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Economic Dialogue with the European Commission on the 2020 Country Specific Recommendations

27-05-2020

V. Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for An Economy that Works for People, P. Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy and N. Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights have been invited to an Economic Dialogue on the launch of the 2020 Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs), in line with the relevant EU law. This briefing note covers the main elements of the 2020 CSRs as proposed by the Commission (Section 1) on 20 May 2020, the EU/EA level economic responses to the pandemic (Section 2), the ...

V. Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for An Economy that Works for People, P. Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy and N. Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights have been invited to an Economic Dialogue on the launch of the 2020 Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs), in line with the relevant EU law. This briefing note covers the main elements of the 2020 CSRs as proposed by the Commission (Section 1) on 20 May 2020, the EU/EA level economic responses to the pandemic (Section 2), the economic outlook (Section 3), the 2020 Euro Area Recommendation (Section 4), the implementation of 2019 CSRs (Section 5), and review of the European Semester and the deepening EMU (Section 6)

Coronavirus: The world in limbo [What Think Tanks are thinking]

26-05-2020

Most countries recovering from the first – and hopefully last – wave of the coronavirus pandemic are now in limbo. Confinement measures are being cautiously relaxed while short-term assessments on the impact of the virus on the economy and society are being refined. Meanwhile, analysts are now also looking at the medium- to long-term implications of the disease and also assessing the situation in the developing world, as well as in Russia, where, notably, they see the crisis working against President ...

Most countries recovering from the first – and hopefully last – wave of the coronavirus pandemic are now in limbo. Confinement measures are being cautiously relaxed while short-term assessments on the impact of the virus on the economy and society are being refined. Meanwhile, analysts are now also looking at the medium- to long-term implications of the disease and also assessing the situation in the developing world, as well as in Russia, where, notably, they see the crisis working against President Vladimir Putin. This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports from international think tanks on coronavirus and related issues. Earlier publications on the topic can be found in the previous item in this series, published by EPRS on 15 May.

Food trade and food security in the coronavirus pandemic

26-05-2020

The coronavirus pandemic has not only created a global public health crisis, but it has had a significant effect on the global economy and international trade. Measures to deal with the consequences of the pandemic while also affecting food trade have impacted on the world's food systems and have raised concerns for global food security. The EU is committed to keeping trade flowing and supply chains functioning, and supports international cooperation to promote food security.

The coronavirus pandemic has not only created a global public health crisis, but it has had a significant effect on the global economy and international trade. Measures to deal with the consequences of the pandemic while also affecting food trade have impacted on the world's food systems and have raised concerns for global food security. The EU is committed to keeping trade flowing and supply chains functioning, and supports international cooperation to promote food security.

EU export authorisation scheme for personal protection equipment

26-05-2020

In the midst of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the European Commission issued an implementing regulation requiring authorisations for exports of personal protection equipment (PPE), effective as of 15 March 2020 for a six-week period. A second implementing regulation extended the period for another 30 days. The latter reduced the range of products subject to authorisation to three categories, namely mouth-nose protection, protective spectacles and visors, and protective garments; gloves ...

In the midst of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the European Commission issued an implementing regulation requiring authorisations for exports of personal protection equipment (PPE), effective as of 15 March 2020 for a six-week period. A second implementing regulation extended the period for another 30 days. The latter reduced the range of products subject to authorisation to three categories, namely mouth-nose protection, protective spectacles and visors, and protective garments; gloves and face shields were dropped from the list. The authorisations are granted by national competent authorities, and must be coordinated with the Commission's new 'clearing house for medical equipment' and the rescEU stockpile of medical equipment in order to verify that the PPE being exported is not needed by other EU Member States in their fight against coronavirus. The export authorisation regulations are among the EU coordination and solidarity mechanisms implemented by the European Commission. A mapping of exports and imports of PPE subject to authorisation shows that, even though the EU runs a large trade surplus for medical products in general, it had been running trade deficits on these specific products for the last decade. The scale of trade in these products is also very small since imports represented as little as 0.05 % of EU gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019. This all goes to show how what amounts to a tiny portion of international trade can have dramatic consequences.

