19 June: Your round-up of the issues leading today's agenda
- European leaders on Friday will open negotiations over a proposed 750 billion-euro ($840 billion) program to help their economies rebound from the Covid-19 lockdown, with Germany and France pushing for a deal to be wrapped up next month, Bloomberg reports. At stake is a radical European Union plan to finance the recovery and tackle divergences in the region’s internal market that have widened as a result of the different national responses to the outbreak. The program, which needs the backing of every capital, would be funded by joint debt issuance in a significant step toward closer economic integration. And that’s one of the sticking points. Four fiscally hawkish nations including the Netherlands and Austria have been chafing at the idea that their taxpayers could wind up on the hook for spending in countries that were struggling financially long before the virus hit.
- As offices and shops in Britain start to reopen, most business executives and their workers would rather not return to work in the way did before the pandemic, a poll shows, according to Bloomberg. Accountancy and consulting firm Theta Financial Reporting’s survey of 2,000 adults also found that two-thirds of people aren’t comfortable commuting on public transport and 35% worry that going back to a traditional office will harm both their mental health and productivity.
- Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, has attempted to move away from homophobic rhetoric in recent days after attacks on “LGBT ideology” during his re-election campaign drew widespread criticism. Duda, who will travel to the White House next week aiming to receive a pre-election boost from Donald Trump just four days before the vote, made a campaign pledge to “defend children from LGBT ideology”, which he has claimed could be “even more destructive” than communist ideology.
- The Spanish government announced on Thursday a €4.25 billion plan to help the tourism industry recover from the fallout of the coronavirus crisis, El País says. The package comes at a crucial time for a sector that accounts for 12% of Spain’s gross domestic product (GDP). For the past three months, the sector has been paralyzed by the confinement measures and restrictions on travel, which were implemented in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.