Tag Archives: Ursula von der Leyen

The European economic response to Covid hangs on the balance as Germany presses on the lull | Instant News

A modest Bauhaus building on the banks of the Rhine is where Europe’s latest crisis threatens to erupt.

Not for the first time, eight judges inside the drab gray bloc in the German city of Karlsruhe have opposed the region’s moves toward closer ties. This time, judges in Germany’s Constitutional Court withheld the ratification of the € 750bn Recovery Fund – the cornerstone of the EU’s economic response to Covid.

“Last Friday’s decision carries a high risk of postponing, if not missed, the crown jewel of the EU’s fiscal reaction to the current crisis,” said Carsten Brzeski, ING Germany’s chief economist. “Once again, the German Constitutional Court is at the root of the potential cause for market tensions.”

With the vaccine launch raising the pressure in Brussels, more delays and divisions could deal another blow to Europe’s recovery.

“We are concerned that the resulting pullback on market sentiment may be substantial,” said Reinhard Cluse, an economist at UBS.

European Hamiltonian Moment

Last year the Recovery Fund was hailed by leaders as a giant step towards closer ties in Europe and the “Hamiltonian moment” by some optimists – a reference to when Alexander Hamilton took on the US state debt in 1790, the leap towards the creation of a united state.

After much strife and reluctance from the north, EU members were persuaded to support a fund that would see the European Commission issue massive amounts of debt for the first time to pay off grants and loans. The North will share the economic costs of the greater Covid crisis in the south under the proposal.

But economists warn landmark funds are losing their shine. This means that compared to the large and growing US fiscal action, money could now be delayed and economists warned the timing of the launch meant it could provide a bit of a boost to the recovery.

The Fund’s main instrument – the Recovery and Resilience Facility – will provide € 360 billion in loans and € 313 billion in grants to EU countries as a mainstay of the region’s Covid fiscal response.


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how to reopen tourism this summer | Instant News

In this photo illustration, a French passport and an international certificate of vaccination or prophylaxis are presented in front of the Berlaymont, the headquarters of the European Commission, on March 13, 2021 in Brussels, Belgium.Thierry Monasse | LONDON – The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, on Wednesday offered a vaccination certificate for citizens to support tourism-related activities this summer. restore some trips to the area this summer. These countries have struggled with fewer visitors in 2020 and are keen to welcome people again to avoid more serious economic scars. As a result, the committee suggested that EU citizens should be allowed to use a “digital green certificate” to prove that they have been vaccinated. against the virus; that they received a negative Covid-19 test; or they recovered after contracting the coronavirus. The idea with the other two options besides being vaccinated is to avoid criticism that the document will discriminate against those who have not yet received a vaccine. However, some countries, including France, are wary of this idea because young people are the last to be vaccinated. Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “The certificate will ensure that the results, what they show, the data, the minimum data set are mutually recognized in each member state. “” We aim to help member states restore freedom of movement in a safe, responsible and reliable manner, “she added. Additionally, a vaccine certificate is a somewhat difficult pill for some EU countries to swallow, given the region’s free movement policy. Until the coronavirus hits, and in most cases, EU citizens could move from country to country without passport control. The European Commission also said on Wednesday that all vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency should be automatically recognized by other Member States under this new system. However, countries that wish could also recognize vaccines that have not yet been approved by the European regulator: Hungary, for example, inoculates citizens with the Russian vaccine Sputnik V and the Chinese vaccine as well. These have not yet been approved by the EMA and the document should only contain a very specific set of data: the name and date of birth of the citizen, the date of issue of the certificate, relevant information on a vaccine, a test or a recovery, and a “This cannot be kept by the countries visited,” the committee said in a statement on Wednesday. The Brussels-based institution also said that the certificate will be free, available in the language of the issuing country as well as in English, and that it is only a temporary mechanism. “It will be suspended once the World Health Organization declares the end of the international health emergency of Covid-19,” the committee said in a document. Wednesday’s proposal will be debated at the next EU summit later this month. Speaking in February, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that implementing a digital certificate could take three months, with individual EU countries and the European Parliament to approve the proposal. Commission before it can be implemented. .

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Poland leads the European Union race to vaccinate its citizens – German Daily – The First News | Instant News

The daily noted that Poland has about 6,500 vaccination points. “This is a very large number … in most cases, it is not a problem of large halls, but of small clinics, medical centers or doctors’ offices,” Die Welt wrote.
Andrzej Grygiel / PAP

Poland, with a vaccination rate of 10.8 doses per 100 population, outpaces many EU countries, including Spain and Germany, reports Warsaw bureau Die Welt.

The German daily noted that “it doesn’t happen often that European Commission members find words of appreciation for Poland,” adding that, last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pointed to Poland as a positive example of vaccination. campaign against Covid-19.

“Poland is also clearly ahead of Germany, but is doing things differently from its western neighbors,” the daily wrote.

