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The European Union is still divided over coronavirus assistance. That can separate them



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On Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will unveil his proposal to dig Europe out of a historic recession along with the European Union’s long-term budget plan. But deep divisions between member states still need to be bridged, increasing the risk that much needed assistance can be delayed.

This rift complicates efforts to get money quickly to the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, such as Spain and Italy, where anti-EU sentiment is increasing. The leaders warned that the future of the European Union could depend on what happened next.

The uneven recovery “will tear off our single market and establish significant political and financial tensions in the euro area and the European Union,” Mário Centeno, president of the European finance minister’s body, recently warned in an interview with the Greek political newspaper. “We will walk in a financial crisis. There is a lot at stake.”

Grants versus loans

The euro survived the debt crisis between 2010 and 2012, saved by massive EU bailout loans to countries such as Greece, Portugal and Ireland, and pledges by the European Central Bank to do “anything” to defend the currency.

Now, Europe as a whole is facing the worst economic shock since the 1930s, only a few countries will suffer more pain than others. The European Commission estimates that GDP in 19 countries using the euro will contract of 7.75% this year, record. The Italian economy could shrink by more than 9%, making it more difficult to repay debts of € 2.4 trillion ($ 2.6 trillion). The country’s debt to GDP ratio is 135% at the end of 2019.

As EU leaders struggle to provide more aid money, the big question is whether pandemic recovery funds should offer loans or grants to member countries. Using grants will require net contributors to the EU budget, including “Frugal Four,” to pay more. Relying on loans, meanwhile, will mean burdening heavily indebted countries like Italy with more obligations.

The breakthrough came last week when Germany and France propose creation from a € 500 billion ($ 549 billion) recovery fund. Under the proposal, the European Commission will borrow money to improve the economy and distribute grants to the hardest hit regions and sectors through the EU budget. Debts incurred to raise funds must be paid off over time, “but not by beneficiaries,” said French President Emmanuel Macron.

The Pitch marked a major change in Berlin’s position, underlining the severity of the crisis and changing the tenor of the discussion, according to Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, senior colleague at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

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“This is Germany realizing that Italy is not Greece,” Kirkegaard said, referring to the importance of avoiding the debt crisis in the bloc’s third largest economy. “If we have another asymmetrical recovery, then that will be very bad for the European Union and very bad for the German economy itself.”

Trade within the European Union accounts for nearly 60% of German exports.

The proposal still needs to be formalized by the European Commission, and not all 27 member countries. Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark seem united against the Franco-German plan.

But without Germany, their opposition seems thin, said Mujtaba Rahman, managing director for Europe at the Eurasia consultancy group.

“There is a big movement in most European capitals in recognition of the scale of the challenge,” Rahman said. “Obviously that’s what you don’t get from ‘Frugal Four.’ This effectively restated the old position. “

‘Very difficult negotiations’

Negotiations will begin in earnest after the European Commission reveals its framework this week.

Rahman expects the Commission to call for recovery funds worth € 600 billion ($ 654 billion) to € 700 billion ($ 763 billion), although the amount of key information can be reduced during talks. He thinks the proposal will include a mix of cheap loans and direct grants to try to bring more conservative Northern countries.

However, this is not the only problem that needs to be hammered with a budget of around € 1 trillion ($ 1.1 trillion).

Determining the European Union budget, which runs from 2021 to 2027, has been compounded by the fact that Brexit has blown up huge holes in financial block over the next seven years, said Guntram Wolff, director of Bruegel, a think tank based in Brussels. . Britain has become the second largest contributor to the European Union.

Member countries also need to understand how much money they will put in, whether rich countries will still get discounts, and importantly, the types of programs that the bloc will support. The pandemic complicates this issue, which has been debated.

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The timeline is tight. Getting aid to Europe in the second half of this year will require agreement between EU leaders in June or July, according to Rahman, followed by a strengthening vote in the European Parliament in early September. The lack of a busy summer tourism season is expected to hit Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece hard in the coming months.

Centeno, who also serves as Portugal’s finance minister, highlighted the urgency over the weekend.

“It would be better if we found an agreement on the main features of the Recovery Fund before the summer, to provide guarantees to our citizens, companies and markets, and increase the credibility of the EU response,” he tweeted. “That will be a very difficult negotiation.”

Political storm brewing

In recent days, political leaders have not shied away from overcoming the potential consequences of failure.

“We must show that what is not at stake is a national contribution from one or the other for the European budget,” said French Secretary of State for European Affairs Amélie de Montchalin in an interview Monday with Le Point magazine. “This is the vitality of an economic project that makes us prosperous.”

Many Italians feel that they are left alone to face the consequences of the pandemic, reinforcing the hatred that has accumulated after the 2015-16 migrant crisis, Enrico Letta, the former prime minister of Italy, said Friday.

