European summit opens in Moldova with Ukraine war, regional conflicts on agenda
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has arrived at a sprawling summit of some 50 European leaders in Moldova, becoming the focal point of an event that seeks to quell regional conflicts and shore up unity in the face of Russia’s war.
EU leaders divided on gas price cap at energy crisis summit
European Union leaders struggled to find immediate practical solutions at their summit called to grapple with the energy crisis fueled by the war in Ukraine and maintain a united front in the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin coercion.
The Latest: Pakistan says no rush to recognize Taliban gov't
Pakistan’s foreign minister says Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers should understand that if they want recognition and assistance in rebuilding the war-battered country “they have to be more sensitive and more receptive to international opinion and norms.”.
EU vows to help Lithuania amid flow of migrants from Belarus
The European Union has promised to help Lithuania cope with an influx of migrants from the Middle East and Africa, which the Baltic nation says has been encouraged by authorities in neighboring Belarus as part of their standoff with the West.
Snub in EU-Turkey meeting highlights gender equality issue
The topic of gender equality took center stage Wednesday in Brussels a day after Ursula von der Leyen, one the most powerful European Union’s executives, was treated like a second-rank official during a visit to the Turkish capital of Ankara.
The Latest: Wyoming governor sticks with ending mask mandate
— Wyoming’s governor is rejecting a call by President Joe Biden for states to reimpose mask orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Coronavirus cases nationwide are on the rise, but infections in Wyoming have fallen off sharply since December. Tribal health officials said that the United Kingdom strain was confirmed in a sample obtained in the western part of the reservation. State health officials on Monday announced more than 1 million people in the state, about 17% of Wisconsin’s population, have completed their vaccination cycles. AdThe COVID-related hospitalizations dropped to 549 on Monday, far below the pandemic record of 5,082 on Jan. 11, according to the state’s pandemic dashboard.
World leaders call for pandemic treaty, but short on details
"The world cannot afford to wait until the pandemic is over to start planning for the next one,” Tedros said during a news conference. Steven Solomon, WHO's principal legal officer, said the proposed pandemic treaty would need to be ratified by lawmakers in the participating countries. European Council President Charles Michel first laid out the idea of a pandemic treaty at the U.N. General Assembly in December. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the U.S. has concerns about the current push for a new pandemic treaty. “That should be our focus currently.”WHO legal officer Solomon said the pandemic treaty might also address issues such as the sharing of vaccine technology and vaccine supplies, but gave no indication how that might happen.
EU to offer Turkey aid, trade help despite rights concerns
European Council President Charles Michel, top of screen, speaks with EU leaders, via videoconference link, during a EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Thursday, March 25, 2021. (Yves Herman, Pool via AP)BRUSSELS – European Union leaders are set Thursday to provide new incentives to Turkey to improve cooperation on migration and trade despite democratic backsliding in the country and lingering concerns about its energy ambitions in the Mediterranean Sea. EU diplomats said before the videoconference summit that the leaders will offer Turkey a “positive agenda” rather than brandish threats or sanctions. Under it, the EU offered Turkey 6 billion euros ($7.1 billion) to help Syrian refugees and other incentives to prevent people from leaving Turkey to go to Europe. Despite the offers, EU leaders worry that this might only be a moment of calm manufactured by Turkey to suit its interests and concerns about rights abuses continue to mount.
EU moves toward stricter export controls for COVID-19 shots
Spain resumed the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)BRUSSELS – The European Union moved Wednesday toward stricter export controls for coronavirus vaccines, seeking to make sure its 27 nations have more COVID-19 shots to boost the bloc's flagging vaccine campaign amid a surge in new infections. Ad“I mention specifically the U.K.,” said EU Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis. That was heading to Australia, which has a very limited coronavirus outbreak compared to the third surge of infections now facing many EU nations. The EU has been feuding with AstraZeneca for months over exactly how many vaccine doses would be delivered by certain dates.
The Latest: Philippine leader orders mayors investigated
New coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Utah have been on a downward trend since January. Ad___SAO PAULO, Brazil — Brazil has reached 300,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and become the second nation to top that figure. ___BOISE, Idaho — The governor of Idaho has said COVID-19 vaccine eligibility will be open to all Idaho residents 16 and up starting April 5. ___WAILUKU, Hawaii — A hospital on Maui had to throw out nearly 1,400 vaccine doses after a refrigerator thawing the vials did not properly seal. Also, COVID-19 deaths have dipped below 1,000 a day on average for the first time since November.
