The Brussels Brief

Future of Europe: Reason prevailed

Following a threat from the European Parliament to cancel the launch of the Conference on the Future of Europe, EU institutions agreed on a last-minute deal, and the Conference started on Europe Day. This Conference, which will spread over a number of months, will comprise of a plenary, made up of 433 delegates, from the EP, national parliaments, government representatives, representatives from NGOs and civil society, citizens’ envoys and representatives from the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.

While the European Parliament is keen to participate in this conference as it strives to push for treaty changes to obtain the right of initiative, Council on the other hand is somewhat cautious, fully aware of the effects of unkept promises.

Patents for COVID19

While the US President’s suggestion of waving COVID19 patents to facilitate vaccine production was met with some cautious approval from the European Commission, Germany poured cold water on the idea, fearing that such a move would transfer mRNA technology to China. While millions are struggling in India and other places due to the lack of vaccines, global actors are lost playing the same usual power games. A stark reality that geo-politics is all too relevant.

Meanwhile a vote might be in the pipeline on the patent waiver issue in the European Parliament.

EU disunity over China

Last week we reported on the likelihood that Hungary will oppose Council conclusions on China. Well it happened. Hungary opposed Council Conclusions on China due to what it perceived as strong language that was set to escalate tensions further.

Kurz in trouble

Do you remember the Austrian Chancellor who tried to cover for his own COVID19 inefficiencies by claiming thatMalta’s vaccination success was due to some underhand manoeuvres? Well he’s in the news again. This time, facing perjury and corruption allegations. More here.

EU Spring Economic Forecast

Some good news coming from the EU Commission after the bleakest months we have had in generations. The European economy will rebound in mid-2021 through 2022, and Malta is expected to do quite well after our economy contracted by a staggering 7% due to COVID19 pandemic.

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