POLITICO Brussels Playbook: New dawn — Who is the EU’s Elvis? — Brexit deadline smells fishy – POLITICO

NEW DAWN: The European Commission on Monday formally authorised the BioNTech-Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, paving the means for jabs to start out in the bloc by Sunday. A beaming Ursula von der Leyen made the announcement simply hours after a optimistic suggestion from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), calling the new vaccine “a true European success story.”

Question of stress: The EMA insists political stress performed no position in its approval course of. “In the last few months, EMA has seen the intense debates taking place in the public arena, some calling for a speedier approval, while others were concerned that development was going too fast to ensure safety,” the agency’s executive director, Emer Cooke, said on Monday. “We at EMA have kept our steer and we’ve been guided by the spread of the scientific evidence and nothing else.”

What’s subsequent? Deliveries of the vaccine are scheduled to go away warehouses “within the next days,” the Commission president mentioned Monday. Meanwhile, many European nations plan to start out administering vaccinations on December 27. The jab is authorised for individuals aged 16 and over, however every EU nation can formulate its personal vaccination technique and precedence standards. The Maltese authorities, for instance, has introduced frontline hospital employees will probably be at the entrance of its queue.

More coming quickly: The Commission additionally plans to approve extra vaccines in the coming months, with the EMA set to problem an opinion on the Moderna jab on January 6. Full particulars from Jillian Deutsch.

Not out of the woods but: But regardless of the reduction and enthusiasm, some EU leaders had been fast to warn it is going to be a while till the disaster is actually over, with Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas tweeting late Monday “it will take several months before a critical mass of people get shots.” Earlier in the day, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán mentioned regular life won’t resume for an additional 12 months.

The EU’s Elvis? In an effort to spice up confidence in the vaccination program, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis introduced he will probably be vaccinated on Sunday, Kathimerini studies. And right here’s our Stateside colleague Alexandra Levine’s report on why social media corporations haven’t been in a position to shut down vaccine misinformation.

Now learn this: How do coronavirus vaccines work, why is the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine distinctive — and what occurs while you get injected? All your questions answered.

Bonus monitor: Seven issues to find out about Europe’s coronavirus journey ban on the U.Okay.

GOOD MORNING. This is Lili Bayer, a member of POLITICO’s Brussels workforce, bringing you this morning’s Playbook. Starting January, I’ll be overlaying lobbying, transparency and rule of legislation points, and I’ll write the weekly EU Influence publication, taking up from my colleague Cristina Gonzalez, who’ll grow to be the government producer for audio and podcasts.

**A message from Huawei: Huawei is a pacesetter in cybersecurity and welcomes Europe’s central position in additional advancing world cybersecurity requirements and certification by the new EU Cybersecurity Strategy. More than ever, we’re dedicated to connecting Europe.**

THIRD-COUNTRY CORNER       

(ANOTHER) DEADLINE: The EU and U.Okay. should finalize their Brexit commerce settlement by December 23 — or danger not having a deal in place in the new 12 months, EU diplomats mentioned Monday. But officers conceded the new ultimatum may once more be damaged — becoming a member of earlier “deadlines” earlier than it. That might result in Brussels and London getting into a “controlled” no-deal scenario in January, below which a possible commerce settlement might nonetheless be carried out with a couple of days’ delay, studies our colleague Hans von der Burchard.

Fishy days: In an opinion piece printed on POLITICO Monday, former British Special Adviser on Europe Raoul Ruparel laid out a attainable compromise resolution to the thorny problem of fish. His plan was met with a optimistic reception: “It wouldn’t be the first time that whilst Ruparel seems to be flying a kite, he is actually quite accurately representing the U.K. proposals,” mentioned one EU diplomat. “If so, it’s the first offer that might create a window of opportunity.” Reminder: Ruparel appropriately predicted (additionally in POLITICO) the touchdown zone for final 12 months’s Brexit deal.

AN ACTUAL BREXIT DIVIDEND: “European companies may get better protection for their investments in the EU — by setting up shop in Britain,” Jakob Hanke studies. “Businesses in countries such as Germany warn they could move part of their operations to the U.K. to benefit from stronger legal protections when investing in EU countries such as Hungary and Romania. They say it all comes down to trust — and they don’t trust courts in some countries to rule fairly.”

BORIS JOHNSON IS HAVING A VERY BAD YEAR. But ever the optimist, the British PM is nonetheless searching for an upside, writes Charlie Cooper.

GAB FEST: The EU’s 27 ambassadors plan on assembly immediately at 4 p.m. On the menu: Brexit, COVID coordination and — presumably — an funding take care of China, in accordance to 2 EU diplomats. 

