POLITICO Brussels Playbook: This is America — Spending EU billions — No corona privileges for MEPs – POLITICO

THIS IS AMERICA: Four folks have died after supporters of Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in an try and cease the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. Here’s the newest this morning from our stateside colleagues.

What occurred: The mob overwhelmed police or what was to be seen of legislation enforcement businesses, broke into what was known as the cradle of recent democracy, destroyed tools of TV groups and threatened reporters. In brief, the American capital was thrown right into a panic by a violent try and overturn the results of a democratic election.

Said Biden: “This is not dissent. It’s dysfunction. It’s chaos. It borders on sedition. And it should finish now.”

EU reacts: “I was deeply disturbed to witness the scenes coming out of Washington this evening. My thoughts are very much for the safety of you and your fellow colleagues,” wrote European Parliament President David Sassoli in a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi despatched in a single day and seen by Playbook, selecting phrases usually reserved to encourage democratic forces in autocracies: “I hope that order can be swiftly restored and that a peaceful transfer of power can take place, in line with the wishes of the American people.” More EU reactions right here.

Further studying: In Europe, Wednesday’s violence “confirmed a grim conclusion that many leaders had reached long ago: that Trump was a symptom, not the cause, of something badly broken in America,” writes David Herszenhorn. And right here’s extra on the way it all occurred.



A SECOND VACCINE: The EU added a second vaccine to its armory, because the Commission rubber-stamped a European Medicines Agency (EMA) approval of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine, thereby certifying it as protected, efficient and able to use. The Commission has already secured 160 million doses of the vaccine. Deliveries will begin subsequent week.

More of the primary one: German Health Minister Jens Spahn expressed hope {that a} new BioNTech/Pfizer manufacturing unit in Germany would “massively” increase the provision of vaccines within the EU as of subsequent month. Spahn mentioned that “if all goes well” the brand new manufacturing facility in Marburg can be prepared in February.

If that’s not sufficient, there’s at all times the Russian stuff (or so the Kremlin suggests): According to a German authorities spokeswoman, Chancellor Angela Merkel has instructed Russian President Vladimir Putin that she is “open to the idea” of utilizing European manufacturing capacities to extend the manufacturing of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine — on the situation that the EMA approves the vaccine.

SHARING IS CARING: 13 EU overseas ministers known as on the Commission to assist the Eastern Partnership international locations (that’s Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) to safe early entry to COVID-19 vaccines. The ministers of Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden requested for a  “assist mechanism” in a Lithuania-initiated letter to the Commission members concerned, Josep Borrell, Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides and Olivér Várhelyi.

NATIONAL WOES: That request may add to the irritation of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD), who, in uncommon concord with the nation’s largest tabloid Bild, maintain criticizing the federal government for alleged flaws within the vaccination marketing campaign in addition to for teaming up with the EU for joint procurement moderately than appearing alone in securing vaccines for Germans solely.

Make no mistake: Politics have taken over once more in Germany. The SPD is half of the present governing coalition in Berlin, and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz mentioned his celebration’s assault had nothing in any respect to do along with his private ambition to steer the following authorities after the parliamentary elections in September. But 73 % of respondents in a brand new survey for RTL broadcaster weren’t satisfied.

Meanwhile in Paris: The French authorities defended its hiring of McKinsey to advise on the logistics of the vaccine drive (as first reported by POLITICO) — which doesn’t fairly sound like reward for the consultancy agency: France, which is significantly lagging behind most EU international locations, has solely vaccinated 5,000 folks up to now. Germany is at greater than 316,000, Spain at 139,000.


HOW TO SPEND YOUR EU BILLIONS: The Commission urges governments to be daring however cheap of their plans for how one can spend the cash from the corona restoration fund: “2021 will be the year of delivery,” mentioned Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis. He expects governments to ship “realistic and ambitious recovery plans to unlock NextGenerationEU funding,” he instructed Playbook, referring to the €750 billion spending program to spice up the crisis-shaken EU financial system.

Money with a goal: The fund “offers the EU a vehicle to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis while also transforming our economies,” he mentioned. The nationwide restoration plans are purported to be very detailed — assume 1000’s of pages from every nation — and whereas some are in already, nearly all of governments have but to submit their paperwork to get them permitted by Brussels.

The likelihood for a lot cash gained’t come again any time quickly. So they higher spend it properly, mentioned Dombrovskis in our dialog on what the brand new yr will deliver: “We have to deliver collectively on this once-in-a-generation chance to not just rebuild but also revamp our economies and make them more resilient to future shocks.”

