Brussels Edition: Merkel takes charge

Brussels Edition

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

Angela Merkel's government takes over the reins at the EU today for six months that will largely shape the Chancellor's legacy ahead of her expected retirement next year. She's pledged to do everything she can to wrest the EU from its gravest economic crisis amid the global pandemic. And that's not all: the EU, facing a rising Chinese superpower and an unpredictable U.S. under Donald Trump, has to find its own path in the shifting geopolitical landscape, while also sorting out an orderly new relationship with the U.K. The German leader, whose caution has slowed the pace of EU progress in the past, has promised to deliver on a big scale this time. We take a deep dive into the challenges of the German presidency of the Council of the EU.

Nikos Chrysoloras and Patrick Donahue

What's Happening

Italian Finances | Italy may have weathered a financial-market storm this year, but officials with an eye on the next crisis are already working on a new line of defense. The strategy involves enlisting citizens in the protection of the republic's finances.

Spain's Fate | Meanwhile, Spain's central bank warns the country could meet Italy's fate if it doesn't put its house in order. Major reforms to address longstanding weaknesses are needed, the central bank said. 

Transatlantic Rift | The EU's trade chief expects the transatlantic relationship to hit a rough patch that could soon result in higher tariffs on U.S. and European goods. The comments from Phil Hogan came after Donald Trump revisited his pledge to impose tariffs on European cars and an additional levy on exports from France.

Another Virus | A strain of flu virus spreading in Chinese pigs has shown it can also infect humans, suggesting that another pathogen with pandemic potential waits in the wings behind the coronavirus.

In Case You Missed It

War Crimes | Kosovo's president rejected international prosecutors' accusations that he engaged in war crimes in the conflict with Serbia more than 20 years ago, but said he'd step down if the charges are confirmed. The indictment against President Hashim Thaci in The Hague has cast a shadow on efforts to resolve a standoff with Serbia.

Apple's Troubles | The Apple executive in charge of the App Store in Europe said that the company's policies ensure a level playing field for developers and ease-of-use for customers, as regulatory scrutiny over the platform mounts. Apple faces antitrust probes in the EU and U.S. over rules it imposes on developers.

City Blues | Cities may become another victim of the pandemic. Early indications from London's housing market show that people want to buy a place in the less crowded countryside. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson became the latest leader to invoke a "New Deal" as he laid out his vision for rebuilding Britain's economy.

Irish Noir | Sean Quinn was once a billionaire folk hero, but then things turned very dark in the borderlands. Read this astonishing story of torture, terror, and revenge in the battle over a fabled Irish company. 

Chart of the Day

Airlines this week added the most seats since the coronavirus outbreak began, spurred by expectations that demand will increase during the summer and after safe travel corridors are created. Still, American and Russian travelers won't be allowed in the EU for at least another two weeks

Today's Agenda

  • Bundestag hearing on Nord Stream
  • 1 p.m. German Chancellor Merkel takes government questions in the lower house of parliament in Berlin
  • Brexit negotiations continue in Brussels
  • Germany takes over rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union

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