How digital technology is easing the burden of confinement

25-05-2020

The coronavirus pandemic is bringing an unforeseen acceleration in the digital transformation of societies around the world. This is the first pandemic in history in which digital technologies are being used on a massive scale to keep people connected while in isolation, allowing them to telework, follow online courses, shop online or consult health professionals from home. As a result, internet traffic has increased substantially since confinement began. According to EU Member States' national regulators ...

The coronavirus pandemic is bringing an unforeseen acceleration in the digital transformation of societies around the world. This is the first pandemic in history in which digital technologies are being used on a massive scale to keep people connected while in isolation, allowing them to telework, follow online courses, shop online or consult health professionals from home. As a result, internet traffic has increased substantially since confinement began. According to EU Member States' national regulators, operators have so far been able to manage this surge, while also introducing many exceptional measures, such as temporarily removing broadband data caps and making extra data and free online content available. The current crisis has highlighted the importance that upgraded telecoms networks and 5G will have for societies and economies. Furthermore, now that confinement has started to ease, it is increasingly clear that digital technology will continue to play a very important longer-term role in controlling the spread of the coronavirus. The scope of contact-tracing apps is likely to expand, and teleworking, telehealth and e-learning are likely to become more prevalent than before. However, the most popular digital apps, whether for e-commerce, social media, videoconferencing or contact tracing are not of EU origin, posing concerns for the EU's digital dependency, competitive advantage and data privacy. In fact, the coronavirus crisis has further consolidated the existing dominance of 'Big Tech'. The pandemic has further exacerbated existing issues; for instance, the digital divide has broadened further and there has been a global rise in cybersecurity incidents. The EU is poised to tackle these issues, while at the same time embracing the digital transformation in our lifestyles and allowing the internet to play a critical role in defeating the virus.

EU-China trade and investment relations in challenging times

25-05-2020

This report examines key aspects of the European Union-China economic relationship, including trade, investment and China’s key strategic project overseas, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). We conclude that China is, and will continue to be, a major trade and investment partner for EU countries. In this context, it seems clear that regardless of the direction of the United States-China relationship, the EU needs to explore options for fruitful co-existence with China. Trade continues to be the ...

This report examines key aspects of the European Union-China economic relationship, including trade, investment and China’s key strategic project overseas, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). We conclude that China is, and will continue to be, a major trade and investment partner for EU countries. In this context, it seems clear that regardless of the direction of the United States-China relationship, the EU needs to explore options for fruitful co-existence with China. Trade continues to be the least problematic aspect of the EU-China economic relationship, although challenges need to be dealt with in a number of areas. There is hardly any EU-China trade in services, and the value added of Chinese exports and competition on third markets is increasing. As for investment, although EU companies have built up more foreign direct investment in China than the other way around, Chinese investment in Europe is growing and has focused strongly on technology. This raises the question of whether the EU should fear losing its technological edge, especially when Chinese state-owned companies might distort competition, not only in China, but also overseas through acquisitions. Finally, we review the significance of the BRI from the European perspective. The BRI offers potential trade gains for Europe by improving physical connectivity with countries along the route to China, but it also poses challenges for the EU. The main challenge is China’s increasing soft power, which is being felt in the EU’s neighbourhood and even in a growing number of EU countries. A more united approach to managing the EU-China economic relationship is required to improve the bargaining power of EU countries when dealing with China.

External author

Alicia GARCIA-HERRERO, Guntram WOLFF, Jianwei XU, Nicolas POITIERS, Gabriel FELBERMAYR, Wan-Hsin LIU, Alexander SANDKAMP, Andreas FUCHS, Christoph TREBESCH

EU budgetary and financial response to the coronavirus crisis

20-05-2020

Within the limits of its powers, the EU has acted quickly to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences. Showing considerable flexibility, EU institutions have organised a package of measures (some already decided, others proposed or requested), to counter the crisis, drawing both on the EU budget and a wider economic package. Parliament is calling on the European Commission to propose a €2 trillion recovery package, distributed mostly through grants (over which Parliament will maintain ...