Biden to address video summit of EU leaders on Thursday
European Council President Charles Michel, left, talks during a video conference with the leaders of Germany, France, Portugal and Greece, on the screen, ahead of the EU summit at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Tuesday, March 23, 2021. All rights reservedBRUSSELS – U.S. President Joe Biden will join a video summit of European Union leaders on Thursday to discuss improving trans-Atlantic cooperation after four years of worsening relations during the Trump administration. “Time to rebuild our transatlantic alliance,” EU Council President and summit host Charles Michel said in a twitter message. The 27 EU leaders have a regular two-day summit starting Thursday, where they will discuss everything from vaccine strategy to relations with Russia. Earlier this month, a first phone call between Biden and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen clinched a trade breakthrough with a four-month suspension of tariffs used in the longstanding Airbus-Boeing dispute.
The Latest: Australia seeks vaccine aid for Papua New Guinea
CANBERRA, Australia — Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he is working with U.S., Indian and Japanese partners to provide emergency coronavirus vaccine to Papua New Guinea. Australia has provided 8,000 AstraZeneca doses from its own stockpile to its nearest neighbor after an explosion of infections in the South Pacific island nation in recent weeks. Morrison said Friday that the European Union has yet to respond to his recent request for 1 million AstraZeneca doses contracted by Australia to be sent to Papua New Guinea as soon as possible. It has an agreement with ImmunityBio, which has a COVID-19 vaccine in clinical trials, to produce the vaccine sometime next year. Biovac, based in Cape Town, has the capacity to produce between 20 million and 30 million vaccines in a year.
EU regulator reviews AstraZeneca COVID shot, blood clot links
Instead, the EMA said it will continue to look closely at two rare types of blood clots. That’s out of the 20 million people who have received at least one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Britain and the EU. AstraZeneca's vaccine is central to COVAX, the U.N.-backed project to supply COVID-19 shots to poorer countries around the world. AdThe EU has an estimated 7 million unused doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Ad“People may well be more hesitant to take an AstraZeneca vaccine when immunization resumes," he said.
EU-UK relations take a new dip over 'vaccine ban' comments
Relations between the European Union and recently departed Britain took another diplomatic dip on Wednesday, March 10, 2021 when the EU envoy in London was summoned to explain comments that Britain had issued a vaccine export ban. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File)BRUSSELS – The leaders of the European Union and the United Kingdom went head-to-head in an angry exchange over vaccine exports as relations between the bloc and its former member took another diplomatic dip on Wednesday. “Let me be clear: we have not blocked the export of a single COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine components," Johnson said. The United Kingdom has given about 35% of its adults a vaccine shot while the EU is further back with 9.5%. AdAlready uneasy bedfellows during Britain’s 47 years of EU membership, thing got progressively worse since the 2016 referendum when the United Kingdom voted to leave the bloc.
The Latest: SKorea to give shots to elders in long-term care
AdHe also sanctioned a bill that makes the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines easier. However, the actual numbers of COVID-19 cases, like elsewhere in the world, are thought to be far higher, in part due to limited testing. Murphy, who’s running for re-election this, said the state’s COVID-19 trends are headed in the right direction, though they’ve been up a bit this week. ___SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s governor says all adults in the state will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines on April 1. Ad___PHOENIX — Arizona on Wednesday reported 830 confirmed coronavirus cases and 78 deaths, following two days of no new deaths.
Top EU official pledges more support for Ukraine
(Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)KYIV – A top European Union official pledged more support for Ukraine on Tuesday as he visited the area near the separatist conflict in the country's east. He said that the EU assistance will include funding for the checkpoints near the zone of conflict. The conflict in eastern Ukraine erupted in April 2014 when Russia cast support for separatist rebels there weeks after annexing Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. “Ukrainian citizens deserve a judicial system that respects justice, applies it and demonstrates that there is no impunity for crimes. We will support you at every stage of your path to the rule of law and judicial reform in Ukraine.”
