EU push for better decision-making; more than shop-talk?
“We need to open this up and we want to put citizens and civil society, but also national parliaments at the heart of the process,” said EU Parliament President David Sassoli. Wednesday was only the ceremonial beginning ahead of the real start of the conference set for May, already a year behind schedule. Current EU decision-making involves member states, the executive Commission and parliament as well as a myriad conditions before any idea can be turned into reality. On the one hand are those claiming the bloc really has better things to do at this point. AdWhile other nations like the United Kingdom, Israel and the United States forge ahead with successful vaccination drives, the EU has struggled from the get-go.
EU aims to release virus recovery fund billions by summer
The facility is the central pillar of the 750 billion-euro ($908 billion) recovery plan adopted by EU leaders last year. Once that is ratified, "the (European) Commission will go to the market, raise money, and disburse,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. AdVon der Leyen also said that the EU aims to have 70% of adults across the 27-nation bloc, which has a population of around 450 million people, vaccinated by the end of the summer. So far, 19 EU countries have submitted draft plans to the Commission, which is in charge of their assessment. Seven other countries are well advanced in what von der Leyen described as a “humungous” process.
Portugal's restaurants face long-term pain as the country struggles with Covid surge
About 43% of restaurants were considering going into administration in August, according to a survey released at the time. Clearly the situation is most dire for sectors such as restaurants, hotels, recreation, and tourism in (a) broad sense. Baptista told CNBC he has so far only received one payment from the government in December in relation to costs with the first national lockdown, which was introduced in March. "Clearly the situation is most dire for sectors such as restaurants, hotels, recreation, and tourism in (a) broad sense. I think especially these sectors will take years to recover," Maartje Wijffelaars, an economist at RaboResearch, told CNBC.cnbc.com
Deadliest virus month piles strain on Portugal's government
In January, Portugal recorded more than 5,000 death — close to half of its official pandemic total so far. Over the month, hospitalizations grew by 136% and patients in intenstive care units by 78%, pushing the public health system close to collapse. The intense pressure on Portuguese hospitals is unlikely to ease soon, however, because of a time-lag between new cases and hospitalizations. But the Portuguese public found out about that from a detailed statement by German authorities. Health Minister Marta Temido says Portugal ranks seventh in the European Union for the number of people vaccinated in relation to population.
The Latest: India vaccinates 2 million health workers
India’s total positive cases since the start of the epidemic have reached 10.6 million, the second highest after the United States with 25.43 million cases. India started inoculating health workers on Jan. 16 in what is likely the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination campaign. The FDA said Tuesday there have been reports of hospitalizations and death linked to the sanitizers reported to U.S. poison control centers and state health departments. The state’s health agency on Tuesday said third-party administrators would take over ordering and distributing vaccine doses with a new state secretary in charge of logistics. On Tuesday, the CDC reported just over half of the 41 million doses distributed to states have been put in people’s arms.
EU leaders agree to keep borders open, want to limit travels
European Council President Charles Michel, top, and European leaders are shown on screen during a EU summit video conference at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. Though worried that another surge of deaths across the EU was imminent, they could not immediately agree on whether or not to halt non-essential travel. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen insisted on the importance of keeping borders open to ensure that goods continue to move smoothly while introducing measures “that keep us all safe." Among the measures the ECDC recommends is a ban on nonessential travel and a speeding up of vaccinations. The EU Commission said several EU nations are testing under 1% of samples.
The Latest: Sri Lanka reopens tourism after 10-month closing
(AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka is welcoming tourists again after keeping the doors closed to visitors for nearly 10 months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ontario's leader asks Biden for 1 million vaccine shots due to Pfizer shortfall for Canada. ___BEIJING — China is imposing some of its toughest travel restrictions yet as coronavirus cases surge in several northern provinces ahead of the Lunar New Year. ___MEXICO CITY — Mexico has had a second consecutive day of COVID-19 deaths surpassing 1,500. The state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout prioritizes health care workers and nursing homes in its first phase, which is almost complete.
Turkey, Greece to resume talks on disputes on Jan 25
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks at a news conference in Madrid, Spain, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. Turkey on Monday, Jan. 11 invited Greece to resume talks designed to reduce tensions between the neighbors, following this summer's dispute over maritime borders and energy rights in the eastern Mediterranean. Cavusoglu also extended an invitation to Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, for a meeting to discuss their troubled relations. “Today ... we want to extend an open invitation to Greece” Cavusoglu said. “We invite Greece to start exploratory talks, with the first meeting being held in January.”The foreign ministries of Turkey and Greece later issued separate statements saying the so-called exploratory talks would be held in Istanbul on Jan. 25.
Stunned EU leaders yearn for Biden presidency -- ASAP
“President Trump is already a thing of the past," Prime Minister Antonio Costa of Portugal, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, said Thursday. “I don’t dabble much in provocation, but for me this page is turned,” EU Council President Charles Michel said. “Above all, I am looking forward to the new American President," said EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen. Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte said Italy “can’t wait to work together with President Biden." President Trump often criticized European allies for cowering under the U.S. defense and security umbrella while seeking economic advantage through subsidies and other trade tactics.
