Return to the future for cities after COVID-19

Return to the future for cities after COVID-19

Cities have been hit the hardest by the corona pandemic. Dario Nardella, the mayor of Florence, declares a state of social and economic emergency for his city and many others across Europe. And he argues that cities are key for a sustainable recovery in Europe. In my country, Italy, doctors and nurses were confronted with a grim decision at the peak of the corona crisis: with not enough ventilators for all patients, they had to decide who to save – and who to let die. We must do everything possible…

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Helping unemployed young people during a pandemic

Helping unemployed young people during a pandemic

A Europe-wide project launched in 2018 was already helping disengaged young citizens to find training and jobs when the COVID-19 outbreak started, rendering the programme more difficult but also more necessary than ever. According to Eurostat, 16.5% of Europeans between 20 and 34 years are NEETs, an acronym referring to those who are Neither in Employment, Education or Training. Spain, Italy, Romania and Bulgaria are particularly hit by this phenomenon.  To help young people in those countries find a professional path or even start their own business, the education-oriented organisation…

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German cabinet agrees to CO2 price of 25 euros from January 2021

German cabinet agrees to CO2 price of 25 euros from January 2021

Germany’s cabinet agreed on Wednesday (20 May) on changes to the climate package launched last September, and it is now certain that from January 2021, a price of 25 euros per tonne of CO2 will apply in all sectors in Germany. Originally, the German government’s proposal had envisioned an entry price of €10 per tonne, which was to rise to €35 by 2025. According to the new regulation, the price in 2025 will now be €55. From the following year, emission certificates with a price corridor of €55-65 per unit…

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Scholz announces new incentive package with nearly 100 billion euro tax loss

Scholz announces new incentive package with nearly 100 billion euro tax loss

For the German budget, the pandemic means greater expenditures and less income. For the first time since the financial crisis, tax revenues are falling but Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) is not thinking about austerity. On the contrary, another economic stimulus package is planned in June to help boost the economy. In 2020, Germany’s federal, state and local governments are expected to collect €98.6 billion less in taxes than the previous year. Scholz announced this 10% decline (according to the estimates of the Council of Assessors) at a press conference…

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Poland calls for increased subsidies to farmers in the EU budget

Poland calls for increased subsidies to farmers in the EU budget

Poland’s government said Wednesday (13 May) it had called on the EU to include bigger farm subsidies in the bloc’s future seven-year budget, suggesting an increase of 10% on what had already been agreed. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he had outlined this proposal regarding the 2021-27 budget in a letter sent Tuesday to fellow EU leaders and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen. The European Commission had in 2018 proposed to spend €324.2 billion on its Common Agricultural Policy, the bloc’s largest single area of expenditure and…

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EPP German delegation wants special attention to application users

EPP German delegation wants special attention to application users

MEPs belonging to Germany’s CDU/CSU outfit have published a wish list for a European digital response to the corona pandemic, featuring recommendations for the lifting of quarantine restrictions for people who install contact tracing apps. Dedicating the first chapter to tracing apps, MEPs call for a “common architecture for tracing app” instead of 27 different systems. National solutions built upon it should be compatible and interoperable across EU borders. “Although we support the principle of voluntary use, at least 60 percent of European citizens will have to download a tracing…

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EU recovery fund should reach 1.5 trillion euros, Gentiloni believes

EU recovery fund should reach 1.5 trillion euros, Gentiloni believes

The European Union’s proposed coronavirus recovery fund to help repair the massive economic damage caused should total around €1.5 trillion, EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said Wednesday (29 April). “We need a fund worth about 10% of our GDP, that is about 1.5 trillion euros,” Gentiloni told Les Echos daily in an interview. EU leaders agreed last week that the European Commission should draw up plans for a fund to pay for reconstruction after the coronavirus crisis is over on top of the EU’s multi-year 2021-2027 budget. The accord…

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Only through historical transformation can global tourism defeat COVID-19

Only through historical transformation can global tourism defeat COVID-19

In recent years, a growing number of countries have been busy scaling up tourism’s place in their economic agendas. Yet tourism is probably the single biggest economic casualty of COVID-19, writes Zurab Pololikashvili. Zurab Pololikashvili has been the secretary-general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) since January 2018. Globally, the sector is amongst the world’s top employers. International tourism represents 7% of total exports and is the world’s third-largest export category by earnings, after chemicals and fuels. In Europe alone, tourism generated almost $410 billion in revenues in…

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EU and COVID-19: time to act outside the box

EU and COVID-19: time to act outside the box

The Eurogroup’s decisions taken on 9 April were a necessary and overdue collective EU response, as well as a welcome but flawed and incomplete compromise. If European leaders are to save the EU economy when they meet on 23 April, they need to think outside the box, write Carlos Closa, George Papaconstantinou, and Miguel Poiares Maduro. The authors are professors at the European University Institute. The Eurogroup decisions relate to financing the crisis management and response, not financing the recovery. While the Eurogroup agreed to work on establishing a Recovery…

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Giuseppe Conte repeating calls to pool European debt

Giuseppe Conte repeating calls to pool European debt

The “full firepower” of the European Union will be needed to overcome the historic shock of the coronavirus crisis, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told German media Sunday (19 April), repeating calls to pool European debt. Ahead of a video conference between EU leaders this Thursday, Conte reiterated demands for controversial pooled debt instruments known as “coronabonds” in an interview with the Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) newspaper. “We are experiencing the biggest shock since World War II, and Europe has to come up with an answer,” said Conte. The “full firepower”…

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