EU urges parties in ex-Soviet Georgia to ease tensions
“My visit coincides with an aggravating political crisis in Georgia, which deeply worries the European Union, and I am also personally deeply worried by it,” European Council President Charles Michel said. The political situation in Georgia has been tense amid allegations of voter fraud in the country’s Oct. 31 parliamentary election. Tensions escalated last week following the arrest of the United National Movement's leader, Nika Melia. Thousands of opposition supporters marched across the Georgian capital last week to demand Melia's release and call for early parliamentary elections. “The European Union calls upon all parties to intensify their efforts to stabilize the situation and find a common middle ground,” Michel said after talks with Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili.
EU vows to speed vaccine roll out, presses drug makers
European Council President Charles Michel, top of screen, takes part in an EU Summit, via videoconference link, at the European Council building in Brussels, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The leaders also said that restrictions, including on travel, should remain in place in many parts of the 27-nation bloc. The EU has partly blamed supply delays for lagging far behind nations like Israel, the United States and Britain when it comes to vaccinations. By early this week, 6.5% of the adults living in the EU had been vaccinated, compared to more than 27% in the U.K. He also raised concern about other issues, like the exclusion of those who have not been vaccinated, or cannot be.
EU to double COVAX vaccine funding to 1 billion euros
Von der Leyen also announced during the meeting an additional 100 million euros ($121.4 million) to support vaccination campaigns in Africa in partnership with the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The funding will be used to strengthen health systems, ensure the cold chains, buy equipment and train staff," von der Leyen said. She added that the EU would discuss with drugmakers how they can ramp up their COVID-19 vaccine production capacity in Africa. COVAX hopes to deploy some 336 million doses by the end of June, and around 2 billion doses by the end of the year. In addition to its COVAX contribution, the EU said it wants to share some of its doses with neighbors in Europe and Africa.
Central European leaders push for faster vaccine deliveries
(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)WARSAW – Central European leaders pushed Wednesday for faster deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines from every reliable manufacturer to speed up inoculations which they said is the way to conquer the pandemic and jump-start Europe’s economic recovery. The leaders of Hungary, Slovakia and Poland said they support purchasing vaccines from manufacturers regardless of “geopolitics” provided they are safe and effective. Hungary is the European Union's first and so far only member state to administer Russia's Sputnik V vaccine without waiting for approval from the European Medicines Agency. “There is no Eastern or Western vaccine, there is only a good or a bad vaccine,” Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban told a news conference in Krakow, Poland. European Council President Charles Michel, who attended the celebrations, said EU leaders will discuss next week ways of increasing vaccine production and of speeding up inoculations.
UK, EU meeting in bid to calm post-Brexit trade turbulence
The turbulence centers on Northern Ireland, whose complex status has been one of the trickiest issues in the U.K.-EU divorce. Checks have also been imposed on some British goods going to Northern Ireland because it shares a border with EU member-state Ireland. That would have drawn a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland -- exactly what the Brexit trade deal was crafted to avoid. AdThe EU quickly dropped the idea after British, Irish and Northern Ireland politicians expressed alarm. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman, Jamie Davies, said the bloc’s move had caused “shock and anger” in Northern Ireland.
EU wants to step up fight against cancer amid virus pandemic
The EU on Wednesday proposed a four-billion-euro (4.8 billion US dollar) plan aimed at improving the fight against cancer as the coronavirus pandemic tends to delay diagnoses and access to treatment across the 27-nation bloc. According to EU's figures, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the bloc, whose population is 450 million inhabitants. There are about 1.3 million deaths and 3.5 million new cases per year in the EU. The pandemic has not only delayed screenings and disrupted treatments, but also affected the cancer patient's quality of life. “A strong European Health Union is a union where citizens are protected from avoidable cancers," EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said.
EU: AstraZeneca to supply 9 million more vaccine doses
(Olivier Hoslet, Pool Photo via AP)BERLIN – Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has agreed to supply 9 million additional doses of its coronavirus vaccine to the European Union during the first quarter, the bloc's executive arm said Sunday. The new target of 40 million doses by the end of March is still only half what the British-Swedish company had originally aimed for before it announced a shortfall due to production problems, triggering a spat between AstraZeneca and the EU last week. The EU is far behind Britain and the United States in getting its population of 450 million vaccinated against the virus. Pfizer, which developed the first widely tested and approved coronavirus vaccine together with German firm BioNTech, has said it expects to increase global production this year from 1.3 million doses to 2 billion doses. BioNTech said Monday that up to 75 million of those additional doses will be delivered to the EU in the second quarter.