Macron is the latest world leader to catch COVID-19
French President Emmanuel Macron reacts as he meets Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020 in Paris. French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for COVID-19, the presidential Elysee Palace announced on Thursday. DONALD TRUMPPresident Donald Trump announced in October that he and his wife, first lady Melania Trump, tested positive for the coronavirus. BORIS JOHNSONThe British prime minister was the first major world leader confirmed to have COVID-19, after facing criticism for downplaying the pandemic. Other top officials in former Soviet states who were infected include Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.
French President Macron tests positive for COVID-19
French President Emmanuel Macron is seen on a screen as he attends by video conference a round table for the National Humanitarian Conference (NHC), taken at the Foreign Ministry in Paris,Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. French President Emmanuel Macron tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday following a week in which he met with numerous European leaders. Macron joined a growing list of leaders who have tested positive for the virus, including U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The French president usually only removes it when making a speech or at a press conference when he is at safe distance from others. Macron's positive test also led several high-profile French politicians and government officials to self-isolate as a precaution.
The Latest: Illinois surpasses 12,000 deaths from COVID-19
(AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois has risen above 12,000 deaths from COVID-19, while also surpassing the 700,000 mark for confirmed coronavirus infections. The Health Department said the situation constituted an “alert,” and said that nationwide, infections had risen by over 8% last week. Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have asked the FDA to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The state health department reported 5,704 new cases on Friday, putting the state at 3,476 deaths and 295,001 cases since March. ___TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he expects more than half of Canadians to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by next September.
European nations mixed in their response to virus spikes
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks, during a coronavirus media briefing in Downing Street, London, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (Leon Neal/Pool Photo via AP)Countries across Europe are battling coronavirus infection spikes with new lockdowns, curfews, face mask orders and virus tracking smart phone apps. In a small indication of success, Spain's government said it won't extend a state of emergency in the Madrid region when it expires Saturday, but will look to more local measures. Britain's government on Tuesday said it will impose tough new measures on Greater Manchester, sparking anger from the region's mayor. An outcry in Portugal has forced authorities to back away from a plan to make a tracing app mandatory nationwide.
The Latest: 3 million tested for coronavirus in Chinese city
The National Health Commission numbers released Tuesday reported a total of 30 new virus cases in the previous 24 hours nationwide. ___AUSTIN, Texas -- An ongoing wave of COVID-19 cases in the El Paso area prompted Gov. Since Friday, the state added 2,055 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases, an increase of 3.1%, to bring the total for the pandemic to 67,862. Conley says in a fresh update released Monday that Trump tested negative for COVID-19 on consecutive days using a newer 15-minute test. The project will produce 50 million swabs per month and is funded by a $51.2 million coronavirus relief grant announced by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins in August.
Elbows? Masks? Presents? Let this divisive EU summit begin!
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, so often a study in gravity at such meetings, was all merriment when she saw Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov with his mask slipped. Other leaders were trying out various versions of the elbow bump, with Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel almost turning it into an elbow duel. With 27 leaders coming in with diverse demands the two-day summit might not even be enough to settle their differences. Summit host and European Council President Charles Michel was first in the room, and was soon bumping elbows with Borissov and others as they arrived. European Parliament President David Sassoli first went for a zen-like bow but soon got his elbow out like his chums did.
Italy, Portugal say economic forecasts show need for EU help
Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is received by Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa, right, at the Sao Bento palace in Lisbon, Tuesday, July 7, 2020. Southern European countries are mounting a show of strength as negotiations over how much money they get from the EU, and in what form, comes to a crunch. The figures demonstrate the urgency of clinching a deal at an EU summit next week to discuss financial measures, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said. The EU Commission is proposing a 750 billion-euro ($849 billion) economic recovery fund made up mostly of grants. Southern European countries are pushing hard for a deal at the negotiations in Brussels next Friday and Saturday.
Spain, Portugal leaders mark border reopening with pomp
From left to right: Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa, Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Spain's King Felipe VI during a ceremony to mark the reopening of the Portugal/Spain border in Badajoz, Spain, Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The border was closed for three and a half months due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)
Portugal scrambles to regroup amid 100s of new virus cases
Some local stores dont heed rules on how many customers can be inside at one time. On Thursday, it reported 311 222 of them in the Lisbon metropolitan area. On average, around 70%-80% of the new confirmed cases reported daily are being detected in satellite towns, like Amadora, surrounding the Portuguese capital. Overall, Portugal has reported just over 40,400 confirmed cases and 1,524 deaths. But for Mexia, the doctors association president, the fault lies in authorities excessive confidence after Portugal avoided a dramatic number of cases in March and April.
As Portugal heads to a new election, a cloud is hanging over its export-led economy
CACILHAS, PORTUGAL - SEPTEMBER 30: Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa meets supporters along Rua Cndido dos Reis as he campaigns ahead of the legislative election. Portugal "is more exposed (to global trade) than before the crisis," Ana Andrade, analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, told CNBC over the phone Wednesday. Portugal is (now) more integrated in the global trade system," she said. Portuguese exports accounted for more than 40% of the country's growth rate in 2018 compared to almost 30% in 2010. His forecasts point to a growth rate of 1.7% in 2019 and 1.2% in 2020.cnbc.com