“Everything is controlled from Warsaw. The vaccination order is also different from that of most EU countries,” he added.

The daily noted that Poland has about 6,500 vaccination points. “This is a very large number … in most cases, it is not a problem of large halls, but of small clinics, medical centers or doctors’ offices,” Die Welt wrote.


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EU, US and New Zealand leaders highlight the impact of pandemic on women | News | DW | Instant News

Three of the world’s most influential female leaders on Monday warned about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on women’s rights.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, US Vice President Kamala Harris, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen address the European Parliament about International Women’s Day.

They warned that the economic and political repercussions of the pandemic have sharpened the challenges facing women as they demand equal rights.

“COVID-19 has damaged our health system, our economy, our livelihoods,” Ardern said. “But it also exacerbates structural inequalities that are disproportionately impacting women and girls. Women are at the forefront of fighting the COVID crisis.”

He added that women are “among the doctors, nurses, scientists, communicators, caregivers and frontline and critical workers who face the devastation and challenges of this virus on a daily basis.”

‘Shadow pandemic’

The New Zealand PM said that women, in addition to the other devastating effects of the pandemic, are also facing intensifying domestic violence.

“This (domestic violence) is being reported as a shadow pandemic all over the world,” he said.

This was echoed by Vice President Harris in a statement in which he said that quarantine measures have increased the risk of violence against women.

EU President Ursula von der Leyen listens to US Vice President Kamala Harris, shown on screen, during a plenary to mark International Women's Day at the European Parliament in Brussels.

International Women’s Day: Kamala Harris, Ursula von der Leyen, and Jacinda Ardern address the European Parliament.

“COVID-19 has threatened the health, economic security and physical safety of women everywhere,” she said in a video address recorded in Washington.

“At the same time, women make up 70 percent of the global health workforce, putting them at the forefront and at risk of contracting the virus,” Harris said. “Time in isolation also increases the risk of gender-based violence while disrupting services for domestic violence survivors.”

Bridging the gender pay gap

Von der Leyen, the first woman to head the EU’s executive branch, touted her proposal to introduce a salary transparency directive aimed at encouraging European companies to close the gender pay gap.

“It’s built on two simple principles: equal work deserves the same pay and for the same pay you need transparency,” he said. “And women must know whether their employers are treating them fairly. And if they are not, they must have the strength to fight back and get what they deserve.”

Von der Leyen said that women are paid 14 percent less than men and that only 67 percent of women are employed compared to 78 percent of men.

“This is totally unacceptable,” said the head of the European Union. “We have to remove obstacles on the road to equality. We must fight for equal opportunities.”

adi / aw (AFP, dpa)


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Commission plan to restart COVID travel – POLITICO | Instant News

