POLITICO Brussels Playbook: What von der Leyen doesn’t know — Borrell in Moscow — Navalny back in court – POLITICO

SILVIO ❤️ MARIO: Mario Draghi’s possibilities of turning into Italy’s subsequent prime minister have risen, after Silvio Berlusconi broke the middle proper’s unity and threw his backing behind the previous European Central Bank chief on Thursday.

Who’s afraid of a technocrat? “When I was in the Italian government being a technical person was a bad thing,” said Vito Tanzi, who spent two decades as director of fiscal affairs at the International Monetary Fund in Washington and served as economy secretary in a government led by Berlusconi. “When they wanted to criticize me, they used to say ‘he’s a tecnico, not a politician,’” Tanzi informed Playbook in an interview.

But Draghi is not only a technocrat. Tanzi has recognized him for a few years — throughout Draghi’s time on the World Bank, he used to go to Tanzi’s home in Washington — and argues the previous ECB chief can’t be decreased to only a central banker. Draghi, who amongst many different issues additionally served because the director basic of the Italian Treasury, is aware of effectively the best way politics operates in Rome. He has “a lot of political weight,” versus the opposite technocrats referred to as in in the previous to run the Italian authorities, who “were essentially outsiders,” Tanzi stated. Draghi has a uncommon mixture of expertise “that almost never happened in Italy,” he added — the abilities wanted to run a rustic that “has 8,200 dialects.” (Fact examine: The precise quantity is nearly not possible to substantiate.)

Chief of Cabinets: Draghi’s political weight stems from the truth that he “will know personally the people who run the various departments” of the Italian government, Tanzi said. “One thing that impresses me in Italy is that the governments change, but the managers in various ministries never change.” Tanzi pointed to chiefs of Cabinet who served ministers from opposing sides of the political spectrum. The most talked about instance is Enzo Fortunato, an aide to many ministers together with Giulio Tremonti from the middle proper and Antonio Di Pietro from the middle left. This “would be unthinkable in any other country,” Tanzi stated.

GOOD FRIDAY MORNING, Jacopo Barigazzi right here with you once more. The Economist wrote years in the past that “most of the wonders of the modern age … seemed to have emerged without the help of patents.” There’s extra from Tanzi additional down, the place we talk about the issue of mental property in the pandemic age — one thing he wrote extensively about in one in all his books. But first …

**A message from Equinor: If the economic coronary heart of Europe beats weak, our communities lose drive and urge for food for change. Equinor work laborious to ship decarbonization options to European industries the place GHG emissions are particularly laborious to abate. We hope our Saltend venture conjures up different comparable EU areas to motion.**

ONE OF US?       

🤷🤷🤷: The EU’s vaccine rollout goes slower than anticipated, but when it’s any comfort, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated Thursday that she’s in it with the remainder of us — and has completely no concept when she is going to get her COVID shot. “I do not know at the moment. We are … no I don’t know,” she stated. “I can’t answer that question — when I get my vaccination — I must admit,” she stated in an interview with 10 European information organizations together with POLITICO.

Depending in your perspective, von der Leyen’s response could possibly be seen as a refreshing show of selflessness or an alarming lack of understanding about when she and different officers important to the continuity of presidency in Europe might be inoculated, writes David Herszenhorn.

‘Bitter’ lesson: The EU underestimated how laborious it might be for pharmaceutical firms to fabricate vaccines on an unlimited scale — and hurdles are more likely to proceed, von der Leyen additionally admitted. “A start of vaccination does not mean a seamless flow of vaccine doses coming from the industry,” she stated. “This is a bitter learning part, and this we certainly have underestimated.” She added that manufacturing the jab will proceed to be uneven over the approaching months. Story on that right here.

Now take heed to this: If you wish to hear from von der Leyen herself, you’ll want to take heed to this week’s EU Confidential podcast. In it, we additionally reveal the reply to the urgent query teased in Tuesday’s Playbook interview with Belgian virologist Steven Van Gucht: When can I get a haircut?

KREMLIN TRIP        

BORRELL IN MOSCOW: Josep Borrell will maintain a joint press convention this morning with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The EU’s prime diplomat is underneath stress to confront Moscow over the sentencing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to greater than two years in jail, a transfer that triggered mass protests, and a brutal police crackdown in response. Navalny was sentenced after flying back to Moscow from Germany, having spent months there recovering from a near-fatal poisoning assault that he stated was carried out on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s orders. German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated there was “shocking information” that confirmed “beyond a doubt” that Navalny’s poisoning was “an attempted murder with a nerve agent” and he was “the victim of a crime intended to silence him.”

