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EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 21/07/2020

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 21/07/2020

Before the meeting | Mark RUTTE, Prime Minister of the Nethe ...

Financial Times – Sam Fleming, Mehreen Khan and Jim Brunsden / EU leaders strike deal on €750bn recovery fund after marathon summit

  • EU leaders have struck a deal on a landmark coronavirus recovery package that will involve the European Commission undertaking massive borrowing on the capital markets for the first time.
  • The recovery fund centres on a €390bn programme of grants to economically weakened member states — a significantly smaller sum than the €500bn package originally proposed. Leaders also signed off on the EU’s next seven-year budget, which will be worth €1.074tn.
  • The price for this was a boost to the budget rebates that those frugal nations receive as a legacy of the UK’s membership of the EU. Austria’s annual reduction will be doubled, while the Netherlands’ rebate will jump to €1.92bn from €1.57bn.
  • Proposed top-up spending intended to be added to the EU’s Horizon science programme was radically reduced compared with earlier proposals, and a “Just Transition Fund” to help poorer countries reduce their carbon emissions was cut from a mooted €30bn to €10bn.
  • Politico – David M. Herszenhorn / Von der Leyen laments ‘regrettable’ cuts in budget accord

The Economist / Trials of a vaccine and new drug raise hope of beating covid-19

  • In January, researchers at Oxford University started work on a vaccine for covid-19. Six months on, with more than 600,000 people dead, the Oxford team is leading a race to develop a vaccine that could halt the pandemic.
  • The vaccine has been raced into production around the world by AstraZeneca, a British-Swedish drug company, and billions of doses are planned. But two key questions remain: is it safe and does it work? 
  • According to Adrian Hill, director of Oxford’s Jenner Institute and one of the authors of the paper, the new vaccine stimulated a strong immune response and appears to be well tolerated and safe.
  • It generated both antibodies and “an excellent” T-cell response.  Dr Hill says that the antibody levels seen in the trial are similar to those observed in natural infections and that the T-cell responses are “very high”. 
  • The Atlantic – Derek Thompson / How long does COVID-19 immunity last?

The Washington Post – Annie Gowen / ‘A very dark feeling’: Hundreds camp out in Oklahoma unemployment lines

  • In the four months since the pandemic began, nearly 50 million workers have filed unemployment claims nationwide, a flood that’s overwhelmed some states, freezing antiquated computer systems and jamming websites and phone lines for days. 
  • Many have been struggling to get their regular unemployment benefits as well as the $600-a-week federal pandemic unemployment assistance passed in March that begins running out for millions of Americans later this week.
  • In Oklahoma, one of the poorest states, unemployment — which reached a record 14.7 percent in April — has pushed many to the point of desperation, with savings depleted, cars repossessed and homes sold for cash.
  • The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission staff has tried to combat the delays by holding mega-processing events at large arenas in Oklahoma City and Tulsa this month, with masks and social distancing required. So far, they’ve managed to help 6,200 people.
  • Financial Times – James Politi / Is the rebound in America’s economy already over?

Bloomberg – Maciej Martewicz / Europe’s green revolution takes on a resistant nation

  • The European Union’s most coal-reliant country has a controversial new strategy for its 400 billion-euro ($456 billion) green push: bulk up the Polish state oil company and let it lead the transformation.
  • Poland announced plans to build an energy champion with the financial heft to drive the overhaul by combining refiner PKN Orlen SA and gas group PGNiG SA.
  • It may soon find, however, that growing European reluctance to invest in companies selling fossil fuels means that adding oil and gas to the mix won’t necessarily make it easier to gain funding.
  • Even as financing the oil and gas industry remains a big business for banks, the trend is changing. While most European banks have withdrawn from funding coal projects, the European Investment Bank last year decided to stop funding all fossil fuel projects, extending its ban to oil and natural gas.
  • The Guardian – Gloria Dickie / Most polar bears to disappear by 2100, study predicts

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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.

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