Press play to listen to this article The European Commission wants to restart travel within the EU and beyond with what it calls a ‘digital green certificate’ proving you’ve had your shot, said President Ursula von der Leyen earlier this week. The purpose of the certificates, von der Leyen wrote to member countries on Friday, “is to ensure that where people can enjoy free movement without risk to public health, they should be able to do so. “The ‘digital green certificate’ will be designed to facilitate free movement and to ensure that, although some restrictions on free movement may remain in place, these will only be used when justified and to the extent necessary”, she wrote in the letter. by POLITICO. The idea should not be confused with the green pass that Israel launched to allow vaccinated people to return to concert halls and bars: Brussels has its say on free movement, but use of a certificate for such national purposes would go to EU countries, argued the Commission. . But even without straying into the territory of this Member State, the Commission must overcome the doubts of EU governments and the very disparate vaccination strategies, technical complications, confidentiality issues and moral dilemmas. Here’s what we know so far: What’s the plan? The Commission’s legislative proposal is expected on March 17. It’s soon, but most of the details have yet to be completed. The Commission gauged the first thoughts of EU countries on Wednesday, during a debate that several diplomats described as chaotic. “There is a profound lack of clarity on what the pass really is,” said a national diplomat. What is certain, however, is that the Commission wants the green pass to list not only proof of vaccination, but also test results and information. on a virus recovery. Who pushed the idea? The plan is particularly important for southern European countries dependent on tourism such as Spain, Malta, Cyprus and Greece. out of necessity, a fundamental priority for all of us, ”Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the first to champion the idea, wrote to von der Leyen in January. Countries are in no mood to wait: Cypriot Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios said on Thursday that vaccinated Britons will be welcomed into the country without restrictions from May; Spain and Greece are also looking for a “green corridor”. Other countries have spoken in favor as well: Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz lobbied for a digital green certificate during a video meeting of EU leaders last week. Denmark and Sweden have both announced plans to develop a certificate to resume travel; Estonia is working on a pilot project for global vaccine certificates with the World Health Organization. Are all EU countries on board? EU leaders agreed last week that work on a “common approach to vaccination certificates” should continue, but it’s a lukewarm endorsement that leaves a lot of leeway for private and public doubts. “I will not accept a system which conditions access to such and such a country on a certificate,” French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday. The EU should avoid a scenario where countries each develop their own system, he said, but “such a document should not give specific rights to people who have been vaccinated”. Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès adopted a similar point of view, stressing on Monday that the principle of non-discrimination is “more fundamental than ever”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said last week that a vaccination certificate cannot be the ‘only’ solution to authorizing travel because, for example, there is still no coronavirus vaccine available for minors. “Not only those who have a vaccination certificate will be allowed to travel,” said Merkel, adding that a negative PCR test would continue to be an alternative. While no one is against the idea in principle, there are practical and ethical concerns, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said. The “preliminary question,” he added, is whether vaccinated travelers could still transmit the disease. “The initial reports are not negative, but by no means conclusive.” Will it be ready by summer? EU leaders agreed on a “uniform” and “interoperable” vaccine certificate for medical purposes in January. The new proposal to use it for travel would add to that, a Commission spokesperson said this week. But if the EU wants to get an operational vaccine certificate by the summer, it will have to crack. EU countries must implement the uniform certificate in their health systems and at borders, while the Commission must build a ‘bridge’ to link national systems – which von der Leyen says will take at least three month; a document sent to country delegations already mentioned the prospect of a four-month deadline. If past experience is any indication, creating such a gateway for different national immunization database systems to exchange information will be a difficult task. When EU countries developed their individual coronavirus infection tracking apps last year, some countries chose very different technological solutions that made data exchange difficult, if not impossible. “An EU system can only work if the respective national systems are in place on time,” von der Leyen wrote to member states on Friday, calling for “swift implementation” of past decisions and ” rapid adoption ”of the new proposal. . Certificates could be a “powerful boost for our citizens and their free movement,” she concluded. Should I trade my privacy for a vacation? Von der Leyen said the green passes would respect data protection, security and privacy. But European data protection regulators don’t seem excited about the idea. The Belgian regulator said the stated purpose of storing data on those vaccinated and details of how that data would be shared are vague. The regulator is also concerned that the authorities will keep this data for too long. European Data Protection Supervisor Wojciech Wiewiórowski called the idea of ​​an immunity passport “extreme”, also saying that “even the name turns me off a little”. The French data regulator has said it is possible to implement digital green passes while also having them adhere to EU data protection rules, but it is highly likely that protection activists from privacy bring legal action. Will all vaccines reach the grade? With more and more countries breaking their ranks with the EU’s common vaccine strategy, this poses a headache for the planned roll-out of the vaccine certificate: what about Slovak or Hungarian citizens who have received the Russian vaccine Sputnik, or in the case of Hungary now also the Chinese vaccine Sinovac? Can these vaccines be admitted for the EU wide certificate even if the vaccines have not yet been approved by the European Medicines Agency? The European Commission does not appear to have an answer to these questions yet, as a spokesperson said it was too early to answer them. But there are clear doubts – even in countries that administer the sputnik jab to their citizens. Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok told reporters on Tuesday that in his opinion unregistered vaccines should not have the same value as registered vaccines. He added that people should be warned of such a risk. This is a debate that some EU countries believe could distract from the main priority: getting people vaccinated as quickly as possible. EU countries “want more vaccines and not more damage,” a diplomat said. Are there any equity issues with vaccine passports? The current limited vaccine supplies – not only in Europe but around the world – are a major reason the World Health Organization is urging not to make vaccination a travel requirement at this time, although the decision is to see again in a few months. The Parliamentary Committee of the Council of Europe, a human rights body, also drew a (non-binding) red line around vaccine certificates in January, saying they are only suitable for tracking efficacy and side effects. The rapporteur of this file, French MP Jennifer de Temmerman, warned that such passports could create a whole new category of haves and have-nots, depending on their vaccination status. And given the pace of vaccination in her country at the moment, she noted that at this point, the right to travel would primarily rest with residents of nursing homes. However, it’s not as if anyone in the EU is able to fully exercise their freedom of movement just yet, argued Camino Mortera-Martinez, senior researcher at the Center for European Reform. “We are not getting out of a normal situation,” she said. The unvaccinated would not face discrimination, Mortera-Martinez argued, because they would still be allowed to travel under limited circumstances – it would simply be easier for those who were vaccinated. Will it actually work to reduce transmission rates? We do not know. This is the other reason why the WHO is not yet buying into the idea. There are still “critical unknowns regarding the effectiveness of vaccination in reducing transmission,” the United Nations health body said in its latest position paper. Although vaccines clearly prevent symptoms, for example, it is not yet certain whether people without symptoms can still transmit the virus. We also don’t know how long before travel people should be vaccinated, or whether people who have antibodies after recovering from COVID-19 should be exempt from the requirements. Hanne Cokelaere, Sarah Wheaton, Hans von der Burchard, Saim Saeed, Jillian Deutsch, Jacopo Barigazzi, Rym Momtaz.

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