The Letter n°894

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The Letter n°894
The Letter
Wednesday 3rd June 2020
issue 894
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Which kind of supply chain for Europe?
Author : Laurent Lacroix
Laurent Lacroix
Coronavirus is challenging the business model that is based on the growing need for raw materials. It is forcing Europe to rethink its supply chains and the quality of the resources it imports. It will therefore be necessary to diversify and even relocate or reindustrialise.
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Foundation : The "Schuman Report on Europe, State of the Union 2020" in digital format
The 2020 edition of the "Schuman Report on Europe, the State of the Union", a reference work for European decision-makers, is available in electronic version. With contributions from leading personalities and experts, original maps and annotated statistics, it offers a comprehensive view of the European Union and analyses the challenges facing Europe... Read more
The Commission's recovery plan - key points for a full picture
On 27 May, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen presented a €750 billion plan for the recovery of the European economy affected by the Covid-19 crisis. This massive plan, based on unprecedented debt pooling and financial transfers, which has yet to be approved by the Member States, is an important step in the history of European integration... Read more
End-of-lockdown seen from Europe
The Member States of the European Union are gradually resuming their activities in all areas of society. The Robert Schuman Foundation offers you a summary of the measures taken and the timetable planned by each State. An invaluable resource for understanding ways out of the crisis and regaining a European "spirit"... Read more

Coronavirus : European Recovery Plan
On 27 May the Commission presented its plan to ensure recovery from the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The €750 billion plan, called Next Generation EU, would be integrated into the €1,100 billion multi-annual financial framework 2021-2027. The money in the plan will be invested in three pillars: investment in support of Member States; support for private investment; and the development and strengthening of European crisis response mechanisms, particularly in the health sector... Read more
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Vigilant support for the recovery plan
In the debate that followed the presentation of the European Recovery Plan by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on 27 May, MEPs welcomed the proposals. They stressed the need for own resources for the Union, called for the plan to focus on the climate and digital transitions, and asked for conditions on the use of the funds. Parliament's budget negotiators insisted on the need not to favour the short term at the expense of the long term and warned that Parliament was ready to reject any proposal that did not meet its standards... Read more
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New European Health Programme
On 28 May the Commission proposed the creation of the EU4Health programme for the next multi-annual budget, as part of the European Recovery Plan presented on 27 May. The Commission proposes to provide this programme with €9.4 billion. It will aim to protect citizens from cross-border health threats, ensure the availability of medicines and health facilities, and strengthen health systems and their staff. It would fund research, the training and exchange of medical staff, the deployment of digital infrastructures and cross-border cooperation... Read more
Measures in support of the economy
In France, the State is covering 85% of short-time working, except for sectors in difficulty such as tourism. An €8 billion support plan for the automobile industry has been announced. In Germany, the government has presented a €9 billion support plan for the airline Lufthansa. Austria has put in place a €1 billion recovery plan allocated to regional projects. In Spain, the hiring of Spanish seasonal workers in agriculture has been extended until 30 September. In the United Kingdom, the reimbursement scheme for SMEs that have taken over the unemployment benefits of their employees is effective, and £23 million (€25 million) has been made available for Wales. In Poland, companies are benefiting from a further deferral for the payment of taxes until the end of the year... Read more
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Measures in Italy
From 3 June, Italians will be able to move around the country, borders will reopen and flights with other Schengen countries will resume, with no quarantine obligation on arrival in Italy... Read more
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Solvency support instrument
On 29 May the Commission proposed a new instrument to support corporate solvency as part of the recovery plan presented on 27 May. It will be allocated a budget of €31 billion and will build on the European Strategic Investment Fund to support European businesses in the sectors most affected by the pandemic. The Commission has proposed to strengthen the InvestEU programme to a total of €15.3 billion and to include a new Strategic Investment Facility, financed by the Recovery Plan to the tune of €15 billion, in particular for businesses promoting green and digital transition... Read more
Contribution of reseach and innovation to economic revival
On 29 May, the research ministers discussed the lessons to be learned from the crisis for the research and innovation sector and how this experience can be used to strengthen the European Research Area. They stressed the importance of cooperation and exchange... Read more
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Meeting of European Affairs Ministers
On 26 May, the Ministers for European Affairs discussed the various ways of lifting the confinement in their respective States, as well as the challenge of economic recovery, which will have to be supported by the next multiannual financial framework. Ministers also stressed the importance of the forthcoming Conference on the Future of Europe, on which the Council has yet to adopt a common position... Read more
European Medicines Agency prepares for the management of COVID-19 vaccines
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on May 27 that it is partnering with the University of Utrecht to prepare the infrastructure and methods for testing future vaccines against Covid-19. This preparation will benefit the European Pharmacovigilance Network, which includes 22 laboratories, and will help to verify the efficacy and safety of future vaccines before they are marketed, as well as monitoring them once they are marketed... Read more
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Coronavirus increasing minority inequalities
The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities warned on 28 May about the effects of the coronavirus, which aggravates inequalities and exacerbates vulnerabilities affecting minorities, including Roma and Travellers. In particular, the suspension of classes has created a strong inequality in access to education... Read more
National Measures
In France, from 2 June, except in Ile de France, French Guiana and Mayotte, primary and secondary education will resume, cafés and restaurants will reopen, as well as museums, theatres, parks, beaches and amusement parks. Travel will be allowed beyond 100 km. In Belgium, nursery and primary schools will reopen on 2 and 8 June. In Germany, contact restrictions will remain in place until 29 June. In Austria, hotels have reopened, and restrictions on eating and wearing masks will be reviewed on 15 June. In Spain, Andalusia, Castile and Catalonia, bars, restaurants and shops are reopening. In Poland, the football league has resumed and all classes will resume in schools on 1 June. On 6 June, cultural and sports facilities will reopen. In the United Kingdom, crèches, schools and retail shops partially reopened on 1 June and some sports competitions will be able to resume behind closed doors. In Ireland, the next phase of the end of lockdown will begin on 8 June... Read more
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Commission : Funds for a just transition
On 28 May the Commission proposed a lending instrument for the public sector under the Just Transition Facility. Set up in collaboration with the European Investment Bank, it will encourage public investment in green transition, whether in energy infrastructure, transport or energy efficiency, especially in regions dependent on coal and carbon-intensive activities. The instrument will receive €1.5 billion from the EU budget and €10 billion from the EIB in the form of grants and loans respectively... Read more

