Europe Daily Briefing: Ireland wins Euro-area finance minister race, Serbia scraps Covid curfew after protests, UK rejects EU va

10 July: Your round-up of the issues leading today's agenda

10 July: Your round-up of the issues leading today's agenda


  • Ireland’s Paschal Donohoe won the race to take over as the president of the informal but powerful group of euro-area finance ministers that will help to shape the region’s economic recovery, Bloomberg reports. Donohoe, 45, upset the odds to defeat the Spanish favorite Nadia Calvino and Luxembourg’s Pierre Gramegna. He will formally replace the outgoing Mario Centeno as leader of the group of the Eurogroup on July 13. The Irish finance minister had positioned himself as a centrist candidate, who could span the divide between more fiscally conservative northern European nations and southern governments pushing for looser rules to help combat the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

     
  • The Serbian government has scrapped a plan to impose a weekend coronavirus curfew in Belgrade after two nights of protests in the capital, says the BBC. Prime Minister Ana Brnabic announced more limited measures, including a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people. President Aleksandar Vucic had wanted the curfew due to a rise in infections.

     
  • The UK’s refusal to extend the Brexit transition period will add to obstacles facing virus-hit companies, the European Union said as trade talks between the two drag on, according to Bloomberg. “Inevitable disruptions will occur as of 1 January 2021 and risk compounding the pressure that businesses are already under due to the Covid-19 outbreak” regardless of the outcome of talks, the European Commission said in a memo on Thursday. “Inevitably, the fact that the U.K. will no longer participate in Union policies as of the end of the transition period will create barriers to trade in goods and services.”

     
  • The UK government has turned down the opportunity to participate in the European Union’s coronavirus vaccine programme due to concerns over “costly delays”. The EU plans to spend approximately €2bn (£1.8bn) on the advance purchase of vaccines that are being tested on behalf of the 27 member states. Negotiations with Brussels have been ongoing but Alok Sharma, the business secretary, is believed to have opted out of the opportunity, according to The Daily Telegraph.

 

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