Within the limits of its powers, the EU has acted quickly to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences. Showing considerable flexibility, EU institutions have organised a package of measures (some already decided, others proposed or requested), to counter the crisis, drawing both on the EU budget and a wider economic package. Parliament is calling on the European Commission to propose a €2 trillion recovery package, distributed mostly through grants (over which Parliament will maintain scrutiny) rather than loans, and warns against the presentation of misleading figures. The recovery package should provide real funding to help those hardest-hit, and focus on climate mitigation, digitalisation and a new health programme. The Commission has committed to propose a comprehensive recovery plan, along with revised 2021-2027 MFF proposals, on 27 May 2020. In the meantime, France and Germany have suggested a €500 billion 'recovery fund'.

Coronavirus and international sanctions: Should sanctions be eased during the pandemic?

20-05-2020

The coronavirus pandemic has raised concerns that international sanctions may be exacerbating the risk of a humanitarian crisis. In March 2020, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called on world leaders to waive restrictions on food and medicines that are affecting the world's most vulnerable countries. Especially since the suffering caused by the international trade embargo against Iraq in the 1990s, the European Union has sought to design its sanctions for maximum effect at the least ...

The coronavirus pandemic has raised concerns that international sanctions may be exacerbating the risk of a humanitarian crisis. In March 2020, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called on world leaders to waive restrictions on food and medicines that are affecting the world's most vulnerable countries. Especially since the suffering caused by the international trade embargo against Iraq in the 1990s, the European Union has sought to design its sanctions for maximum effect at the least possible humanitarian cost. Usually it does this by targeting restrictions at key individuals or organisations, and in some cases sectors, rather than a country's economy as a whole. Critics of sanctions claim that US-imposed trade restrictions have prevented Iran from purchasing essential medical supplies needed to fight the pandemic. They also argue that EU and US sanctions make desperately impoverished Zimbabwe and Sudan even more vulnerable than they would otherwise be. Both the European Union and the United States defend their policies, but acknowledge the importance of humanitarian exceptions. Although the European Union has not said that it will lift any of its restrictive measures, it has offered various forms of support to several sanctions-hit countries.

Exceptional coronavirus support measures of benefit to EU regions

19-05-2020

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting the EU's regions in various ways. Although the virus has spread all over Europe, certain western EU regions have recorded relatively higher numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths. Most of the deaths from the virus have so far been particularly concentrated in certain Italian, Spanish and French regions. Healthcare systems in many EU regions are under tremendous pressure as they tackle the inflated needs caused by the coronavirus. What is more, the pandemic is also ...

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting the EU's regions in various ways. Although the virus has spread all over Europe, certain western EU regions have recorded relatively higher numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths. Most of the deaths from the virus have so far been particularly concentrated in certain Italian, Spanish and French regions. Healthcare systems in many EU regions are under tremendous pressure as they tackle the inflated needs caused by the coronavirus. What is more, the pandemic is also having a severe impact on the European economy. As many economic sectors have reduced their activities, the social and economic impact of the pandemic is likely to be felt in all EU regions. Although it is still too early to make concrete predictions, the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic could well further impede the social, economic and territorial cohesion of the EU by increasing the existing divisions between EU regions. The European Commission has put forward a number of proposals to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on EU territories. The European Parliament has been supportive overall of the Commission's proposals. It triggered urgent procedures in order to approve them swiftly so that EU citizens could benefit quickly from their positive impact. Actions under various EU funds and policy instruments are now geared towards health-related purposes and the reigniting of the economy. In these critical times, cohesion policy could be no exception to the rule and is being drawn on increasingly to provide emergency relief. A number of amendments to the regulation governing the European structural and investment (ESI) funds have been approved by Parliament in order to allow flexible use of the funds in addressing the challenges posed by the crisis. A number of additional regulations and policy instruments meanwhile complement the ESI funds in the fight against the pandemic's negative consequences. Local and regional authorities are at the forefront of the pandemic as they are often responsible for providing much of the emergency response. They can use the newly adopted EU measures to reinforce their coronavirus action and to support their economic sectors.

The economy and coronavirus - Weekly Picks 19/05/2020

19-05-2020

This paper provides a summary of some recent analyses of the macroeconomic effects of the coronavirus and some policy recommendations made in the public domain to mitigate these negative effects.

This paper provides a summary of some recent analyses of the macroeconomic effects of the coronavirus and some policy recommendations made in the public domain to mitigate these negative effects.