Council : Strengthening European strategic autonomy in space
On 29 May, the space ministers discussed the economic, environmental and social contributions of space technologies. They discussed the priorities of the German Presidency of the Council, which begins on 1 July, including the adoption of a new space programme and the definition of key principles for the space economy... Read more
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New Force Commanders for Operation IRINI
On 29 May, the Council appointed two new commanders for the military naval operation Irini to enforce the arms embargo in Libya. Italian Rear Admiral Ettore Socci, former commander of Operation Sophia, will serve until 18 October, and Greek Vice Admiral Theodoros Mikropoulos will succeed him from 19 October to 31 March 2021. They will serve under Rear Admiral Fabio Agostini, the commander of the operation... Read more
Agreement over visas with Belarus
On 27 May the Council approved two agreements which aim to encourage the movement of persons between the European Union and Belarus. The first concerns visas, which will now be issued under a simplified procedure for European and Belarusian citizens. The second aims to introduce procedures and obligations for the readmission of citizens illegally present on the territory of one of the two parties. The agreements should enter into force on 1 July... Read more
Agreement over the management of borders with Montenegro and Serbia
On 26 May, the Council endorsed two agreements on border management concluded between Frontex, Montenegro and Serbia. These agreements will allow Frontex to assist the two countries, to conduct joint operations and to deploy teams. The agreement with Montenegro will enter into force on 1 July, while Serbia has yet to finalise the agreement... Read more

Diplomacy : EU-Japan Meeting
The President of the European Council Charles Michel, the President of the Commission Ursula Von der Leyen, and the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abbe reaffirmed on 26 May the importance of multilateralism in tackling the pandemic, particularly for the development of a vaccine which they want to see become a global public good. They also stressed the importance of an ambitious and green economic recovery and the partnership between Europe and Japan... Read more
Meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers
Foreign Affairs Ministers discussed EU-China relations on 29 May and expressed their concern about the challenge made by Beijing to the autonomy of Hong Kong. They also reiterated their support for the peace process in Afghanistan and extended the sanctions against the Syrian regime and individuals and entities supporting it for one year... Read more
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Call to strengthen European Defence
In a letter published on 29 May, the French, German, Spanish and Italian Defence Ministers propose to increase the solidarity and resilience of the European Union and the Member States in the face of crises, to consolidate permanent structured cooperation, to strengthen the industrial and technological base of Europe's defence, to make progress towards a shared analysis of threats, to strengthen Europe's external operational commitment, to improve the coherence of European initiatives, and to develop cooperation with partners... Read more
Meeting of the Council of the European Economic Area
On 25 May, the members of the European Economic Area (EEA) Council discussed the functioning of the EEA and the consequences of Covid-19 for the internal market. They reiterated their commitment to continue the energy transition and the fight against pollution, as well as their desire to reduce social disparities and improve working conditions. They also exchanged views with Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier on the discussions between the Union and the United Kingdom... Read more
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ECB : Report on the euro zone's financial stability
In a report on the financial stability of the euro area published on 26 May, the European Central Bank notes that its initial response and that of the Member States to the instability caused by the pandemic have prevented a financial crisis, but fears that it could happen again once the pandemic is over. It points to the risk of increased government, corporate and household debt, as well as the depreciation of securities held by European banks... Read more
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Kosovo : New measures regarding Serb imports
On 30 May, the Kosovo government adopted new so-called trade "reciprocity" measures, which require agricultural and industrial products imported from Serbia to explicitly mention the "Republic of Kosovo" as their destination. The same applies to certificates issued by the Food and Veterinary Agency. This decision is designed to recognise the independence and sovereignty of Kosovo, which Serbia has refused to recognise. Kosovo's President Hashim Thaci and the Union's representative Miroslav Lajcak considered that this decision might be detrimental to the normalisation of relations between the Kosovo and Serbian authorities... Read more
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Council of Europe : Annual report 2019 by the Anti-Torture Committee
On 28 May, the Council of Europe's Anti-Torture Committee (CPT) published its Annual Report 2019, marking 30 years of the Committee's work. Prison overcrowding, the detention of migrants, the treatment without consent of psychiatric patients and the detention of minors were identified as major problems. In 2019, the CPT carried out visits to 16 States; Albania and the Czech Republic joined the 10 other States which have given the CPT permission to publish visit reports concerning them... Read more
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Report on minorities in Cyprus
In a report on national minorities in Cyprus published on 28 May, the Council of Europe notes a "general climate of tolerance". The national minorities recognised by the Constitution - the Armenian, Maronite and Latin religious groups - are well integrated and free to express their cultures and opinions. However, it regrets the lack of inclusion of the Roma population, which is not recognised on the island and is assimilated into the Turkish community. The Committee encourages the establishment of a dialogue with their representatives to promote their inclusion and to create a "multiple membership" category in the next census... Read more
Proposition de résolution sur la réforme territoriale lettone
The President of the Chamber of Local Authorities of the Congress of the Council of Europe, Xavier Cadoret, recommended on 28 May that the Congress of the Council of Europe call for the suspension of the Latvian territorial reform because local actors have not been sufficiently consulted... Read more

