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European Semester Spring Package: Recommendations for a coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic
The Commission has proposed country-specific recommendations (CSRs) providing economic policy guidance to all EU Member States in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, focused on the most urgent challenges brought about by the pandemic and on relaunching sustainable growth. The recommendations are structured around two objectives: in the short-term, mitigating the coronavirus pandemic’s severe negative socio-economic consequences; and in the short to medium-term, achieving sustainable and inclusive growth which facilitates the green transition and the digital transformation.
Source: European Commission.
Commission launches public consultation on trans-European energy infrastructure review
The Commission has launched a public consultation on the review of the EU rules on trans-European energy infrastructure. The consultation will be open for 8 weeks until 13 July 2020 and all responses gathered will be taken into account for the review of the existing trans-European energy infrastructure (TEN-E) regulation, which will make a fundamental contribution to the European Green Deal.
Source: EU Reporter.
Reinforcing Europe’s resilience: halting biodiversity loss and building a healthy and sustainable food system
The European Commission adopted a comprehensive new Biodiversity Strategy to bring nature back into our lives and a Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system. The two strategies are mutually reinforcing, bringing together nature, farmers, business and consumers for jointly working towards a competitively sustainable future. In line with the European Green Deal, they propose ambitious EU actions and commitments to halt biodiversity loss in Europe and worldwide and transform our food systems into global standards for competitive sustainability, the protection of human and planetary health, as well as the livelihoods of all actors in the food value chain.
Source: European Commission.
Commission upholds highly ambitious targets to transform EU food system
After several delays, the EU’s new flagship food policy was finally released on Wednesday (20 May), confirming the aspiration of the EU executive to transform the European way of producing, distributing and consuming food.
Merkel and Macron roll out €500 billion COVID-19 recovery initiative
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron announced their joint proposal for a €500 billion European recovery programme following a virtual conference on Monday (18 May). The initiative seeks to bring Europe out of the crisis “united and in solidarity,” and prepare the EU for future challenges.
Coronavirus: Commission boosts urgently needed research and innovation with additional €122 million
The Commission has mobilised another €122 million from its research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, for urgently needed research into the coronavirus. The new call for expressions of interest contributes to the Commission’s €1.4 billion pledge to the Coronavirus Global Response initiative, launched by President Ursula von der Leyen on 4 May 2020. The new call is the latest addition to a range of EU-funded research and innovation actions to fight the coronavirus. It complements earlier actions to develop diagnostics, treatments and vaccines by strengthening capacity to manufacture and deploying readily available solutions in order to rapidly address the pressing needs. It will also improve understanding of the behavioural and socio-economic impacts of the epidemic.
Source: European Commission.
COVID-19 drives EC to change rules on notified body designations
US Federal legislation to protect health data has made little progress. Will that change in the Covid-19 era?
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, health data privacy wasn’t exactly a hot topic on Capitol Hill. By and large, lawmakers stuck to scolding tech giants like Google for getting their hands on patient data gathered by hospitals and smartphone apps.
But the digital tools being deployed to combat Covid-19 have thrust the issue into the spotlight, drawing fresh interest from federal lawmakers who have swiftly introduced several new bills aimed at protecting Americans’ health data related to the coronavirus.
While the issue is getting another look from lawmakers, it’s not clear whether a divided and distracted Congress will be able to reach a consensus on how best to regulate the vast amounts of data collected by digital contact tracing tools and other pandemic response efforts — or whether the bills are destined to fizzle before they ever come up for a vote.
Source: STAT NEWS
Barnier: Britain not automatically entitled to any trade benefits
The European Union’s Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said on Wednesday (20 May) that Britain was not automatically entitled to any benefits that the bloc had previously granted to other partners on trade.
UK publishes post-Brexit EU deal negotiating documents
The U.K. government made the texts available as a ‘constructive contribution to the negotiations.’
UK unveils post-Brexit tariff regime
It is the first time the country has set its own tariff regime for almost 50 years.
China pledges to implement US trade deal amid rising tensions
China reiterated a pledge to implement the first phase of its trade deal with the U.S. despite setbacks from the coronavirus outbreak, and as tensions escalate between the world’s two biggest economies.
“We will work with the United States to implement the phase one China-U.S. economic and trade agreement,” Premier Li Keqiang told an annual gathering of lawmakers in Beijing on Friday. “China will continue to boost economic and trade cooperation with other countries to deliver mutual benefits.”
SENATE THREATENS CHINA’S WALL STREET TIES : In another sign of worsening relations, the Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that threatens to delist Chinese companies from American stock exchanges unless they submit to U.S. auditing requirements. Some of the biggest Chinese companies have refused to conform to those requirements with little consequence.
“It says to all the companies out there in the world, including, but not limited to China: You want to list on an American exchange, you have to submit an audit, and the SEC has the right to look at that audit, and audit the audit,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) in a floor speech describing the legislation, which he co-sponsored with Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).
THE RACE IS ON FOR WTO DG SELECTION:
The WTO will begin accepting nominations for candidates to replace Director-General Roberto Azevêdo on June 8 and will allow countries to submit names until July 8, the Geneva-based body announced on Wednesday. Azevêdo has said he will leave his position at the end of August.
The selection process normally takes nine months, but WTO members agreed to rules in 2002 that allowed for “expedited deadlines” in the event of a director-general vacancy. The General Council, the highest body in the WTO, will hold meetings shortly after the nomination period closes where member nations can question the candidates.
Businesses and ports are trying to navigate a cargo pile-up caused by massive supply chain disruptions, NPR reports.
At least once a week, the Port of Los Angeles launches a drone over its expansive facility. It gives port officials a good vantage point to check on the 7,500 acres and 43 miles of waterway that make up the busiest container port in North America.
Source: NPR reports