WHO Europe: Vaccine production delays are a real issue
A nurse administers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to a resident at DomusVi nursing home in Alcala Henares, Spain, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)GENEVA – National tensions are erupting over slow coronavirus vaccine rollouts and production delay issues are real, but “no one is safe until everyone is safe,” the European chief for the World Health Organization said Thursday. The cautionary note comes as the EU has accused pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca of failing to deliver the coronavirus vaccine doses that it promised to the 27-nation bloc despite getting EU funding to ramp up vaccine production. The company says the production issues at EU plants are slowing the amount of vaccines available, and it can't give what it does not have. Fellow vaccine maker Pfizer has had supply issues too, due to a production upgrade at a plant in Belgium.
EU demands that vaccine makers honor their commitments
“Europe invested billions to help develop the world's first COVID-19 vaccines," EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the World Economic Forum's virtual event in Switzerland. The EU has committed to buying 300 million AstraZeneca doses with option on 100 million extra shots. The slow rollout, however, is hardly only the result of vaccine production issues. That’s why there is such big disappointment.”The European Medicines Agency is scheduled to review the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine Friday and its approval is hotly anticipated. The AstraZeneca vaccine is already being used in Britain and has been approved for emergency use by half a dozen countries, including India, Pakistan, Argentina and Mexico.
EU pressures AstraZeneca to deliver vaccines as promised
“We, as the EU, must be able to know whether and what vaccines are being exported from the EU,” German Health Minister Jens Spahn said. The EU has committed to buying 300 million AstraZeneca doses with option on 100 million extra shots. The AstraZeneca vaccine is already being used in Britain and has been approved for emergency use by half a dozen countries, including India, Pakistan, Argentina and Mexico. AstraZeneca's announcement that it will deliver fewer vaccines to the EU early on has only increased pressure on the bloc, especially since Pfizer-BioNTech, the first vaccine to get EU approval, failed last week to keep up its promised deliveries to the EU. Pfizer has temporarily reduced vaccine deliveries to the EU and Canada as it revamps its plant in Belgium to increase overall production.
The Latest: Hong Kong ends lockdown in Kowloon neighborhood
The district has been at the center of a worsening coronavirus outbreak, with over 160 cases reported over the first three weeks in January. As of Sunday, Hong Kong has reported 10,086 cases of the coronavirus, with 169 deaths recorded. The nation of 26 million people has reported fewer than 30,000 virus cases and a little over 900 deaths. There have been 373,090 total virus cases and a death toll of 3,279 since the pandemic began, according to the health department. The U.S. accounts for roughly one of every four cases reported worldwide and one of every five deaths.
EU leaders assess more restrictions to stop virus' variants
European Council President Charles Michel, top, and European leaders are shown on screen during a EU summit video conference at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. Expressing great concern about the virus' mutations, the 27 leaders looked at further border restrictions like limits on all non-essential travel, better tracking of mutations and improving coordination of lockdowns, worried that another surge of deaths across the EU was imminent. But since the EU doesn't expect vaccines to be ready for mass distribution before April, leaders should in the meantime find efficient ways to contain the new variants. The commission believes that better tracking the virus' mutations with genomic sequencing, coupled with an increased use of rapid antigen tests, will be crucial. At this stage, vaccination proof certificates should only be considered for medical purposes and not as travel document, an EU official said.
EU sighs with relief as Biden readies to enter White House
European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen addresses European lawmakers during a plenary session on the inauguration of the new President of the United States and the current political situation, at the European Parliament in Brussels, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. European Council President Charles Michel, who chairs summits between the EU’s 27 heads of state and government, said that trans-Atlantic relations have “greatly suffered in the last four years. In these years, the world has grown more complex, less stable and less predictable.”“We have our differences and they will not magically disappear. America seems to have changed, and how it’s perceived in Europe and the rest of the world has also changed,” said Michel, whose open criticism of the Trump era contrasted starkly with the silence that mostly reigned in Europe while the Republican leader was in the White House. Michel said the EU’s priority is to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and climate change, rebuild the global economy and boost security ties with America.