“Fair” restoration: The Commission “will work intensely to ensure that the recovery is fair,” mentioned Dombrovskis. “We will use the Recovery and Resilience Facility to provide new opportunities to people affected by the pandemic and couple that action of the ground with initiatives to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights.”

Of course, the restoration is additionally meant to be “delivering on the Green Deal.” And talking of:

NEW GREEN TRADING: Climate coverage can be “a big part” of each negotiations for new commerce agreements “and of how we implement existing deals,” mentioned Dombrovskis. “Our new chief trade enforcement officer will ensure that our partners are living up to their commitments,” he added, referring to Deputy Director General for Trade Denis Redonnet.

Transatlantic bonds: The Commission hopes to get the U.S. on board the multilateral prepare once more this yr. “We look forward to working closely with the Biden Administration to revitalize transatlantic leadership on climate action and global institutional reform, including at the WTO,” mentioned Dombrovskis, including that he’s “optimistic” that the brand new president “will work with us to resolve existing trade irritants and help grow our trade relationship.”

State of the world: “Looking to this year and beyond, it is clear that the EU will need to learn to navigate very effectively in a highly competitive, new multipolar global order in which the growing tensions between the U.S. and China will loom large,” Dombrovskis mentioned, including {that a} “recalibration” of a few of the key commerce relationships is due, notably the “complex ties” with China: “We need to engage with Beijing to tackle the distortions in our economic relationship, while being very mindful of upholding our own core values.”

Reality verify: Hong Kong police arrested greater than 50 folks on Wednesday within the largest crackdown on pro-democracy activists since China imposed a brand new “security law” in 2020. The EU known as for their launch however left it to its former member, the United Kingdom, to seek out more durable phrases. London condemned the arrests as a “grievous attack” on rights and freedoms.

**Over 50 main educational establishments will showcase their undergrad and postgraduate packages at POLITICO’s digital EU Studies and Career Fair on February 4-5. Visit our web site to seek out out extra.**


NO PARTICULAR PRIVILEGES: Members of the European Parliament do should respect new Belgian guidelines for touring to and from the nation, together with a compulsory quarantine when coming from a coronavirus crimson zone. “As communicated by the Belgian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the new rules also apply to Members,” an inner be aware, seen by Playbook, mentioned.

MEPs with out authorized residence in Belgium “must present on arrival a negative PCR test result,” the be aware mentioned, with the check accomplished inside 72 hours previous to arrival.” Those (few) MEPs with authorized residence within the nation can as a substitute be examined on arrival — in any other case, there’s no particular therapy.

Stay dwelling … or go to work: “Once in Belgium all Members, whether ‘residents’ or ‘non-residents’, must quarantine. The quarantine is lifted only if the PCR test taken on the seventh day is negative,” mentioned the be aware by Parliament’s quaestors. “If the stay in Belgium lasts less than the quarantine period, the person can of course leave the country.”

Quirky form of quarantine: “The quarantine does not apply to essential activities linked to the function. This means that Members can come to Parliament to exercise their duties, whereas non-professional or non-essential activities outside of Parliament are not authorised by the Belgian authorities,” the be aware mentioned.

**Jack Blanchard is again tomorrow with the unique pilot episode of POLITICO’s Westminster Insider podcast. Don’t need to miss it? Sign up for the e-mail alert and/or subscribe to it in your favourite platform.**


END OFFSHORE QUARANTINE FOR MIGRANTS, RIGHTS GROUPS SAY: Since May, the Italian authorities has remoted asylum seekers on ships after they arrive, an method designed to not solely stem the unfold of the coronavirus but additionally placate populists. But Rome is dealing with growing strain to abolish this technique following a collection of alarming incidents, together with a number of deaths, over the previous yr. Stefania D’Ignoti studies from Sicily.

WHAT THE BREXIT DEAL MEANS: René Repasi, a professor for EU and worldwide legislation at Erasmus University Rotterdam, will analyze the deal struck simply earlier than Christmas between the EU and the U.Ok. in a webinar this night — which can or might curiosity you, but it surely’s on the invitation of Green MEPs, and so they say they are going to use the information to make up their minds as they “have not yet decided whether we will vote in favor of this deal.”


BIRTHDAYS: MEP Inma Rodríguez-Piñero; former MEPs Dieter-Lebrecht Koch and Sorin Moisă; European Commission’s Tove Ernst; Christian Lindner, chief of Free Democratic Party of Germany; Facebook’s Nick Clegg, former U.Ok. deputy PM.

MANY THANKS: My editor Zia Weise and producer Miriam Webber.

based mostly on website supplies www.politico.eu

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