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COVID-19 Response EU Response EU Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

EU Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

by Simion & Baciu Law Firm June 12, 2020

Website simionbaciu.ro

  1. European Central Bank officials are drawing up a scheme to cope with potentially hundreds of billions of euros of unpaid loans in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-ecb-badbank-exclus/exclusive-ecb-prepares-bad-bank-plan-for-wave-of-coronavirus-toxic-debt-sources-idUSKBN23H0MV
  2. European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson has called for the lifting of all restrictions and controls at the EU's internal borders to fight the COVID-19 pandemic by the end of June. (https://www.agerpres.ro/politica-externa/2020/06/04/comisia-europeana-doreste-ridicarea-tuturor-restrictiilor-la-frontierele-interne-ale-ue-pana-la-sfarsitul-lui-iunie--517882
  3. The European Union intends to revise regulations in order to block the takeover of European companies by rival entities that benefit from subsidies wrongly granted by foreign governments. (https://www.hotnews.ro/stiri-international-24032742-financial-times-vrea-blocheze-preluarea-companiilor-comunitare-catre-entitati-controlate-state-terte.htm
  4. Austria opposes 750 billion euro plan for EU economic recovery, saying that it: "Puts too much burden on the Austrian taxpayer". (https://www.profit.ro/stiri/economie/austria-se-opune-planului-de-750-miliarde-euro-pentru-revenirea-economica-a-ue-pune-poveri-prea-mari-pe-contribuabilul-austriac-19377595
  5. The European Central Bank scooped up all of Italy's new debt in April and May but merely managed to keep borrowing costs for the indebted, virus-stricken country from rising. The data also showed the ECB hoovered up much more Italian debt than the country's quota would dictate while under-buying Germany. (https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/ecb-scoops-italys-debt-just-141335562.html?guccounter=1
  6. On March 4 the Commission proposed the European Climate Law, a proposal to enshrine in legislation the EU's political commitment to be climate neutral by 2050, and launched a public consultation on the future European Climate Pact. It remains to be seen how the interaction between the European Climate initiatives and the COVID-19 recovery plan will play out. (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_335 & https://cor.europa.eu/en/news/Pages/green-revolution.aspx)
  7. The Commission has proposed country-specific recommendations (CSRs) providing economic policy guidance to all EU Member States in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, focused on the most urgent challenges brought about by the pandemic and on relaunching sustainable growth. (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_901 & https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1578392227719&uri=CELEX%3A52019DC0650
  8. At a meeting of the European Battery Alliance on May 19, European Investment Bank (EIB) Vice-President Andrew McDowell, confirmed the Bank’s commitment to supporting a strong, independent European battery industry in order to boost a green recovery. (https://www.eib.org/en/press/all/2020-121-eib-reaffirms-commitment-to-a-european-battery-industry-to-boost-green-recovery
  9. Civil society organisations have been at the forefront of fighting the pandemic in Europe, often stepping in at a moment's notice to plug huge gaps in the public provision of social services and healthcare. Meeting remotely with the European Economic and Social Committee on May 12, they asked to be at the table with EU institutions and governments to help design a recovery plan for a sustainable Europe. (https://www.eesc.europa.eu/en/news-media/press-releases/covid19-civil-society-organisations-call-have-hand-designing-europes-recovery-plan
  10. The Council adopted on May 19 SURE, a temporary scheme which can provide up to €100 billion of loans under favourable terms to member states. The instrument enables member states to request EU financial support to help finance the sudden and severe increases of national public expenditure, as from 1 February 2020, related to national short-time work schemes and similar measures, including for self-employed persons, or to some health-related measures, in particular at the work place in response to the crisis. (https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2020/05/19/covid-19-council-reaches-political-agreement-on-temporary-support-to-mitigate-unemployment-risks-in-an-emergency-sure/ & https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/qanda_20_572
  11. The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU Securities Markets regulator, published a Public Statement addressing the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the half-yearly financial reports of listed issuers. (https://www.esma.europa.eu/press-news/esma-news/esma-calls-transparency-covid-19-effects-in-half-yearly-financial-reports
  12. The euro’s international role remained overall stable in 2019. This was one of the principal findings in the latest annual report on The international role of the euro, published by the European Central Bank (ECB). Overall, the euro remains unchallenged as the second most used currency globally after the US dollar. (https://www.ecb.europa.eu/pub/ire/html/ecb.ire202006~81495c263a.en.html#toc1)
  13.  The European Commission welcomes the provisional agreement reached by Parliament and Council on measures speeding up the completion of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) by simplifying administrative procedures. (https://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/infrastructure/news/2020-06-09-ten-t-simplifying-procedures_en &  https://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/infrastructure/ten-t_en
  14. The European Union is asking social networks (Facebook, Google and Twitter) to draw up monthly reports on how to combat false news. (https://www.biziday.ro/uniunea-europeana-solicita-retelelor-de-socializare-facebook-google-si-twitter-intocmirea-unor-rapoarte-lunare-privind-modalitatea-de-combatere-a-stirilor-false/
