Saturday

10th Apr 2021

Feature

Italy's mafias - boosted by Covid, now eyeing EU's billions

Italy's various mafias are allegedly exploiting the chaos caused by the Covid-19 emergency to infiltrate even deeper into sectors where they are already present, such as healthcare, mortuary services, and waste disposal (both medical and non-medical).

News in Brief

  1. Turkey blames EU for sexist protocol fiasco
  2. France to close elite civil-service academy
  3. Covid-19 cases in UK drop 60%, study finds
  4. White House urges 'calm' after Northern Ireland riots
  5. Italy's Draghi calls Turkey's Erdoğan a 'dictator'
  6. Slovakia told to return Sputnik V amid quality row
  7. EU risks €87bn in stranded fossil fuel assets
  8. Obligatory vaccination not against human rights, European court says

EU failing on tracking new Covid-19 variants, MEPs told

The majority of countries in Europe are falling short on tracking coronavirus variants. Only seven member states have increased genome sequencing to the level recommended for detecting and monitoring the emergence and dominance of these strains.

Stakeholder

Vaccine certificates are a way to reopen Europe, not close it

A common vaccination certificate – instead of 27 individual initiatives - can form part of the solution, together with other sanitary measures already in place, to resume travel and tourism and reduce current travel restrictions.

Brussels urges capitals to coordinate Covid re-openings

EU governments' lack of coordination in the first and second wave of the pandemic has caused concerns around supply chains, long queues at borders, and practically froze the bloc's passport-free Schengen zone.

EU drugs agency plays down AstraZeneca 'blood clot' fears

The European Medicines Agency has said that the benefits of AstraZeneca's vaccine continue to outweigh the risks - suggesting countries can continue using the British-Swedish jab. Several member states have suspended its use over blood-clot concerns.

Hundreds of thousands log on for 'spare' Belgian vaccinations

On Tuesday Belgium launched a new website, QVAX, where people who are not yet vaccinated or have no appointment to be vaccinated, could register in case 'spare' appointments come up. Brussels will start it's own system mid-April.

EU missed March vaccination target for priority groups

The EU failed to reach its target of having at least 80 percent of the elderly and healthcare workers vaccinated by the end of March. According to estimates, 55 percent will be vaccinated by the end of June.

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World leaders urge readiness for next pandemic: 'Time to act'

The World Health Organization and 25 countries have backed a call for an international treaty on pandemics - first announced by the European Council president Charles Michel. "The next pandemic is not a question of 'if', but 'when'," he said.

Column

What if Covid-19 had happened under Jean Monnet?

Jean Monnet went from his father's Cognac business, to masterminding the First World War shipping channels, to founding the EU. The bloc could do with some of his business acumen right now.

Merkel and party chief clash over Covid-19 measures

Chancellor Angela Merkel said if German regions do not impose stricter measures, she would have to think about overriding state regulations "in the very foreseeable future". A sensitive post-war issue in the federal republic.

Opinion

A neuroscientist writes on AstraZeneca fears

Irrespective of whether or not the decision to pause the AstraZeneca vaccine was political, it is clear that governments around the world are not solely basing their vaccination rollout on scientific evidence.

EU sharpens vaccine export tool, amid third wave

The UK seems to be targeted as it has received 10m vaccines since January from the EU but has not exported back. Several EU countries are cautious about the tighter curbs fearing it could harm global supply chains.

EU fears 'alarming' third wave, as bloc back in lockdown

The European Commission has raised concerns about the "alarming" epidemiological situation in some member states, warning that it could worsen in the coming weeks as a third wave of the pandemic hits the continent.

Belgium goes into four-week Easter lockdown

Belgium's prime minister Alexander De Croo announced on Wednesday that the country will go into four weeks of Easter lockdown, starting from Saturday (27 March).

Vaccine export 'ban' row heats up ahead of EU summit

"This is not about banning vaccine exports, this is about making sure that companies deliver on their commitments to the member states and the EU that are inscribed in contracts," commission spokesman Eric Mamer said.

Opinion

Brexit, tabloid 'sulks', and AstraZeneca

A closer look at the events, however, shows that instead of a conspiracy the decision was old-fashioned bureaucratic caution. Isolated quotes by European officials were used to suit ideological agendas.

Opinion

The Left: No more 'sorry', we want vaccine-fiasco inquiry

The Left won't let this pass. The European Parliament must establish a Committee of Inquiry to investigate the EU Commission for illegal conduct, maladministration and negligence, and to make sure these mistakes don't happen again.

AstraZeneca 'safe and effective', says EU regulator

The AstraZeneca is both safe and effective, concluded the European Medicines Agency on Thursday. The assessment comes after 13 EU states suspended it over now-unfounded fears of possible blood clots.

First glimpse of new EU 'vaccine certificate' for summer

The European Commission has presented a common approach to vaccine certificates to facilitate travel. All EU-wide approved vaccines will be accepted for this document, but member states can decide to accept other vaccines too.

EU-UK vaccine 'nationalism' spat intensifies

Britain has rejected claims from the European Council president Charles Michel, who accused the UK of imposing a ban on vaccine exports. Meanwhile, one-third of vaccines produced in the EU last month were exported to the UK.

EU Commission 'surprised' by Belgian travel ban extension

The European Commission has expressed surprise over the Belgian government's decision to extend the ban on non-essential travel, stressing that "all options" are on the table to ensure free movement across the bloc.

Opinion

Africa and Arab world still in vaccine race starting blocks

The US has enough doses to fully-vaccinate the region twice while other countries have ordered enough doses to vaccinate their populations four or five times over, which many have condemned as "vaccine hoarding", writes the speaker of the Tunisian parliament.

Women hit 'disproportionately' hard by Covid-19, report finds

The pandemic has proven to be a major challenge for gender equality across Europe, where domestic violence and existing inequalities have exacerbated, a report has found. Meanwhile, domestic violence spiked during the spring of 2020 across Europe.

Opinion

Covid-19 recovery: How to miss the target even with a bazooka

Nicknamed the "European bazooka", the €672.5bn coronavirus recovery fund gives EU states €312.5bn in grants and €350bn in loans - but some countries have already said they won't use these long-term loans, at very low-interest rates. Why not?