Tuesday

19th Jan 2021

News in Brief

  1. EU to set up sharing mechanism for Covid-19 vaccines
  2. Poll: Europeans believe China to eclipse US on world stage
  3. New Covid variant found in Bavaria, Germany
  4. Will Italian government survive senate vote?
  5. UK to probe British Virgin Islands lawlessness
  6. Ice-hockey drops 2021 Belarus world cup
  7. EU's euro-strategy bodes ill for City of London
  8. EU vaccine-refuseniks could face travel problems

EU seeks more health powers after dubious Covid-19 response

After the lack of coordination evidenced during the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic, the European Commission put forward a set of proposals to strengthen the preparedness of members states in cross-border health threats.

Column

BioNTech: Stop talking about their 'migration background'

I understand that the German-Turkish community - often subjected to condescension in Germany - celebrated the story. Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türecki represent scientific excellence and business success at the highest level.

Commission silent as Germany buys own vaccines

The European Commission refused to comment on whether a bilateral deal between Germany and BioNTech for 30 million additional vaccines is a breach of EU collective purchase agreements - which forbid member states from negotiating separate deals.

EU tells China to let in WHO team to study Covid origins

The EU has demanded China cooperate with the international community to understand better the pandemic, after Chinese officials blocked the arrival of a group of World Health Organization (WHO) researchers investigating the origins of Covid-19 in Wuhan.

Opinion

Sweden's non-lockdown didn't work - why not?

The Swedish king would have been better advised to use his annual Christmas interview to call for unity of purpose and shed light on the political roots of the country's response.

Opinion

Together Europe can beat pandemics, Alzheimer's, cancer

Let's expand the EU with a Health Union where cutting edge research and world-class applications go hand in hand. For this, it is worth being European, believing in Europe, working on Europe, writes European People's Party leader Manfred Weber MEP.

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'Difficult weeks' ahead as EU deaths and infections soar

National authorities have warned citizens about "difficult" weeks ahead, as more than a quarter of EU countries are seeing strained health systems - amid a blame-game over the slow rollout of the vaccine in some member states.

EU agency authorises Moderna vaccine amid blame-game

The European Medicines Agency has authorised the use of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by US company Moderna - while the EU is involved in a blame-game over a sluggish vaccine rollout across member states.

Opinion

We must have the courage to prioritise green sciences

The Danish government has committed to reducing Denmark's CO2 emissions by 70 percent by 2030. These are not figures made up for the occasion. They are the targets that scientists believe are the bare necessity.

EU rolls out vaccine, as UK-variant spreads

Most EU member states began rolling out the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 on Sunday, as a more contagious variant from the UK begins to spread on the continent.

Opinion

The UNRWA has run out of money

The UN Agency for Palestine refugees has run out of money. For millions of Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, Covid-19 is two pandemics in one: a health crisis and a pandemic of abject poverty.

EU defends its slower vaccine authorisation

After the UK approved the use of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNtech, the pressure is mounting on the EU. But how are these vaccines approved in the bloc - and what is the legal liability?

Revealed: Hit to EU mental health services during Covid-19

The pandemic has both hampered access to mental health services, while increasing demand for psychological support, particularly in countries with the most severe coronavirus lockdowns. Meanwhile, experts warn that 'teletherapy' is not a universal fix.

Investigation

EU taxpayers in the dark on US corona-drug deal

The EU recently signed a huge contract for a US anti-corona drug which, the WHO says, might not work, but there's little transparency on how the deal was made.

Amnesty exposes Amazon staff conditions on 'Black Friday'

Attempts by Amazon staff to unionise were met with court action in Poland, while in the UK the online giant checked workers' Facebook profiles for union activity. Meanwhile, extra coronavirus risk-pay for staff ended in May in most countries.

Covid-19: Romania's rural kids hit hardest by pandemic

The Romanian study reveals that over 60 percent of parents in the countryside have not worked during the pandemic, and close to half are unable to provide adequate food, medicine, hygiene products or school supplies for their children.

EU stands by anti-Covid drug, despite WHO doubts

A panel at the World Health Organisation said the antiviral drug remdesivir was 'ineffective' in treating Covid-19. But tens of thousands of doses have already been distributed throughout the EU and a €1bn contract signed with Gilead.

EU urges rollout of rapid coronavirus tests

The European Commission recommended a slew of anti-corona measures, urging member states scale up testing capacity, by increasing the use of rapid antigen tests, in order to help ease travel restrictions and prevent laboratory collapses.

Opinion

We need to call Orbán's bluff by going ahead without him

You hear voices already calling for the European Council to give in to the Hungarian and Polish demands, by coming up with supposedly 'technical' solutions allowing them to veto any corruption case or breaches of the rule of law .

EU commission keeps vaccine price secret

The European Commission is about to sign a fourth contract for hundreds of millions of vaccine doses against Covid-19. The contracts include non-disclosure clauses, meaning things like price or even where they will be produced remains confidential.

EU seeks new deal for '90% effective' Covid-19 vaccine

After an experimental Covid-19 vaccine developed by the American giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech was found to be more than 90 percent effective, the EU announced that it will sign a contract for up to 300 million doses.

Slovakia: second weekend of nationwide Covid-19 testing

Slovak citizens are required to present their negative "Covid certificate" - which prime minister Igor Matovic tagged their "ticket to freedom" - at their work place, shops and other public spaces or even when casually checked by police when outdoors.

Investigation

Billions of euros, millions of faulty masks, and no answers

In the EU, only Portugal, Poland, Lithuania and Slovenia published all contracts signed by public authorities. Most countries held back information on prices paid, arguing it was necessary to preserve secrecy in order not undermine negotiations.

Exclusive

Greek Nazi MEP upset he won't get EU parliament stipend

The EU Parliament suspended MEPs' €323 daily allowance due to the Brussels pandemic. But neo-Nazi MEP Ioannis Lagos finds that unfair and wants parliament to create "a central register in a Covid-19-free place" so he can still pocket the funds.

Europe is back in (partial) lockdown

The burden on healthcare systems all across the bloc, as a result of the autumn surge in coronavirus infections, is triggering new nationwide lockdowns and restrictive measures in nearly every EU member state.

EU Commission's Covid-19 expert offers bleak outlook

Belgian microbiologist Peter Piot offered a bleak assessment of available options to rid the world of the pandemic caused by Covid-19. Aside from wishful thinking, millions of possible deaths, and crushing poverty, a vaccine appears to be the only solution.

Livestream

Live on EUobserver: UN and the Nordics discuss Covid-19

UN secretary general, António Guterres, discusses the Covid-19 crisis and the challenges the pandemic poses for the global community in a live meeting with Nordic Council party groups and prime ministers. Live on EUobserver today from 18:00 (CET).