Stunned EU leaders yearn for Biden presidency -- ASAP
“President Trump is already a thing of the past," Prime Minister Antonio Costa of Portugal, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, said Thursday. “I don’t dabble much in provocation, but for me this page is turned,” EU Council President Charles Michel said. “Above all, I am looking forward to the new American President," said EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen. Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte said Italy “can’t wait to work together with President Biden." President Trump often criticized European allies for cowering under the U.S. defense and security umbrella while seeking economic advantage through subsidies and other trade tactics.
EU avoided chaos, explored new paths in turbulent 2020 year
“The European Union managed to do what was necessary," Fabian Zuleeg, chief executive of the European Policy Centre, an independent think tank, said. The true silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic was certainly the emergence of a common approach to health, which was until this year purely of member states' competence. Ten months and more than 350,000 virus-related deaths later, the member states' cooperation on health-related issues has never been closer. The stalemate was broken under Germany's time in the rotating presidency of the European Council, which defines the EU’s priorities. “Her role has been crucial when it comes to the (budget), to the recovery package," Zuleeg told The Associated Press.
Britain ends long Brexit journey with economic break from EU
A different U.K.-EU trade deal will bring new restrictions and red tape, but for British Brexit supporters, it means reclaiming national independence from the EU and its web of rules. Hundreds of millions of individuals in Britain and the bloc also face changes to their daily lives. Britons and EU citizens have lost the automatic right to live and work in the other’s territory. For some in Britain, including the prime minister, it’s a moment of pride and a chance for the U.K. to set new diplomatic and economic priorities. In Scotland, which voted strongly in 2016 to remain, Brexit has bolstered support for separation from the U.K.
EU, China leaders seal long-awaited investment deal
The European Union top officials and China president Xi Jinping will conclude Wednesday a business investment deal that will open big opportunities to European companies, with the potential to irk the new American administration. German Chancellor Angela Merkel — whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU — and French president Emmanuel Macron also took part in the discussions with the Chinese president, the EU said. EU companies face competition from state-owned Chinese enterprises that may get government support and easier access to financing. “The EU has traditionally been much more open than China to foreign investment," the EU said. According to EU figures, China is now the bloc’s second-biggest trading partner behind the United States, and the EU is China’s biggest trading partner.
British lawmakers approve post-Brexit trade deal with EU
UK chief trade negotiator David Frost looks on as Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson signs the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement at 10 Downing Street, London Wednesday Dec. 30, 2020. (Leon Neal/Pool via AP)BRUSSELS – Britain’s Parliament voted resoundingly on Wednesday to approve a trade deal with the European Union, paving the way for an orderly break with the bloc that will finally complete the U.K.’s long and divisive Brexit journey. With just a day to spare, lawmakers in the House of Commons voted 521-73 in favor of the agreement sealed between the U.K. government and the EU last week. She noted that the deal protected trade in goods but did not cover services, which account for 80% of Britain's economy. “We have a deal in trade, which benefits the EU, but not a deal in services, which would have benefitted the U.K.," May said.
The Latest: S Koreans line up for virus tests as cases surge
The Pentagon has authorized nearly 50 top civilian and military leaders to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks to prove to the shots are safe and effective. Indoor restaurant dining will continue to be barred under the new state health department order that takes effect Monday. Laura Kelly is expressing little concern over a smaller-than-expected second shipment of a coronavirus vaccine for the state. The state also reported total 2,341 COVID-19 deaths, adding 88 to the tally since Wednesday. ___BERN — The Swiss government is ordering the closure of restaurants, bars, cultural venues and sports facilities next week because of increasing coronavirus cases.
EU strikes deal on landmark budget, virus recovery fund
European Union leaders meet for a year-end summit that will address anything from climate, sanctions against Turkey to budget and virus recovery plans. The 1.82 trillion-euro ($2.21 trillion) seven-year budget and recovery package is considered vital for many European countries whose economies have been devastated by the virus. Our landmark recovery package will drive forward our green and digital transitions,” Michel said in a tweet during an EU summit he was chairing in Brussels. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki had warned that it could be a case of us now, you tomorrow. But Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he still had questions about the compromise, like his neighbors in Belgium and Luxembourg.