“This is why, I think, it is very important to have a very comprehensive, fast and effective European response,” he told CNN Business, Richard Quest.

People walk through shopping marches in Milan on May 18.

If Italy and other southern countries experience a slower recovery than their northern neighbors, it will feed euroskeptic powers and political instability in the region, Kirkegaard said.

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In Germany, troubled companies have received substantial credit guarantees from the state, which means more will survive. In Italy, however, the risk of corporate defaults is increasing – underscoring the need for a more coordinated strategy.

“Unless you get a level playing field here, that will be a real problem,” Kirkegaard said.

And while Germany has come to provide grants, the country has not agreed to include capital guarantees needed to get aid funds before 2021, Rahman said. Such delays can be destructive.

The question of time, he said, was “the single biggest risk.”

– Pierre-Eliott Buet contributed reporting.

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Teodoro Obiang meets the Portuguese he saved from death | NEWS | DV



Teodoro Obiang meets the Portuguese he saved from death |  NEWS |  DV

Teodoro Obiang was received on Tuesday (28.06) at the headquarters of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), where, not to mention the process of abolition of the death penalty in his country, he promised to comply with all the necessary recommendations of the membership. by organization. .

“We are ready, we are organizing to fulfill all the conditions that all CPSG member countries demand,” the President of Equatorial Guinea said in press statements without the right to ask questions.

Accompanied by Zacarias da Costa, executive secretary of the CPLP, Obiang assured that Portuguese, considered a foreign language in Equatorial Guinea, is on the rise, mainly because many young people are already learning the language in schools.

“Portuguese will become the language spoken throughout the country,” he promised.

The President of Equatorial Guinea is in Portugal as one of the senior government officials invited to the United Nations Oceans Conference, which is taking place in Lisbon until 1 July.

The presidential delegation of Equatorial Guinea includes First Lady Constance Mangue, Foreign Minister Simeon Oyono Esono, and Mozambique Murade Muraga, former CPLP Executive Secretary, who serves as Obiang’s Special Adviser for the Portuguese Language.

Jorge Trabulo Marquez spent 38 days canoeing in the Atlantic Ocean.

The head of state of Equatorial Guinea held several bilateral meetings, including with the President of the UN General Assembly, Adullah Shahid; was at the International Craft Fair (FIA), this Wednesday will be received by his Portuguese colleague Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and will visit the Sanctuary of Fatima.

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“Obiang understood and set me free”

At the hotel where he was staying in Lisbon, Obiang received Portuguese journalist Jorge Trabulo Marques, who spent 47 years in prison in Malabo after 38 days of trying to cross the Atlantic by canoe from Sao Tome. . . .

Marquez says he was 30 years old at the time and it was Obiang, then supreme commander of the armed forces, who saved him from death.

“At that time, I was considered a spy because it was hard to believe that a European would sit in a canoe,” Jorge Trabulo Marquez told DW Africa.

“I was taken to Black Beach Maximum Security Prison and sentenced to hang. Five days later, while I was walking, the phone rang and it was Commander Obiang, the nephew of President Macias, who called me to his office to give the president a writ of execution.”

President of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Obiang receives journalist Jorge Trabulo Marquez in Lisbon.

Meeting between President Teodoro Obiang and journalist Jorge Trabulo Marquez on Tuesday (28.06)

But Obiang, then 33, went against the execution order for his uncle Macias Nguema.

“Thank God he was understanding, he was generous, he took my word for it and set me free. I was here today to thank him for life because I saw death before me. Every night I heard piercing cries; terror prison. Whoever entered alive, came out in a tomb.”

At this meeting, the journalist expressed his gratitude by offering a picture painted with a portrait of a man who saved his life in a country where the Castilian language prevails and where the death penalty has not yet been completely abolished.

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Portuguese DJ Narciso among the first advertisements of the Polish festival Unsound – Showbiz



Portuguese DJ Narciso among the first advertisements of the Polish festival Unsound - Showbiz

Musician DJ Narciso is the only Portuguese name in the first group of artists at Poland’s Unsound festival, which will take place in Krakow in October, the organization announced today.

The Portuguese DJ Narciso appears in the dance program of the festival, reminiscent of the organization that is part of the Príncipe publishing house from Lisbon.

Narciso created RS Produções in Río de Mouro, municipality of Sintra, in the middle of the last decade, which he shares with Nuno Beats, DJ Nulo, DJ Lima and Farucox.

This year he released the EP “NXE” with London’s Endgame by Chinese publisher SVBKVLT. According to a biography available on Bandcamp at the time of launch, DJ Narciso is “bringing together a new wave of artists from Kuduro from Lisbon, [sendo] one of the youngest members of Príncipe who helped redefine the genre.”