ECHR : Hungary condemned for violating the freedom of expression
The European Court of Human Rights condemned Hungary on 26 May for violating freedom of expression. Journalists who had investigated a case of alleged illicit payments linked to the National Bank had lost their parliamentary accreditation for filming inside parliament outside areas where it was allowed. The court found that the sanction, which had no time limit and no possibility of appeal, was neither proportionate nor legitimate... Read more

OECD : Sharp drop of European countries' GDP
According to OECD figures released on May 26, GDP in the European Union fell by 3.3% in the first quarter, compared to growth of 0.2% in the previous quarter. France and Italy, where containment measures were the strictest and implemented earlier, recorded the largest declines, down 5.8% and 4.7% respectively... Read more

Eurostat : Euro zone inflation estimated at 0.1% in May
Euro-zone inflation is expected to be 0.1% in May, down from 0.3% in April, Eurostat estimates on 29 May. Food, alcohol and tobacco is expected to show the strongest rise in prices, at +3.3% compared to 3.6% in April, followed by services at +1.3%. Energy prices are expected to fall by 12% compared with 9.7% in April... Read more

Studies/Reports : WTO Annual Report
The World Trade Organization released its annual report on May 28. It reviews the current negotiations, in particular its functioning, the implications of its decisions and the settlement of disputes. It also highlights developments in the fisheries and agriculture sectors... Read more
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Report on innovation and research in Europe
On 27 May the Commission published its bi-annual report on innovation and research in Europe. It points out that European research is responsible for 25% of the world's most quoted scientific publications and 24% of patent applications in the field of climate change. It notes that further efforts are needed to achieve a European Research Area and to support the increasing digitisation of research. It makes 11 recommendations grouped in 3 pillars, which the future Horizon Europe fund should help to achieve: a fair and secure space for humanity, global leadership and economic and societal impact... Read more
Report on the implementation of the EU aid volunteers initiative
On 25 May the Commission published a report on the implementation of the 2019 EU aid volunteers initiative. 374 volunteers were deployed during the year, almost half of them in Africa, as well as in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, East Asia, Central Asia and the Balkans... Read more

Culture : Turner exhibition at the Jacquemar-André Museum
The Jacquemart-André Museum in Paris reopened its doors on 26 May and will be showing an exhibition of works by the British painter "Turner, paintings and watercolours" from the Tate Gallery in London until 11 January 2021... Read more
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Re-opening of the Leopold Museum
The Leopold Museum in Vienna reopened to the public on May 27th and presents several exhibitions: "Vienna 1900.", "German Expressionism: The Braglia and Johenning Collections" and "Schiele and Hundertwasser: Imagining Tomorrow"... Read more
Fine Arts Museum in Bilbao
The Bilbao Museum of Fine Arts reopened its doors on 1 June, with the resumption of 4 exhibitions . At the same time, the museum continues to offer other online resources, such as educational material and virtual exhibitions... Read more
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National Museum of Warsaw
The National Museum in Warsaw offers visitors a collection of paintings, sculptures, prints and other art objects from all over the world from antiquity to the present day, as well as a temporary exhibition from the contemporary art collection of PKO Bank Polski... Read more
People's History Museum Manchester
A museum dedicated to the development of democracy in the United Kingdom, the People's History Museum, is closed but offers many tools and activities for all online... Read more

2 June 2020

Meeting of Sports Ministers

2-5 June 2020

Negotiations between the European Union and the UK

4 June 2020

Meeting of Justice Ministers

5 June 2020

Meeting of Interior Ministers

8 June 2020

Meeting of Agriculture Ministers

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