The first draft programme of Germany’s EU Presidency contains mainly empty wording. There are no concrete goals for the Green Deal, with new initiatives only in the case of hydrogen. The coronavirus pandemic is to blame. EURACTIV Germany reports.
2020 was supposed to be a momentous year for international climate policy. Firstly, the first cycle of the Paris Climate Convention will end, and Germany, like all signatories, must register increased climate targets before the end of the year. At the same time, the EU’s Green Deal is taking shape: numerous initiatives and strategies are seeing the light of day.
The German Council Presidency, set to begin in July, should have been particularly ambitious in terms of the environment.
The introduction of measures to contain the coronavirus means we are spending more time online, whether teleworking or surfing. Combined with anxieties caused by the crisis, this often results in unsafe online behaviour and cybercriminals are exploiting these weaknesses.
They use phishing, installing malware and other malicious practices to steal data and access devices, allowing them to do anything from accessing bank accounts to organisations’ databases.
The most common Covid-19 cyber-attacks:
Fake messages or links exploiting concerns, driving to malicious websites or including malware themselves, including news about miracle cures, fake maps about the spread of the virus, donation requests, emails impersonating healthcare organisations
Fake messages or calls purporting to be from Microsoft, Google Drive etc. trying to get hold of your login and password by offering “help” or threatening the suspension of your account
Fake messages about non-existent package deliveries
The European Commission is planning to present an updated multi-annual financial framework proposal on 29 April, as part of the recovery strategy to tackle the economic fallout of the coronavirus, according to an internal document seen by EURACTIV.com.
An updated MFF, the EU’s long-term budget for the period 2021-2027, is seen as a key tool to overcome the severe recession that the pandemic will cause in Europe, according to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
The head of the EU executive said early this month that “we all know that in this crisis we need quick answers and we cannot take two or three years to invent new tools” and that “the MFF is the strongest tool we have”.
For the former German minister, the MFF could be the fiscal stimulus needed in lieu of divisive ‘coronabonds’, a joint debt proposal backed by nine member states on sharing the costs of the recovery. A small group including Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Finland are against them.
According to an internal Commission document, the recovery strategy is scheduled for 29 April, although the date is still to be confirmed. It is set to include a communication with proposals to amend the draft MFF, initially put forward by the EU executive two years ago.
In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, two scientists from the Poznań University of Medical Sciences – prof. Michał Nowicki, PhD, and Piotr Rzymski, PhD – wrote an open letter to the academic world calling on the universities to proactively develop policies countering discrimination related to the virus.
The letter was published on 20 March 2020 by the prestigious Science Magazine in open-access mode and can be found on the webpage https://science.sciencemag.org/content/367/6484/1313.1/. It includes good practices that could be introduced by the higher education institutions to lessen COVID-19 prejudice.
The publication indicates among other things that the preventive measures taken by the universities should include transparency about the disease status, data gathering, and direction about appropriate behaviour, as well as issuing reassuring statements about the local COVID-19 situation.