Beijing’s upbeat: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi mentioned on Monday that Brussels and Beijing “expected to reach agreement” on their long-awaited deal, our colleague Eleanor Mears studies for POLITICO Trade Pros. Speaking from Beijing to ambassadors from the EU’s 27 member nations, Wang mentioned 2020 had been an distinctive 12 months for “practical” financial cooperation between the two sides, with China usurping the U.S. to grow to be the EU’s No. 1 buying and selling accomplice for the first time.

INTERESTING READS       

COULD SWEDEN BE NATO’S 31ST MEMBER? Two years out from the nation’s subsequent election, debate is raging over whether or not Sweden actually is safer outdoors NATO. Charlie Duxbury studies from Stockholm.

MACRON’S RISKY GAMBLE: Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin was a high-profile catch from the Les Républicains get together for French President Emmanuel Macron. But Darmanin’s unapologetic fashion and laborious line on safety and secularism have made some members of Macron’s majority livid and attracted undesirable worldwide consideration, hurting the president’s fastidiously crafted picture as Europe’s liberal champion. Elisa Braun has this fascinating profile of the 38-year-old minister, who will probably be on the frontline beginning January to defend Macron’s invoice to fight Islamist radicalism.

FEUDS, ZOOM AND ITALIAN FOOD — HOW THE US STIMULUS DEAL GOT DONE. 

**Jack Blanchard is again with POLITICO’s Westminster Insider podcast. Our latest podcast will raise the curtain on how Westminster actually works, providing in-depth perception into the political points which usually solely get broad-brush remedy in the wider media. Listen to the teaser. Sign up for the e mail alert.**

PLAYBOOK INTERVIEW — VĚRA JOUROVÁ       

PERMANENT STRUGGLE: Věra Jourová has a tricky street forward of her subsequent 12 months: The Commission vice chairman accountable for values and transparency faces deepening tensions throughout the bloc over democratic norms, whereas a brand new mechanism linking EU funding to rule-of-law standards is set to bear a authorized battle in the EU’s prime court docket. Asked about her targets for 2021, Jourová instructed Playbook her job isn’t about ticking packing containers — however slightly “permanent work, and in some cases permanent struggle.”

Budget hopes: Looking forward, Jourová emphasised that in her view, the EU ought to work on shielding weak populations from the affect of the coronavirus disaster. “I personally would like to see the EU budget being used for really good things, which will help to keep the jobs and to start again the economies — and not to let those who are the vulnerable ones to pay the bill for COVID,” she mentioned.

Women in focus: “When we speak about the big policies — green policy, digital policy, recovery investments — I am always the one who is telling the colleagues in the College [of Commissioners], ‘let’s focus on those who must not be left abandoned’ — and here I speak about the women, especially the women in already difficult economic situation, single mothers … the women in low-paying jobs,” she mentioned.

An existential disaster: Speaking of the bloc’s rule-of-law woes, the Czech politician mentioned “our prosperity is dependent on the mutual trust, and suddenly when you see the erosion of the principle of the rule of law, you see that it might be the gradual erosion of the EU as such.” According to Jourová, “this is erosion which goes forward in very small, sometimes invisible steps” and thus it is “easy to underestimate.”

Implementing the deal: As a part of a political settlement to unblock negotiations over the EU’s €1.82 trillion budget-and-recovery bundle, European leaders requested the Commission earlier this month to not implement the new rule-of-law mechanism till the EU’s Court of Justice delivers its verdict. The Berlaymont now plans to make use of the time till the court docket makes its resolution to arrange for the implementation of the mechanism. “I would like to do everything possible to make the rule of law conditionality applicable,” Jourová mentioned.

But there are nonetheless issues about the compromise reached — and the political fudge created at the December summit could result in renewed debates subsequent 12 months. Spanish MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar, chair of the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee, instructed Playbook that the European Council’s compromise “is not diminishing the level of demand” for “full compliance with rule of law for all member states.” López Aguilar, who is a member of the Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament, famous “there are serious doubts” about the legality of delaying the implementation of the mechanism and that “clarification is needed.”

OVER AND OUT       

NEW JOBS: The Hague has nominated present EU Sherpa Michael Stibbe as Coreper 1 ambassador from the coming summer time. The present Dutch deputy everlasting consultant to the EU, Ronald van Roeden — additionally a former sherpa — is the new ambassador to Berlin.

BIRTHDAYS: MEPs Manon Aubry, Julie Lechanteux, Sandra Kalniete and Norbert Lins; Playbook’s personal Miriam Webber; Politeia’s Jonathan Isaby.

MANY THANKS TO: Jacopo Barigazzi, Hans von der Burchard, Kate Day, Jillian Deutsch and our producer Miriam Webber.

**A message from Huawei: Huawei is a pacesetter in cybersecurity and welcomes Europe’s central position in additional advancing world cybersecurity requirements and certification by the new EU Cybersecurity Strategy. More than ever, we’re dedicated to connecting Europe.**

based mostly on web site supplies www.politico.eu

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