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Thursday, May 28, 2020

May 28, 2020
A digital PennDOT sign reminds drivers to "Continue Social Distancing" as cars and trucks travel on U.S. Route 22.   -   Copyright  Thomas Slusser/The Tribune-Democrat via AP

WHO launches Foundation to collect funds from non-traditional donors

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said work on the creation of the foundation started two years ago, stressing that "until now, WHO has been one of the few international organizations which has not received donations from the general public."

"One of the greatest threats to WHO’s success is the fact that less than 20% of our budget comes in the form of flexible assessed contributions from Member States, while over 80% is voluntary contributions, which are usually tightly earmarked for specific programmes.

"In effect, that means WHO has little discretion over the way it spends its funds," he added.

Boris Johnson answers MPs' questions on COVID-19 response

The British prime Minister speaks via video conference link before Parliament's Liaison Committee to answer questions concerning the Government's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dutch COVID-19 death toll rises by 15
The Dutch institute for public health and the environment (RIVM) said that the number of fatalities from the pandemic now stands at 5,871 after a one-day rise of 15.

Confirmed infections increased by 190 to 45,768.

More about the EU recovery fund

Commission plans to raise the money for the €750 billion recovery fund on the market by "temporarily lifting the own resources ceiling to 2.00% of EU Gross National Income";
Maturity for these bonds will be long term, "not before 2028 and not after 2058";
To repay this common debt, the Commission proposes the creation of new taxes such as a "C02 border tax" and "a new digital tax".

EU package is 'starting point for negotiations': Spanish PM

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the proposal unveiled by the EU Commission for a €1.85 trillion budget which includes €750 billion in recovery funds includes many of the country's demands and "is a starting point for negotiations".

"We should soon reach an agreement to have access to resources that will allow us to restart the economy and overcome the crisis," he added.

EU must respond in 'determined' manner to COVID-19 economic crisis: Von der Leyen

EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said the economic impact of the pandemic has not only hit severely-affected countries like Italy, Spain, and France but also countries dependent on tourism or whose economies relied on European and international value chains.

She added that as such, "if we do not act in a determined manner", economic divergences between member states will be exacerbated.

Von der Leyen argued that the package "is meant to deal with the present crisis while preparing for the future".

"Next Generation EU will therefore multiply the funding for the Just Transition Fund" to accelerate the transition into a greener and more digital economy.

"Achieving all this can only be done by raising outr game to a completely new level," she went on, stressing that the bloc ought to be "bold".

Denmark to look at recovery proposal 'in depth'

Contrary to southern European nations which have welcomed the EU Commission's proposal for a €750 billion recovery fund that would include €500 billion in grants funded by common bonds, Denmark has offered a more muted response.

Denmark, part of the group known as the "Frugal Four", said simply that it "looks forward to studying the EU Commission's recovery package in depth and hopefully soon reaching an agreement on MFF and recovery".

"Restoring economic growth is in everyone's interest and calls for a common strategy," it added.

Greece's Prime Minister: EU Council must "rise to the occasion"

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis took to Twitter to join his Italian counterpart in welcoming the EU recovery fund. He added that it is now up to the EU Council to make the "Next Generation EU" plan happen.

Italy's prime minister welcomes EU recovery fund

Italy's prime minister Giuseppe Conte tweeted in response to the presentation of the plan:

" This is an excellent signal from Brussels. It goes exactly in the direction indicated by Italy. We were described as visionaries because we believed in it from the beginning. 500 billion in grants and 250 billion in loans are an adequate figure. Now let's speed up the negotiation and free up the resources soon"
Poland: No more mandatory masks
The Poles will no longer be obliged to wear a protective mask starting this weekend. Instead they've been asked to maintain a distance of two metres in public spaces. This is the fourth stage of deconfinement for the country.

"There will be a general rule: in public spaces, if possible, you will have to keep a distance of two meters and the wearing of the mask will not be compulsory. If two people walk side by side it is always recommended to wear masks," Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said.

The stores will no longer be forced to limit the number of customers, nor the churches - all that only if people are able to maintain two metres distance.