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22nd Jan 2022

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EU's corona exit strategies in focus This WEEK

  • Most lockdwon measures around Europe are set to continue into May (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

After the deal brokered among EU finances ministers on how to mitigate the economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic, it will be up to EU leaders to sign it off and give guidance on new plans.

EU leaders will not meet virtually until 23 April to sign off the finance ministers' proposals, which include allowing countries to use the EU's rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) for health related costs.

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Eurogroup chief Mario Centeno has sent a letter to EU Council president Charles Michel detailing the proposals.

The European Commission, on Wednesday (15 April), will call on member states to coordinate their lockdown exit strategy.

The commission is set to announce a "roadmap to exit" the lockdown, as introducing measures lacked coordination, but it remains to be seen if EU countries will coordinate better this time.

The European Parliament will hold its second plenary under lockdown on Thursday and Friday (16-17 April).

On Thursday, MEPs will debate how to combat the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences, and they are also expected to approve a commission move to provide €3bn from the EU budget to member states' health sectors.

MEPs are expected to postpone by one year the entry into force of new rules on the production of medical devices.

MEPs are also set to sign off an aid package of €100m to Albania to support the post-earthquake reconstruction in the country.

On Tuesday, justice commissioner Didier Reynders participates in a webinar organised by Green MEP Daniel Freund on the rule of law mechanism.

The same day Reyners will also participate in an online event organised by the European Policy Center (EPC) on the pandemic and its effect on liberal democracy in the EU.

EU ministers will also be discussing different aspects of the pandemic.

On Tuesday, EU ministers of education will hold a video conference on the impact of the pandemic on education.

On Wednesday, EU health ministers will also meet online to discuss measures.

On Thursday, EU trade ministers will hold a video conference on the impact of the outbreak on trade relations and global value chains.

On Friday, health commissioner Stella Kyriakides holds a videoconference with representatives of the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries.

Over the weekend she will participate in a videoconference with G20 health ministers.

Merkel: Virus is biggest challenge in EU history

The German chancellor warned that the only answer can be more Europe. However, disagreements countinue over how to rebuild the bloc's economy after the pandemic. Commissioner Gentiloni warned about the state's increased role.

MEPs vote by email on new coronavirus measures

MEPs will vote via email on emergency legislation to help countries and companies in the wake of the spread of coronavirus. The plenary sessions are to held in Brussels until July instead of Strasbourg.

Education in coronavirus times: trial and error

Most EU countries are organising distance e-learning to support students amid the coronavirus pandemic, but skills and opportunities are not the same among member states.

New EU Parliament chief elected This WEEK

The lead candidate is the centre-right European People's Party's (EPP) Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola, who has been outspoke against corruption and rule-of-law issues - but some MEPs are concerned over her anti-abortion voting record.

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The debate over a successor for David Sassoli, the centre-left Italian president of the European Parliament will heat up, and Belarusian democratic opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will address the plenary.

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Facebook whistleblower is expected to meet with MEPs and representatives of the French senate this week. Meanwhile, eyes turn again to the Glasgow UN climate summit as pressure is mounting for negotiators to finish the 2015 Paris Agreement rulebook.

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