5th Jul 2022


New Covid-19 variant fears shake EU This WEEK

  • Third booster shots are being rolled out in Europe to help immunisation before the Christmas season (Photo: The Focal Project)
Listen to article

As the fourth Covid-19 wave hits the EU, an increasing number of member states are taking measures to curb the number of infections, and hospitalisations.

A new variant, which emerged in South Africa but has already made its way to Belgium, caused worry across the bloc, with several EU countries blocking flights from the southern part of Africa.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The new variant is three times as contagious as the original Covid-19 virus.

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen spent the weekend in Latvia and Lithuania with Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg to discuss the hybrid attack from Belarus, which is pushing asylum-seekers onto the two Baltic countries.

On Monday (29 November), MEPs in the civil liberties committee will discuss the impact on fundamental rights of the Pegasus spyware which has been used across the world to spy on journalists and human-rights defenders.

Lawmakers will hear from Laurent Richard, founder and executive director of Forbidden Stories, a consortium of investigative journalists which has revealed the Pegasus scandal.

MEPs will also discuss the issue with Etienne Maynier from Amnesty International, and Wojciech Wiewiorowski, the European data protection supervisor.

On Tuesday (30 November), the European Parliament's subcommittee on tax matters will discuss with economy commissioner Paolo Gentiloni tax avoidance and other tax issues.

On Thursday (2 December), senior EU officials will pay tribute to former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing in Strasbourg.

Von der Leyen, and EU parliament president David Sassoli will meet with French president Emmanuel Macron on the occasion.

The EU foreign ministers' meeting on Monday in Geneva - originally aimed to discuss trade issues in the margins of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) 12th ministerial conference - was postponed due to fears around the new Covid-19 variant.

Central Europe struggles with new Covid-19 wave

A new wave of Covid-19 infections has been sweeping through central Europe, where the vaccination rate is generally below the EU average - partly due to low trust in institutions.


Talks to strengthen EU virus-alert agency stall

Closed-door negotiations to strengthen the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control appear to be faltering, according to an internal EU document that spells out the so-called trilogue positions of the co-legislators.

Omicron shows need for pandemic global pact, WHO says

The emergence of the new and more-contagious Omicron variant has revealed how "perilous and precarious" the Covid situation is and "why the world needs a new accord on pandemics," the chief of the World Health Organisation said.

Czech presidency and key nuclear/gas vote This WEEK

MEPs will gather in Strasbourg for the final plenary before the summer break, with a crucial vote on the classification of gas and nuclear. The Czech Republic will present to EU lawmakers its presidency's priorities for the next six months.


Is China a challenge to Nato? Beijing responds

The Chinese mission to the EU responds to last week's Madrid Nato summit, which stated China posed "systemic challenges" and warned against the "deepening strategic partnership between Russia and China".

News in Brief

  1. Turkey signs Nato protocol despite Sweden extradition row
  2. European gas production hit by Norway strike
  3. EU Commission told to step up fight against CAP fraud
  4. Ukraine needs €719bn to rebuild, says PM
  5. Germany records first monthly trade deficit since 1991
  6. Pilots from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden strike
  7. Report: EU to sign hydrogen deal with Namibia
  8. Israel and Poland to mend relations

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. EU Parliament sued over secrecy on Nazi MEP expenses
  2. Italy glacier tragedy has 'everything to do' with climate change
  3. The Digital Services Act — a case-study in keeping public in dark
  4. Report slams German opposition to new child sexual abuse rules
  5. Is China a challenge to Nato? Beijing responds
  6. ECB announces major green shift in corporate bond-buying
  7. Ex-Frontex chief 'uninvited' from parliament committee
  8. Czech presidency and key nuclear/gas vote This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us