  15. Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic reopened their common borders on the 26th of May. (https://www.hotnews.ro/stiri-coronavirus-24018710-ungaria-slovacia-cehia-redeschidere-frontiere-comune.htm
  16. To keep freight moving during the pandemic, the European GNSS Agency (GSA) and the European Commission joined forces to launch the Galileo Green Lane app last month. (https://www.gsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/greenlane_backgrounder.pdf
  17. Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson and Europol Executive Director Catherine De Bolle opened the Europol Financial and Economic Crime Centre on June 5. The Centre will enhance the operational support provided to the EU Member States and EU bodies in the fields of financial and economic crime and promote the systematic use of financial investigations.(https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/europol-launches-european-financial-and-economic-crime-centre
  18. On 27th May the European Commission unveiled its proposal for the ‘Next Generation EU’ recovery plan', an emergency package of €750 billion financed by long-term EU borrowing to jump-start Europe's recovery over the period 2021-2024, in particular in the countries heavily hit by the COVID pandemics. With the emergency support programme of the European Central Bank (ECB), aimed at keeping cheap credit flowing to businesses, this is the most significant response by the EU to the economic fallout of COVID-19. (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_940)
  19. The Commission launches the second-stage consultation of European trade unions and employers' organisations on how to ensure fair minimum wages for all workers in the European Union. This follows the first-stage consultation which was open from 14 January to 25 February 2020, to which the Commission received replies from 23 EU-wide social partners. (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=PI_COM:C(2020)3570)
  20. The Commission proposed on June 3 modifications to its budget for 2020 to make €11.5 billion for crisis repair and recovery available already in 2020. Once available, the funds will go to help the regions most in need, support businesses and those in need outside EU borders. (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_997)
  21. The Commission proposed on June 2 to give the European Union the tools to react more quickly when a serious cross-border emergency such as the coronavirus strikes and affects EU countries at the same time. To do so, rescEU - part of the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism - will be significantly reinforced with €2 billion over 2021-2027 to create reserves of strategic equipment to cover health emergencies, forest fire outbreaks, chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear incidents or other major emergencies. (https://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/thematic/2020_rescEU_MFF_en.pdf
  22. The European Commission published on June 2 an inception impact assessment as well as an open public consultation inviting comments on exploring the need for a possible new competition tool that would allow addressing structural competition problems in a timely and effective manner. Stakeholders can submit their views on the inception impact assessment until 30 June 2020 and respond to the open public consultation until 8 September 2020. (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_977
  23. The Board of Directors of the European Investment Bank (EIB) has on 26 May agreed on the structure and business model of the new Pan-European Guarantee Fund to tackle the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Fund was endorsed by the European Council on 23 April as part of the overall EU Covid-19 response package. (https://www.eib.org/en/press/all/2020-126-eib-board-approves-eur-25-billion-pan-european-guarantee-fund-to-respond-to-covid-19-crisis
  24. Eurofound has launched COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, a new database collating and mapping the policy responses introduced in Member States, along with the UK and Norway, during this critical period.(https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/news/covid-19-eu-policywatch-new-tool-for-tracking-measures-to-mitigate-social-economic-impact-of-covid)
  25. The EU is adapting certain rules for different transport sectors to help companies and authorities cope in the extraordinary circumstances created by the coronavirus crisis. The Council adopted temporary measures enabling the extension of the validity of certain certificates and licences in road, rail and waterborne transport, and relaxing the rules on charging ships for the use of port infrastructures. (https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2020/05/20/covid-19-transport-measures-council-adopts-temporary-flexibility-for-licences-and-port-services/)
  26. Poland and Sweden are the only EU countries to have not yet passed their COVID-19 peak, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said. (https://www.euronews.com/2020/06/12/poland-and-sweden-are-the-only-eu-countries-who-have-not-passed-covid-19-peak-ecdc)
  27. EU's external borders should reopen from July 1, says European Commission. (https://www.euronews.com/2020/06/11/watch-live-eu-to-announce-plan-to-reopen-external-borders-from-july-1
  28. Coronavirus crisis reopens Schengen debate for Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria. (https://www.euronews.com/2020/05/20/coronavirus-crisis-reopens-schengen-debate-for-romania-croatia-and-bulgaria
  29. North Macedonia has reintroduced on June 4 tough restrictions on movement after a resurgence in coronavirus cases. (https://www.politico.eu/article/north-macedonia-experiences-new-spike-in-corona-cases/
  30. The German presidency of the Council of the European Union will make the granting of funds for post-pandemic recovery conditioned by the compliance with the rule of law, according to a draft document obtained by Reuters. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-budget-recovery-democracy/germany-hinges-eu-recovery-funding-on-democratic-values-idUSKBN23B1K4)   

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