Controversial: Borrell admitted that his go to to Moscow is “controversial,” with a number of EU international locations against him taking it. The EU has condemned the Russian court’s verdict and referred to as for Navalny’s quick launch. And some international locations, together with Germany, have threatened new sanctions, with EU overseas ministers to debate “possible further action” at a gathering on February 22. But Borrell is raring to sound out Moscow on the possibilities of cooperation on points together with tackling local weather change and enlisting Russia’s assist in reviving the Iran nuclear deal. (Reuters stories that the U.S., British, French and German overseas ministers plan to debate the deal quickly — probably at present.)

Not the mail man: EU diplomats say Borrell requested to not be “a post man,” merely delivering a message, however as a substitute wished to have some room to manoeuver to reopen a dialogue. But they agree the go to isn’t in response to any indicators of appeasement from Moscow. On the opposite, Borrell might be talking at a press convention alongside Lavrov, who mainly simply referred to as Merkel a liar by saying Russia has motive to imagine Navalny’s poisoning was “staged” as a result of Germany offered it with no proof. But the German justice ministry final month stated it responded to Moscow’s request for help in its probe into Navalny’s poisoning back in January.

Borrell’s argument for making the journey: “We cannot say: ‘I don’t like you, I will stay in my corner.’”

Back in court: Navalny, in the meantime, is due back in a Russian court this morning on prices he slandered a World War II veteran who was featured in a video talking in favor of the constitutional amendments that may enable Putin to run for the Russian presidency two extra consecutive occasions. In a publish on social media, Navalny referred to as those that had been featured in the clip traitors and corrupt. The cost is punishable by as much as two years in jail.

BELARUS SOLIDARITY DAY: As the mass protests and police brutality more and more make Moscow appear to be Minsk, the chief of the Belarus opposition, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, referred to as for folks to affix in the “Day of Solidarity with Belarus” on February 7, which “marks six months of peaceable protests of our folks.” She stated: “Belarusians have been staying persistent and courageous in their demand for democracy and freedom, despite the regime’s lawlessness. It is crucial for us to know that the world stands with us.”

**Don’t miss the primary version of Playbook Paris, popping out on Monday. Pauline de Saint Remy might be lifting the curtain on the ability behind the scenes in the French capital with authentic information, sharp perception and a contact of humor. Sign up right here.**

MORE FOREIGN AFFAIRS       

NO US VS. THEM: The EU shouldn’t gang up on China with the U.S. even when it stands nearer to Washington by advantage of shared values, based on French President Emmanuel Macron. “A situation to join all together against China, this is a scenario of the highest possible conflictuality. This one, for me, is counterproductive,” Macron stated. Rym Momtaz has the story.

IRANIAN TERROR RULING: A Belgian court on Thursday convicted an Iranian diplomat of tried terrorism over his position in a thwarted assault in 2018. Assadollah Assadi was sentenced to twenty years in jail for his position in a bomb plot concentrating on a rally by opponents of the Iranian regime in France. Here’s the story.

BREXIT 1 — PRICE DISCRIMINATION: Citizens of Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovenia should pay extra to get a U.Okay. work visa than different EU nationals, Cristina Gallardo stories, with a diplomatic offensive underway to reverse the worth discrimination.

BREXIT 2 — TIME’S RUNNING OUT: The U.Okay. ought to lengthen the appliance deadline for its post-Brexit EU Settlement Scheme by as much as a yr due to the pandemic, The3Million marketing campaign group says.

BIDEN LAYS OUT PRIORITIES: Joe Biden gave his first overseas coverage speech as president on Thursday, saying the U.S. is pulling back its participation in the conflict in Yemen and taking steps to assist refugees and members of the LGBTQ group worldwide. More right here.

TRUMP’S 5G HANGOVER: EU officers would principally wish to overlook the Donald Trump period, however one holdover from the previous U.S. administration is more likely to stick round: an anti-Chinese 5G coverage, stories Mark Scott.

Speaking of Trump: The likes of Facebook and Twitter had been proper to dam the previous president from their international platforms following the Capitol Hill riots, Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s digital czar, informed Mark.

