Brussels Edition: Distilling virus truths amid propaganda

Brussels Edition
Bloomberg

Welcome to the Brussels Edition, Bloomberg's daily briefing on what matters most in the heart of the European Union.

Misleading Covid-19 information online is the question for the European Commission today as it tackles what it calls the "powerful propaganda machines" of countries such as China and Russia. Commission Vice President Vera Jourova and foreign policy chief Josep Borrell have been working on a proposal that, while specific to the virus, is part of a broader move to rein in harmful or misleading content in general. Jourova has warned tech giants like Facebook and Twitter to step up efforts to stem the spread of disinformation, but wants more EU and international cooperation so as "not to allow others, such as China, to occupy the space."

— Ian Wishart and Stephanie Bodoni

What's Happening

All Change | Spain is likely to make a bid for a top euro-area post after Portuguese Finance Minister Mario Centeno said he would not seek to renew his term as president of the Eurogroup. Here's why Spain's Nadia Calvino is a strong contender and Madrid is likely to press her candidacy.

Left Hanging | Donald Trump's decision to withdraw more than a quarter of the U.S. troops stationed in Germany leaves Chancellor Angela Merkel exposed at a moment when she's facing growing pressure to get tough with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. It's the latest example of the U.S. President's ability to unsettle colleagues with unpredictable policy making. 

Scandi Noir | Could Sweden's biggest murder mystery be about to be solved? The prosecutor has recently started dropping tantalizing hints to suggest he may have figured out what really happened when Prime Minister Olof Palme was killed in 1986. Today, he'll reveal all.

Not Again | With the prospect of the U.K. and EU failing to get a deal on their future relationship by the end of year, we take a look at what that means for industries already struggling to cope with the pandemic.

Bloomberg Green | We have a new magazine focused on all things green. In the first issue, we look at how Disney tried to save a rainforest, why Australia's water is disappearing and investigate Microsoft's mission to go carbon negative.

In Case You Missed It

On Hold | The EU's efforts to soothe transatlantic trade tensions have stalled, according to the bloc's trade chief, who said the upcoming U.S. election means any breakthrough may be delayed until after November. Washington has "stepped back" in recent weeks from talks aimed at defusing a longstanding dispute over aircraft subsidies, Phil Hogan said.

Air Rescue | France unveiled a rescue plan to bolster planemaker Airbus and its financially-strapped suppliers with measures aimed at preventing massive job losses and underpinning aircraft orders. "We must save our aerospace industry," Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said, setting out a package worth about 15 billion euros.

Coming Together | Even though the EU's 750 billion-euro coronavirus recovery package is facing stiff headwinds from budget hardliners, Germany believes an agreement can be reached quickly. "Although there remain differences between various nations that are not small, I have the impression that everyone has the will to reach an agreement within a short time," Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said.

Swedish Exception | Sweden's finance minister said it was never the government's intention to adopt a relaxed Covid-19 strategy to protect the economy. Magdalena Andersson said her recent prediction that Sweden is now facing its worst recession since World War II still holds but added that "consumption has dropped less in Sweden than in other countries."

Chart of the Day

Germany's lockdown easing is showing up in the  latest data  for motorway traffic. Truck mileage increased a seasonally adjusted 6.1% in May compared with April, though it's down 7.3% from a year earlier. The Federal Office for Goods Transport and the statistics bureau cited a "strong connection between truck mileage and industrial production" as evidence of the short-term economic trend.

Today's Agenda

  • EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell holds videoconference with Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Gantz
  • The European Commission issues communication on disinformation in the time of Covid-19
  • OECD releases economic outlook

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