EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 06/04/2020

The Guardian – Rowena Mason, Peter Walker and Hannah Devlin / Boris Johnson admitted to hospital with coronavirus

  • Boris Johnson has been admitted to hospital due to coronavirus after suffering 10 days of symptoms including a high fever, bringing doubts about his capability to lead the response to the pandemic despite No 10 insisting it was purely precautionary. Officials were keen to stress that this was not an emergency admission.
  • Johnson will remain in charge of government, and will be in regular touch with colleagues and civil servants. A government source told Reuters on Monday morning that Johnson had spent the night in hospital. If his condition worsens Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary and first secretary of state, is the designated minister to take charge.
  • Raab is expected to chair a 9.15am Monday meeting of the government’s C-19 committee, which leads the response to the pandemic. The pound fell against the dollar and euro overnight on Monday as foreign exchange markets took fright at the possibility of Johnson being out of action.
  • Johnson’s partner, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant, revealed on Saturday that she had also been suffering from the virus but is recovering. While No 10 did not say what tests Johnson would undergo in hospital, experts said they would be likely to focus on assessing how the prime minister’s lungs, heart and other organs were responding to the virus.
  • The New York Times – Mark Landler / Boris Johnson hospitalized as Queen urges British resolve in face of epidemic

Financial Times – The editorial board / Virus lays bare the frailty of the social contract

  • If there is a silver lining to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is that it has injected a sense of togetherness into polarised societies. But the virus, and the economic lockdowns needed to combat it, also shine a glaring light on existing inequalities — and even create new ones. Beyond defeating the disease, the great test all countries will soon face is whether current feelings of common purpose will shape society after the crisis.
  • Today’s crisis is laying bare how far many rich societies fall short of this ideal. Much as the struggle to contain the pandemic has exposed the unpreparedness of health systems, so the brittleness of many countries’ economies has been exposed, as governments scramble to stave off mass bankruptcies and cope with mass unemployment. Despite inspirational calls for national mobilisation, we are not really all in this together.
  • The economic lockdowns are imposing the greatest cost on those already worst off. Overnight millions of jobs and livelihoods have been lost in hospitality, leisure and related sectors, while better paid knowledge workers often face only the nuisance of working from home. Worse, those in low-wage jobs who can still work are often risking their lives — as carers and healthcare support workers, but also as shelf stackers, delivery drivers and cleaners.
  • Radical reforms — reversing the prevailing policy direction of the last four decades — will need to be put on the table. Governments will have to accept a more active role in the economy. They must see public services as investments rather than liabilities, and look for ways to make labour markets less insecure. Redistribution will again be on the agenda; the privileges of the elderly and wealthy in question. Policies until recently considered eccentric, such as basic income and wealth taxes, will have to be in the mix.
  • Bloomberg – Viktoria Dendrinou and Nikos Chrysoloras / These are the options for Europe’s giant virus rescue package

Vox – Jen Kirby / The UK’s Labour party has a new leader: Keir Starmer

  • Britain’s Labour Party officially has a new leader. Keir Starmer, who previously served as the opposition’s shadow Brexit secretary, won the leadership contest with 56 percent of the vote, defeating two other candidates, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy.
  • Starmer’s election indicates that Labour is seeking a change after five years of Jeremy Corbyn, the left-wing leader who agreed to step aside following the party’s crushing defeat in December elections. Starmer has promised to embrace some of the popular Labour policies, but is seen as someone who can appeal more broadly to the UK electorate because he’s not as left-wing as Corbyn.
  • Starmer, 57, is a human-rights lawyer who has served as the former director of public prosecutions and head of the crown prosecution service. He joined Parliament in 2015, and gained a lot of attention during the Brexit debate, serving as Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary and helping to temper Corbyn’s approach to Brexit.
  • In Parliament, he often articulated a case against the Conservative government’s Brexit plans more coherently than the Labour leader, Corbyn. Starmer supported remaining in the EU, though now that Brexit is complete, he’s urged the party to move on from the issue and to focus instead on a smooth transition out of the bloc.
  • Politico – Charlie Cooper and Emilio Casalicchio / 10 things to know about Labour’s Keir Starmer
  • The Economist / Bagehot: Labour’s new leader should beware of “war socialism”

Euractiv – Samuel Stolton / Leak: EU in push for digital transformation after COVID-19 crisis

  • EU member states and the European Commission should “thoroughly analyse the experiences gained from the COVID-19 pandemic” in order to inform future policies across the entire spectrum of the digital domain, leaked Council documents seen by EURACTIV reveal.
  • In particular, fields such as “e-Health, digital education, e-Government, data sharing and broadband connectivity,” should receive particular attention following the current coronavirus crisis, the draft Council of the EU conclusions on Shaping Europe’s Digital Future, note.
  • Moreover, the document, dated 1 April, states that EU should also move to ensure that member states are able to award 5G spectrum frequencies by the end of 2020. Several member states have already announced intentions to postpone frequency auctions as a results of the ongoing public health crisis.
  • The draft conclusions note the need of the EU to facilitate the “sharing of data amongst businesses and institutions, to gain critical mass and be successful in the data economy currently dominated by a few powerful players.” The Croatian Presidency now intends to discuss the draft conclusions in the Council Working Party for Telecoms, next meeting in May, dependent on any future restrictions imposed as part of the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • Politico – Nektaria Stamouli / Coronavirus bundles Greece into the digital era

Today’s long read:

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and EsadeGeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.

Política Internacional |