25 May: Your round-up of the global issues leading today's agenda
- Bank deposits are surging across Europe as people respond to the economic and social upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic by saving more, fuelling fears among economists that consumers will not come to the rescue of the continent’s shrinking economy, the Financial Times says. Savings rates in four of Europe’s five largest economies rose sharply to well above long-run averages in March, according to recently published data from the European Central Bank and the Bank of England.
- From Monday, the Spanish regions of Madrid, Castilla y León and Valencia, as well as most of Catalonia and the provinces of Ciudad Real, Toledo, Albacete, Granada and Málaga, will all be in Phase 1 of the government’s descalation plan, El País says. Under this stage of the deescalation plan, building work in properties that are being lived in will no longer be prohibited, while the opening of shopping malls will be made more flexible. Stores in malls will be able to open provided that they measure under 400 square meters, or they demarcate an area of that size for customers. They will also require an independent, direct access point from outside of the shopping mall in which they are located.
- Brussels faces an entrenched split over ways to finance Europe’s economic recovery after a group of four northern member states rejected a Franco-German plan to issue EU debt to provide grants for Covid-19-stricken countries, the Financial Times says. The rift complicates the task of European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, who is due to present a 2,000-page proposal this week to harness the EU budget in the fight against the economic downturn. Von der Leyen’s plan is expected to include the possibility of issuing common debt to fund some €500bn of grants to help member states that have been hit hard by coronavirus.
- At least 107 people have been found to be infected with the new coronavirus after some of them attended Sunday services at a church in Frankfurt two weeks ago, according to German officials, highlighting the growing risk of new outbreaks of the virus as Germany loosens restrictions on public gatherings, The Wall Street Journal reports.