Sunday

18th Apr 2021

News in Brief

  1. EU postpones decision on labelling gas 'sustainable'
  2. MEPs call for mass surveillance ban in EU public spaces
  3. Greek and Turkish ministers trade jibes in Ankara
  4. Biden repeats opposition to Russia-Germany pipeline
  5. Navalny in danger, letter warns EU foreign ministers
  6. Lithuania keen to use Denmark's AstraZeneca vaccines
  7. Gas plants largest source of power-sector emissions
  8. Study: Higher risk of blood clots from Covid than vaccines
Von der Leyen's summer plans undisclosed, after Ukraine snub

Ukraine's president invited EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen to independence celebrations end of August. Citing a busy schedule, her subordinate said 'no' in an unsent letter. Asked what is on her agenda, the commission can't say.

Polish court pushes out critical ombudsman

The controversial Constitutional Tribunal ruled that legislation, setting out that the ombudsman stays in office until lawmakers pick a new one, was unconstitutional.

Ukraine urges Borrell to visit Russia front line

Ukraine has invited EU foreign relations chief Josep Borrell to visit its front line with Russia, in what one EU diplomat said would be his "best revenge" for his recent humiliation in Moscow.

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EU to buy 1.8bn BioNTech jabs, in switch to mRNA vaccines

The EU has now entered into negotiations to buy 1.8 billion extra doses of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine. "We need to focus on technologies that have proven their worth," said European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

Commission waiting on 10 states for recovery bonds

Budget commissioner Johannes Hahn said Germany, Estonia, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Finland, the Netherlands, Romania, Ireland, and Lithuania have not yet ratified the necessary domestic legislation.

MEPs reject greater transparency in hidden vote

The European Parliament's constitutional affairs committee have curtailed efforts to make MEPs more accountable and transparent, by rejecting amendments in a report on lobbying. How each voted on the amendments was also kept in the dark.

Opinion

'Ethno-nationalism' is not way forward for Bosnia-Herzegovina

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, tempted by the allure of a 'deliverable', the EU, US, and UK are supporting a political process that would enhance the power of ethno-nationalist leaders, cement ethnic partition, and quite possibly lead to violence.

Nato and US urge Russia to back off on Ukraine

Nato and the US have put on a show of solidarity with Ukraine over Russia's military build-up, with American president Joe Biden offering to hold a summit with Russia to defuse tensions.

Denmark threatens Syria deportations amid EU concerns

Denmark is stripping Syrians of residency rights - the first country in the EU to do so - amid threats to deport them back home. The EU did not comment directly, but warned that Syria is not safe.

MEPs raise concerns on vaccine 'travel certificates'

While most MEPs have been vocal in support of the proposal by the European Commission for EU-wide vaccine certificates, key questions remain - ranging from fundamental rights, to its scientific validity.

Opinion

Will Romania be EU's Green Deal laggard?

Of the €30bn allocated to Romania under the EU recovery fund, just four percent is slated to go to renewable energy and energy-efficiency. Despite the pressing need to decarbonise Romania's heat and power sectors, this is not an investment priority.

Stakeholder

Europe & Africa - rebuilding the future

We often talk about the need to establish a relationship between equals in our partnership with Africa. This paradigm needs to be more than a declaration of good intentions

How the pandemic became an EU goldmine for crime

The recession set to hit Europe after the pandemic will help organised crime penetrate legitimate business and recruit out-of-work specialists, the EU's joint police agency, Europol, has warned.

China responds to 'low-efficacy' vaccine fears

Concern over the low efficiency of Chinese-made vaccines has been mounting since China's top official said existing vaccines offer low protection against Covid-19 - raising questions for those nations relying heavily on the Chinese jabs. That includes Hungary and Serbia.

Opinion

Industry lobby to 'co-decide' on nearly €10bn EU public money

Several industry EU lobby groups are about to be entrusted again with the privilege of co-deciding how €9.6bn of public EU research funding should be used - in research areas as essential as healthcare, transportation, energy and IT infrastructures.

Podcast

Why Ursula von der Leyen won't go

Ursula von der Leyen appears secure in her job as president of the European Commission. That's despite a troubled vaccine rollout in which delayed deliveries can cost lives and livelihoods.

Stakeholder

Incorporating gender in trade policy to benefit all

International research shows, countries that engage with international trade tend to have more gender-equality than less open economies. Trade policy is thus a powerful tool to create opportunities for women - if used properly.

Does Italian regionalism actually work?

Less regionalised than Spain but more than France, Italy's institutional set-up is based on a complex patchwork of regions, autonomous regions, and autonomous provinces.

Agenda

Travel certificates back on the agenda This WEEK

On Thursday, MEPs in the Democracy, Rule of Law, and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group meeting will hear from Polish judges, prosecutors, and government representatives on the situation of the judiciary in Poland.

EU spent €252m on meat and dairy ads, despite green pledges

The European Commission has spent €252m of its farming advertising budget for 2016-2020 to promote meat and dairy products - raising concerns over the compatibility of EU agri-food promotion policy with the bloc's climate ambitions.

Revealed: the new lobbying effort to deregulate GMOs

An investigation by Corporate Europe Observatory has uncovered how new lobbying strategies, aimed at deregulating modern genetic techniques are driven by academic and biotech research institutes with corporate interests - utilising 'climate-friendly' narratives.