Financial Times – Guy Chazan, Leila Aboud and Clive Cookson / Rising European infections spark fears of resurgent pandemic
- Europe is experiencing a surge in coronavirus infections to levels not seen in months, in a development that is alarming health officials and sparking fears that the continent could be engulfed by a new wave of the pandemic this winter.
- Hans Kluge, regional head of the World Health Organization, said the pace of transmission across Europe, as well as Central Asia, was a “grave concern”, adding that the region was moving back to the “epicentre” of the health crisis.
- “Today, every single country in Europe and Central Asia is facing a real threat of Covid-19 resurgence, or is already fighting it,” he said. Germany on Thursday reported 33,949 new infections, its biggest daily increase since December.
- The number of Covid-19 patients being treated in its intensive care wards is the highest since May.
- Politico – Hellen Collis / Europe, at ‘epicentre’ of coronavirus pandemic, looks to booster shots
Euractiv – Fiona Harvey, Jillian Ambrose and Jonathan Watts / COP26 pledges could limit warning to 1.8C, says energy agency boss
- The climate pledges agreed so far at the Cop26 conference could keep the world’s rising temperatures to within 1.8C of pre-industrialised levels, according to the International Energy Agency – but only if the commitments are implemented in full.
- Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, told delegates at the conference that despite the pessimism ahead of the COP26 talks, a “big step forward” was possible if all the pledges set out to date were “fully achieved”.
- The highly influential energy watchdog analysed a string of commitments by global governments to cut emissions to “net zero”, combined with a major pledge to limit global methane emissions, and found that fully achieving the goals would slash global heating predictions from a rise of 2.7C set out before UN climate talks.
- The IEA’s forecast was also challenged by Selwin Hart, the UN’s assistant secretary-general for climate change, who warned that the official climate goals put forward as part of the UN’s nationally determined contributions (NDC) showed that the world is “a long way” from avoiding a catastrophic climate emergency.
- Financial Times / IEA warns Paris climate target at risk as US and China shun coal pact
Politico – Clea Caulcutt and Cristina Gallardo / French and British agree to ‘restart political dialogue’ on fishing rights
- A crunch meeting of British and French ministers intended to resolve a post-Brexit fishing row ended with a smiley handshake but no breakthrough.
- “We had a useful and positive discussion,” said France’s Europe Minister Clément Beaune after the meeting in Paris on Thursday. “The talks today marked the restarting of a political dialogue between France and the U.K. within the EU framework.”
- However, Beaune added that there “was still a lot of work and important differences of position” on fishing rights.
- U.K. Brexit Minister David Frost and Beaune met in the French capital for an hour and a half to review their countries’ bilateral relationship and various issues straining it in recent months, including a dispute over fishing licenses for French boats and post-Brexit trading rules in Northern Ireland.
- The Guardian – Lisa O’Carroll / Will the UK trigger article 16 – and what will happen if it does?
Haaretz – Noa Shpigel / Knesset passes state budget, stabilising Bennett-Lapid coalition
- The Knesset approved the 2022 budget Friday, giving Israel its first budget in over three years and cementing the political stability of the Bennett-Lapid government.
- The Knesset began the process of approving the 2021-2022 budget on Tuesday, and narrowly passed the 2021 budget on Thursday following a long overnight session.
- The budget for 2021 is set at 432.5 billion shekels ($137.8 billion), rising to 452.5 billion in 2022.
- “Tonight we got Israel back on track,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted after the vote. Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid said “We took responsibility. We fulfilled the promise. We passed the 21-22 budget for Israel and its citizens.”
- The Times of Israel – Tia Goldenberg / Netanyahu’s hopes for quick comeback dim as Bennett aces major budget test
Further reads for this weekend:
- Project Syndicate – Kenneth Rogoff et al. / The great COP-out?
- European Council on Foreign Relations – Alex Clark, Susi Dennison and Mats Engström / Climate of cooperation: how the EU can help deliver a green grand bargain
- Brookings Institution – Elaine Kamarck / 5 lessons from election night 2021
- Foreign Affairs – Daniel H. Rosen / Xi is running out of time