EU Affairs Daily Briefing – 1 July 2020
Today we discuss aviation problems: jobs at risk and Pakistani airlines getting banned from travelling to EU. We discuss further coronavirus support packages and ponder how, now that Germany assumes the presidency, will the EU steer the economic recovery. Finally, in a surprise move, Maduro kicks out the EU ambassador.
EU ambassador is kicked out of Venezuela; EU High Representative responds
On June 29, the President of Venezuela announced that the EU Ambassador had 72 hours to leave the country. The Council of the EU Press Corner (Brussels) released a statement by the The EU High Representative who announces that “The EU firmly condemns this decision and profoundly regrets the further international isolation that will result.” The EU calls for the decision to be reversed. It is most likely that the Maduro regime wants to cut the ties with the EU after the bloc placed further sanctions on some of the Maduro government’s top officials.
As Germany begins EU Presidency, Angela Merkel travels to Brussels to meet MEPs
Germany now assumed the EU Presidency and has the difficult task of steering the EU economy through the recovery. Politico (USA) reports that one of Merkel’s first moves is to attend one of the first in-person plenary debates in the European Parliament to speak to the MEPs. The visit is expected to take place Wednesday July 8 — one week after Germany took over the Council presidency — and marks a step toward normal parliamentary activity. Meanwhile, Parliament is preparing to start the discussion — and the ratification process — on the EU’s next long-term budget in case leaders find a compromise during their first post-crisis in-person meeting on July 17 and 18.
The EU bans Pakistan’s national airline over suspected cheating in pilot licence
The EU Observer (Brussels) reports that The EU has banned Pakistan International Airlines, the national carrier, for at least six months after revelations 260 out of 860 pilots had cheated in tests but were given licences to fly anyway. Pakistan was “currently not capable to certify and oversee its operators and aircraft in accordance with applicable international standards”, the EU Aviation Safety Agency said. The cheating came out in an enquiry into an air-crash in May.
EU and South Korea discuss the strained relationships with North Korea
Yesterday (30 June) The EU led by Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission held a video conference with H.E. Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea as announced by the European Council Press Corner (Brussels). The meeting discussed a wide range of issues, but the center of attention feel onto South Korea’s relations with North Korea. The EU officials voiced support for South Korea’s “efforts to engage” with North Korea to “achieve peace and prosperity”.
After the summit, Charles Michel said the EU had big concerns about tensions in the Korean Peninsula and called on Kim Jong-un and the US to resume talks regarding the winding down of the North’s military programme.
ECONOMOY AND FINANCE
The Commission announces Dutch and Slovenian coronavirus compensation schemes
As the pandemic in Europe slowly subsides, the EU Reporter (Brussels) published that the Commission announced today two new support schemes. Under EU state aid rules, Slovenia will receive a €200 million compensation package to support large companies that suffered due to confinement measure introduced by the government to stop the spread of the virus. Today, the Commission also announced that it will provide €160 million to the Dutch government to compensate companies offering special transport services for specific groups such as children and elderly persons who are not able to take regular public transport to go to school or to certain social activities.
The Airline industry takes further hits with Airbus and EasyJet cutting jobs
The airline industry is arguably one of the worst hit by the global pandemic. The BBC (UK) now reports that both EasyJet and the aerospace giant Airbus will be cutting jobs. Airbus says it will cut 15,000 jobs as it deals with the effects of the coronavirus crisis. It will cut 1,700 jobs in the UK, along with thousands more in Germany, Spain and elsewhere.
The move is subject to talks with unions which have opposed compulsory redundancies.
The Unite union said the Airbus announcement was “another act of industrial vandalism” against the UK aerospace sector. Similarly, EasyJet, in order to cope with the losses plans to close bases at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle. The Unite union said nearly 1,300 UK crew members faced losing their jobs.