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Brussels Edition: German double act

Brussels Edition
Bloomberg

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

Suddenly, the outlook for Europe might not be so bad after all. At least that's what markets currently think. The euro is enjoying its best rally in more than two years, benefiting from hopes that EU leaders will fall into line and sign off on a landmark recovery fund to help support some of the weakest economies. On the coronavirus front, too, the situation is looking far better than across the Atlantic, where the U.S.'s infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci warned that cases could hit 100,000 a day. Still, Europe's honeymoon with markets could come to an abrupt end if leaders fail to deliver later this month. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her compatriot, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, will give a joint press conference today and both know they have plenty of work to do.

John Ainger

What's Happening

Bond-Buying Backing | A broad coalition of German parties is set to vote today on a motion to back the ECB's bond-buying program, likely ending a standoff that was triggered by the country's constitutional court last month. It's part of a flurry of legislative activity before the summer recess, including coronavirus stimulus measures. 

Absolutely Not | ECB President Christine Lagarde said the economic recovery is likely to be a rocky one. Meanwhile, Chief Economist Philip Lane is battling back against the idea that the institution is trying to control borrowing costs in the region, saying it was "absolutely not" employing the policy known as yield curve control.

Piping Up | Merkel is standing ready to take action if the U.S. follows through on threats to kill off the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that President Donald Trump has assailed as a conduit for "billions" of dollars flowing to Vladimir Putin. Here's why the world is fretting about it.

Swedish Investigation | It's been one of the biggest controversies of the coronavirus and now Sweden's government is set to investigate why it didn't impose a blanket lockdown. So far, the policy's architect is standing firm.

Virus Update | Hopes are being reawakened that a swift vaccine is a realistic possibility. An early trial of one developed by Pfizer and BioNtech is showing that its safe and prompted patients to produce antibodies. Stock markets rallied in response. Here's the latest. 

In Case You Missed It

Unemployment Surge | Germany now has nearly 3 million people who've lost their jobs, a threshold not breached since 2011. But it could have been worse, with more redundancies prevented by the country's generous state wage support. It may need to be tapped even longer, with the Ifo institute cutting its expectations for a rebound. Here's the picture globally.

Americans Landing | As the Eiffel Tower gradually reopens from an extended shutdown, an essential segment of the summer tourist trade will be missing: Americans touching down in Paris on lucrative transatlantic flights. 

Climate Concern | A plan to include pollution from European transport and buildings in the world's biggest carbon market won't bring the emissions cuts needed to hit strict climate targets. But the region is still trying hard to do its bit, preparing to hand out 1 billion euros in aid aimed at helping companies shift to clean energy sources.

Putin's Power | He's already Russia's longest-serving leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, and President Vladimir Putin now won a resounding endorsement of his bid to extend his two-decade-long rule potentially to 2036, even as some polls show his approval ratings near historic lows.

Car Crash | The closure of a cluster of Nissan car factories is breaking an old industrial town near Barcelona. It could be a scene that plays out elsewhere as the push for electric cars makes more factories expendable.

Chart of the Day

The global tourism industry will lose at least $1.2 trillion this year amid crippling travel restrictions and consumer wariness during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report Wednesday from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. The losses, equal to 1.5% of the world economy, could balloon to $3.3 trillion if the hit to international leisure travel persists until March 2021.

Today's Agenda

All times CET.

  • 9 a.m. French senate European affairs and economic affairs committees joint hearing of EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski
  • 9:30 a.m. The EU's top court rules on a BlackRock/VAT case
  • 11 a.m. Group of EU ambassadors have roundtable with presidency trio of Germany, Portugal and Slovenia
  • 11:30 a.m. Meeting of the European Parliament Conference of Presidents
  • 4:30 p.m.  Merkel and von der Leyen hold a joint press conference
  • Brexit meetings continue in Brussels

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