One of the most influential European festivals, which annually collects names from various musical fields and commissions works by contemporary authors, Unsound will present projects in Krakow in its 20th edition, such as the premiere of Osmium, which features Hildur Guðnadóttir. , Slater of Sam Blanket and James Ginsburg, who will play with singer Rulli Shabara on instruments made especially for the occasion, according to a statement from the event.

Polish cellist and composer Resina will join Frenchman Aho San in the Ego Death project, also curated by Unsound.

The Contemporary Spółdzielnia ensemble, in turn, will present “Vitriolum”, in which musicians interpret works on 3D-printed instruments “based on Carpathian flutes and ancient double reeds.”

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From October 9 to 16, Unsound will also host Oren Ambarchi, Johan Bertling and Andreas Verlin as Ghosted, as well as Japanese solo artist Phew and more.

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Portuguese deep tech fund raises over €32m for blue economy projects



Portuguese deep tech fund raises over €32m for blue economy projects

The fund’s first investment in the blue economy and climate action is in Fuelsave, a German cleantech company.

Faber, a Portuguese emerging technology venture capital firm, announces that its Faber Blue Pioneers I fund exceeded its initial target of €30 million to close at €32 million.

Southern Europe’s first venture capital fund focused on “deep tech” for ocean sustainability and climate change has already made its first investment in Fuelsave, a German cleantech company.

Announced late last year, Faber Blue Pioneers I is funded by institutional investors with an impact strategy such as the European Investment Fund (FEI) and Portugal Blue, Sociedade Francisco Manuel dos Santos (through its part of Movendo Capital), Builders Initiative (the philanthropic arm of Builders Vision, impact platform founded by Lucas Walton, dedicated to creating a more humane and healthy planet and with an investment strategy in the oceans), the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Champalimaux Foundation, as well as entrepreneurs Peter Reeve, co-founder of SolarCity, CEO of Aqualink and president of Sofar Ocean Technologies, and Pedro Bizarro , co-founder and chief scientist of Feedzai.

Thus, the fund completes its first closure with a core of investors who are in full agreement with the thesis of the fund, with sustainable and investment programs on a global scale in this area, accompanied by successful entrepreneurs who want to support and contribute to the sustainability of the oceans and climate action, which Faber hopes to leverage with additional investors to join the fund’s closed end by the end of 2022.

AI and climate and ocean data

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Faber combines a dedicated focus on early stage deep tech startups (pre-seed and seed) with thematic funds, teams and dedicated advisors who actively work with entrepreneurs to build global artificial intelligence (AI) and climate companies. and ocean data and technology.

The goal of the fund is to invest in a portfolio of 20-25 early stage companies that develop innovative high-tech solutions with global ambitions in areas such as blue biotechnology, food innovation, ocean clean-up technologies or the decarbonization of many industries. with a clear contribution to the achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goals 13 and 14.

The fund is managed by a dedicated investment team led by Rita Souza and Carlos Esteban (Partners) and Bruno Ferreira (Venture Partner) with extensive experience in investment, entrepreneurship and technology. The team will work closely with a network of experts, including strategic adviser Thiago Pitta e Cunha (CEO of the Oceano Azul Foundation) and scientific advisors Susana Moreira and Joana Moreira da Silva (science and innovation researchers at Ciimar), as well as with other scientists and industry representatives. experts.

At the time of the first closing, the specialized investment group (based between Lisbon and Barcelona) analyzed more than 600 start-ups from all over Europe, with a particular focus on those starting in the Iberian Peninsula or elsewhere. geographically and who are looking for a suitable partner to expand their activities in Portugal and thus take advantage of the conditions that the country offers to launch high-tech and innovative projects in the blue economy.

The fund’s first investment was in Fuelsave, a German cleantech company focused on the decarbonization of the marine industry, and Faber already has additional investments nearing completion and to be completed over the next few weeks.

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“We are proud to announce Faber Blue Pioneers I’s first major plan above the original goal with a remarkable group of investors who share our strong belief that science and entrepreneurs can accelerate innovation and have a positive impact on ocean and climate resilience. action. We are also very pleased to welcome Fuelsave to the fund’s portfolio as we believe its team will pave the way for the decarbonization of the maritime industry,” says Alexandre Barbosa, Managing Partner of Faber.

Faber is the first Iberian partner of 1000 Ocean Startups, a global coalition of incubators, accelerators, venture capital funds and other platforms dedicated to accelerating innovation with a positive impact on the oceans and supporting at least 1000 startups that are transforming the sustainability of the oceans, oceans and making a significant contribution to the Goal. United Nations in the field of sustainable development 14.

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