Commission and industry invest €22 billion in new European Partnerships to deliver solutions to major societal challenges

Commission and industry invest €22 billion in new European Partnerships to deliver solutions to major societal challenges

The Commission has launched 11 new European Partnerships together with industry, to boost investments in research and innovation and to overcome major climate and sustainability challenges, towards making Europe the first climate neutral economy and delivering on the European Green Deal. In line with the goals of the ‘twin’ green and digital transition, the Partnerships will also deliver on the EU’s digital ambitions for the next decade, Europe’s Digital Decade. They will receive more than €8 billion from Horizon Europe, the new EU research and innovation programme for 2021-2027. The…

Read More

EU turns to active labour market policies to beef up job recovery

EU turns to active labour market policies to beef up job recovery

The European Commission wants member states to adopt measures to support workers’ hiring and retraining in the aftermath of the pandemic, as the green and digital transitions will shake up a European job market already in pain because of COVID-19. Europe is in the midst of a twin transition, officials repeat. National economies want to become ‘greener’ and more digital this decade. But there is a third and more complicated transition ongoing, as the bloc is trying to overcome the biggest recession in three generations and offset the job losses…

Read More

Aviation: EU and ASEAN conclude the world’s first bloc-to-bloc Air Transport Agreement

Aviation: EU and ASEAN conclude the world’s first bloc-to-bloc Air Transport Agreement

The European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have concluded negotiations on the ASEAN-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (AE CATA). This is the world’s first bloc-to-bloc air transport agreement, which will bolster connectivity and economic development among the 37 member states of ASEAN and the EU. Under the agreement, EU airlines will be able to fly up to 14 weekly passenger services, and any number of cargo services, via and beyond any ASEAN country, and vice versa. Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean said: “The conclusion of this first-ever…

Read More

UK on verge of beer shortage as brewers struggle to keep up with demand

UK on verge of beer shortage as brewers struggle to keep up with demand

Pub and restaurant terraces have reopened across the whole of the UK, and in combination with sunny weather and the expanding of people’s social bubble, this has led to pubs and brewers struggling to keep up with the demand for beer. After three months of closed doors, pubs in England hit record sales of beer, wine, and sparkling wine, which were 113% higher on 12 April, when they opened up their terraces, than on the same day in 2019, the last comparable date before the pandemic took hold. Ahead of…

Read More

Sales of drinks soar in England as pubs reopen terraces

Sales of drinks soar in England as pubs reopen terraces

After three months of lockdown, pubs in England hit record sales of beer, wine, and sparkling wine, which were 113% higher on 12 April than on the same day in 2019, the last comparable date before the pandemic took hold. Despite being limited to trading outdoors – just under 40% of premises in Britain have outdoor spaces – this marks a good start for the hospitality sector, according to food and drink insight company CGA. “The first day of trading after England’s lockdown showed a fairly solid performance and demonstrates…

Read More

Ban cycling and walking to help Brussels’ taxis

Ban cycling and walking to help Brussels’ taxis

The recent decision to ban Uber from the streets of Brussels was very clearly a political move to support the taxi industry and the transport unions. As such, it makes sense to also introduce some extra measures to support the taxi industry further – namely by removing any extra unfair and undue competition from the streets. To this end, I propose that Minister President Rudi Vervoort should also consider banning other competition to the cities taxis. Namely; cycling, driving and walking. Such measures could just as easily be justified for…

Read More

Trade policy: A lever of the EU as a geopolitical global player

Trade policy: A lever of the EU as a geopolitical global player

Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis presented a new trade strategy at the College of the European Commission. EU trade policy can be an important foreign policy instrument: we should leverage our trading power to promote EU interests and values and build a fairer and more sustainable form of globalization, writes EU High Representative Josep Borrell (pictured). On 17 February, the European Commission approved a new EU trade strategy, prepared by my colleague Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis in charge of trade, in cooperation with the European External Action Service. It is based on the concept of “Open…

Read More

Half of Le Pain Quotidien bakeries are closed in Belgium

Half of Le Pain Quotidien bakeries are closed in Belgium

Le Pain Quotidien has decided to temporarily close 13 bakeries due to the coronavirus crisis, the chain announced on Wednesday. “With closed restaurants and too little support, this is not sustainable,” said CEO Annick Van Overstraeten. Belgium’s aid only amounts to 1.5% of fixed costs, Van Overstraeten said, a far cry from countries like France and the UK, where over 30% of costs are covered. “Le Pain Quotidien is very disappointed with the announcements made at the end of last Friday’s Consultative Committee,” she added. “The government’s message about a…

Read More

Minister Paul Magnette demands clear routes to reopen Belgium

Minister Paul Magnette demands clear routes to reopen Belgium

Today’s Consultative Committee has to set a clear timetable for the reopening of all closed sectors in Belgium starting from April or May, according to Paul Magnette, leader of the Francophone socialist PS party. Priority for relaxations should be for education, Magnette said, echoing earlier statements from Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke, but a clear timetable for other sectors is needed. “We need a timetable that opens up a clear outlook,” he told Sudpresse on Friday morning. “We cannot leave a meeting this Friday with something vague or with a…

Read More

Ikea stores will offer second-hand items within two years, modeling Belgian flagship

Ikea stores will offer second-hand items within two years, modeling Belgian flagship

All Ikea stores worldwide will offer second-hand items for sale within the next two years after an expansion of the system already in place in the Mons store in Belgium, called the “Circular Hub.” The system allows for customers to bring their old Ikea furniture back to the store and exchange it for vouchers worth up to half of its original value. The one in the Belgian store was the first of its kind. Although the Circular Hub was closed in the Mons store due to the coronavirus, it opened…

Read More