BRUSSELS BUBBLE       

MORE CONFERENCE, MORE PROBLEMS: European Parliament President David Sassoli and the establishment’s group leaders made clear in Thursday’s Conference of Presidents that the EP’s place on the Conference on the Future of Europe was to “have an official representing all political families” on the manager board, a Parliament spokesperson informed POLITICO’s Maïa de La Baume. “We must represent all the positions of the Parliament,” the official stated.

Next step: Expect the talk to be raised at an inter-institutional assembly at present, in which diplomats, MEPs and officers will talk about the brand new textual content accredited by the Council on Wednesday.

IN THE MIDST OF A PANDEMIC, EU IS BIG ON THE BIG THINGS! For the higher a part of the previous two years, people in city have been discussing the thought of how one can minimize down the variety of Council “working parties” to convey the physique into line with the EUCO 2019 Strategic Agenda mandate. The aim: to reorganize and simplify the construction of the preparatory our bodies to make the Council leaner and meaner. Behold: Victory. There at the moment are 30 fewer working events. Glad that’s sorted.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN THE PANDEMIC AGE       

PUBLIC GOOD VS. PRIVATE RIGHT: The coronavirus pandemic has relaunched the talk on pharmaceutical patents. In one in all his books, “Termites of the State,” Vito Tanzi took purpose at at present’s mental property guidelines, arguing that “if new knowledge were created, the 326,000 new patents issued in the United States in 2015 would have created a new world.” But if governments minimize funding or cut back pharma firms’ means to patent their medicine and vaccines, or as Tanzi informed me in our interview, “to exploit the monopoly,” there’s a danger the cash being pumped into the {industry} “will come down dramatically and we will have much less progress.”

But there are alternate options. One possibility: “Governments should do much more by financing the fundamental research in this area” — and then “make it immediately available for free to the public,” Tanzi stated. Or, extra radically, “once a vaccine has come out of a private company, governments could buy it.” After the pharma firm is reimbursed “for some of their expenses, or maybe a little more,” the vaccine “could possibly be made free, accessible to anyone who needs to provide it,” Tanzi stated.

Will that basically work? “I still don’t know whether this is a realistic option,” Tanzi admitted — nevertheless it’s most likely nonetheless extra doable than following via on the risk by some European leaders, who’ve prompt they may snatch patents from drug firms.

OVER AND OUT       

TGIF: Jack Blanchard’s newest Westminster Insider podcast is now out, and asks a well timed query: How does one appeal an American president? The anecdote about Tony Blair and George W. Bush watching “Meet the Parents” at Camp David after an extended day chatting in regards to the Middle East is especially putting. In his weekly Declassified column, Paul Dallison takes a glimpse right into a horrible, dystopian future (with spinach emails and vaccines as forex). And if you happen to’re having bother naming your new suppose tank, look no additional.

WHO’S ON NEXT: I want you an awesome weekend. On Monday, Playbook will come to you from my colleague Hans von der Burchard, a polyglot commerce professional. Get in contact!

BIRTHDAYS: MEPs Anne-Sophie Pelletier and France Jamet; The University of the South Pacific’s Caroline Giraud; Open Governance Network for Europe’s Maria Koomen; European Commission’s Giulio Taufer; Portuguese everlasting illustration to the EU’s Vera Ávila; Red Flag’s Seamus Conboy; David O’Lear; McKinsey’s Matt Cooke; Mary, crown princess of Denmark; Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo; Sebastian Hille, spokesman for the CSU group in the Bundestag.

MANY THANKS: David Herszenhorn, Maïa de La Baume, Camille Gijs, Andrew Gray and our producer Miriam Webber.

**A message from Equinor: As Europe greens its financial system, we in Equinor are able to assist bold targets. Partnering with European {industry} for big scale decarbonization in laborious to abate sectors via clear and low-carbon hydrogen is one in all our solutions to the European power transition. The world wants power producers that may ship reasonably priced power with decrease emissions and huge industry-scale tasks that symbolize daring however sensible steps in the direction of delivering on the net-zero ambition. Our H2H Saltend venture in the U.Okay. goals to turn into the world’s first internet zero industrial cluster by 2040. This is an unparalleled venture that may play a number one position in the U.Okay.’s journey to internet zero by 2050, renew the U.Okay.’s largest industrial cluster, and unlock expertise that may put the U.Okay. on the forefront of a worldwide hydrogen financial system. We hope continental Europe will comply with the U.Okay. with the identical dedication.**

based mostly on web site supplies www.politico.eu

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