begin consultations with the leaders of the country’s main political parties this Wednesday. If Conte, who does not belong to a party, has enough support, Mattarella could ask him to form a new coalition. Another option to break the impasse would be to call snap elections, two years early.
cnn.com, euractiv.com

Calm returns to Dutch cities after riots: With shops boarded up and riot police out in force, it was relatively calm in Dutch cities on Tuesday night after three days of violence during protest against the country’s tough lockdown. The nation’s first curfew since World War II followed a warning by the National Institute for Health over a new wave of infections due to the „British variant“ of the virus, and was imposed despite weeks of declines in new infections. Dutch police detained more than 150 people as roaming groups threw rocks, looted stores and set fires in response to the measures. On Tuesday, businesses in several cities closed early and emergency ordinances were in place to give law enforcement greater powers to respond to the rioting. A hospital in Rotterdam had warned visitors of patients to stay away, after rioters tried to attack hospitals in various cities.
reuters.com, nbcnews.com, independent.co.uk

French teachers strike for more support as schools stay open during Covid: Schoolteachers and university students marched together in protests or went on strike Tuesday around France to demand more government support amid the pandemic. Schools have remained open in France, and French teachers see themselves on the front lines and feel abandoned. “No virus protocol, no school!” read posters carried by schoolteachers, demanding better virus protections at their schools. Teachers unions, who are negotiating with the government for improved conditions, also want higher salaries and for the government to hire more educators after years of cost cuts.
apnews.com, rfi.fr

Denmark to compensate mink farmers: Denmark will compensate its mink farmers with up to 19 billion Danish crowns following an order last year to cull the country’s entire population. Hundreds of farms had suffered outbreaks of coronavirus and authorities found mutated strains of the virus among people. The move to cull Denmark’s entire mink population left the government reeling, and prompted its agriculture minister to step down after it admitted it did not have the legal basis to order the culling. Lawmakers on Monday agreed a deal that includes compensation to the farmers for idle machinery and lost revenue until 2030, the country’s finance ministry said in a statement.
reuters.com

Ireland plans to exit lockdown after 5 March: Ireland will extend its shutdown of the economy until the 5th of March, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Monday. The country will then ease restrictions very gradually similar to its exit from an initial lockdown last year if it can suppress Covid-19 again. Schools will also remain shut for now ahead of a possible phased reopening during February and March if the total number of new cases continues to halve every ten days, said Varadkar. The cabinet will also sign off on tougher travel curbs, including a travel ban on arrivals from Brazil and South Africa, where other variants have been detected.
reuters.com

Germany considers stopping all air travel due to coronavirus mutations dw.com
German court: Refugees cannot be returned to Greece dw.com
Estonia: First female PM sworn in as new government takes power theguardian.com
Greece bans protests for a week, citing pandemic apnews.com

⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃

+++Digital Currencies Governance Group seeks Political Advisor in Economic Affairs (m/f/d)+++Greenpeace is seeking a EU Communications Officer (m/f/d)+++GIZ cherche un Conseiller/e (h/f/a): Renforcement des capacités de la Cour des Comptes en Côte d’Ivoire+++PensionsEurope seeks Policy Officer/Policy Adviser (m/f/d)  +++Center for Data Innovation seeks Senior Policy Analyst – AI Policy (m/f/d)+++Menthal Helath Europe seeks Advocacy and Policy Officer (m/f/d)+++
European Business Summits seeks Communications, Programme and Research Assistant (CIP) (m/f/d)+++Jobs at politjobs.eu +++ Don’t miss any jobs with the politjobs.eu job alert +++

⊂ LAST BUT NOT LEAST ⊃

Floating landfill removed from Bulgarian river: A massive floating landfill in Bulgaria has finally been cleaned up. The giant mass of rubbish clogged a dam on the Iskar river near the capital, Sofia, over two weeks ago. Nearly 600 tonnes of garbage and debris were discovered at the site. Torrential rain carried rubbish from the capital and other nearby towns to the hydroelectric dam located 40 km away. It took regional and national authorities several days to plan technical details and find the necessary funding.
euronews.com

 

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