EU plans to hit Turkey with more sanctions over Med drilling
European Council President Charles Michel, center, arrives for a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. European Union leaders meet for a year-end summit that will address anything from climate, sanctions against Turkey to budget and virus recovery plans. From left, Latvia's Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins, Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. “Regrettably, Turkey has engaged in unilateral actions and provocations and escalated its rhetoric against the EU, EU member states and European leaders,” they said in a statement from their summit in Brussels. “Any decision to impose sanctions against Turkey won’t be of great concern to Turkey,” Erdogan told reporters.
EU stops short of advising against holiday travel over virus
European Council President Charles Michel arrives to participate in a video conference with member states in preparation for the upcoming EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. The European Commission said in non-binding recommendations published Wednesday that easing pandemic-containment measures this month would jeopardize the efforts that have helped slow infections across the EU in recent weeks. Until vaccines against the virus are rolled out, the EU commission is recommending prudence. “Every 17 seconds a person loses their life due to COVID-19 in Europe,” EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said. “Whilst travel itself is a risk factor, the generalized widespread transmission of COVID-19 across member states means that at present, intra-EU cross-border travel does not present a significant added risk," it said.
EU invites Biden to patch up trans-Atlantic ties
BRUSSELS – European Union chief Charles Michel is inviting Joe Biden once he is U.S. president to come visit and patch up trans-Atlantic relations that have suffered over the past four years under President Donald Trump. “The EU and the U.S. will always have more impact when taking steps together,” Michel said. The 27-nation bloc has often complained about a worsening relationship under Trump, and hope that with Biden, trans-Atlantic ties can be rekindled like they were under President Barack Obama. Over the past years, both sides disagreed over key topics from trade and security to the fight against climate change. Now, Michel said Biden should come over next year for a meeting with EU leaders.
G-20 summit ends with support for COVID-19 vaccines for all
European Council President Charles Michel, on screen bottom, participates in a virtual G20 meeting, hosted by Saudi Arabia, at the European Council building in Brussels, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. The G-20 expressed support for efforts like COVAX, an international initiative to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to countries worldwide. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters Sunday in Berlin after the virtual summit that Germany had given financial support to the COVAX initiative, but that more money was needed. Saudi Arabia presided over the G-20 this year and was host of the virtual summit, which was originally intended to be held in-person in Riyadh before the pandemic. G-20 countries are allowing low-income countries with unsustainable debts to apply for permanent debt relief on a case-by-case basis.
EU leaders fail to solve political fight blocking big budget
The deal for the budget and recovery fund looked well on track to enter into force in January — until Hungary and Poland vetoed it this week. The Polish parliament passed a resolution Thursday backing the government’s plan to veto the EU budget if it included the rule-of-law condition. The resolution calls it unacceptable and inconsistent with the EU treaty to apply “different standards” to different members. The EU has opened legal procedures against the two countries over what it considers systemic threats to the rule of law. ___Frank Jordans in Berlin, Raf Casert in Brussels, and Vanessa Gera in Warsaw, Poland, contributed to this report.
EU urges Poland, Hungary to sign up to big money budget
Poland and Hungary, however, showed no sign of backing down. Poland and Hungary vetoed the budget for 2021-2027 and the massive aid plan Monday because of a new mechanism that links EU funding to the rule of law. Polish President Andrzej Duda, said Tuesday that the EU budget must be vetoed as “Poland would not agree with any type of dictate.”“As a large member of the EU, Poland is paying taxes and works for the EU,” he said. “Poland and Hungary are attacked here not because of any valid legal arguments but because of political disagreements,” Jablonski added. ____Gera reported from Warsaw, Poland.
Attacks spur EU to tighten borders, boost policy agency
“The attacks we have seen, not only in recent weeks, have shown the extent of the threat we face from all forms of terrorism. Only together we can put a stop to the terrorists and their backers,” the ministers said in a statement after a videoconference. The ministers tasked the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, with drafting a tougher mandate for Europol, and said that the policy agency must have more funds and staff. The ministers urged the European Parliament to help finalize negotiations on rules governing “terrorist content” online, with the aim of getting it removed within one hour of being reported. EU leaders will discuss proposals from Friday's meeting at a summit on Dec. 10-11.