Brussels Edition: Seeking a coherent response

Brussels Edition

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

As Brussels returns from its summer break, and with coronavirus cases spiking across much of the EU, the bloc faces a familiar quandary: how to adopt a coherent cross-border approach when policies, interests and epidemiology vary so widely. EU envoys will today discuss how to better coordinate response measures in an effort to avoid the chaotic dissonance that characterized border management in the early days of the outbreak, disrupting travel and supply chains. Yet EU diplomats warn that as long as these measures remain a matter of national competence, agreeing on any common steps is bound to be a challenge — even putting borderless travel in question.

Viktoria Dendrinou and  Alexander Weber

What's Happening

ECB Pick | The next appointment to the ECB's Executive Board could be one of the most consequential for diversity in its history. Putting one more woman on the top team would make half the six-member panel female and place the institution on a global pedestal for progress and equality. Read more here about the selection that's coming up.

Green Talks | Europe is moving to a crucial stage of the debate over its green shift this month, as EU lawmakers make a series of decisions on climate policy from next week. At stake is the pace of cutting emissions in the European Green Deal as the bloc seeks to recover from the deepest recession in generations.

Wirecard Fallout | German lawmakers plan to start an in-depth investigation into Wirecard's collapse after key officials from Angela Merkel's government and financial watchdogs failed to put an increasingly political issue to bed. The Greens will back other opposition parties to start a full parliamentary probe, meaning several months of hearings that will keep the scandal in the public eye.

Green Bonds | Germany is selling its first green sovereign bonds, a market the nation could dominate by the end of the year. Europe's largest economy has mandated banks to sell the 10-year securities, which are likely to price on Wednesday, with the proceeds earmarked for environmental projects.

Troubled Waters | One thing that will keep Brussels busy for the time being is the showdown over energy resources in the Mediterranean Sea. Turkey yesterday accused the U.S. of violating the spirit of the alliance between the two countries by lifting an arms embargo on Cyprus, while Ankara and Athens continue to exchange barbs over maritime boundaries.

In Case You Missed It

Virus Update | Russia became the fourth nation to pass one million confirmed coronavirus cases, on the day when schools across the country reopened for the new academic year. European nations are facing a fresh wave of infections, with active cases rising in Spain and Italy, while Sweden may impose stricter policies to target local outbreaks. Here's the latest.

Going Negative | Consumer prices in the euro area are falling for the first time in four years, highlighting that a recent rebound in activity hasn't managed to offset the pandemic's profound impact on demand. While the ECB had warned that inflation would weaken, the negative reading will still sound the alarm for policy makers and a surging euro could further exacerbate deflationary pressure.

German Blow | Germany's hit from the coronavirus will be less severe than feared as the country reduces its traditional reliance on exports. Still, the latest growth outlook marks one of the worst recessions since the end of World War II, and the 2021 rebound is seen as less robust as the economy grapples with the impact of the pandemic.

OECD Hopeful | Sweden nominated Cecilia Malmstrom to be secretary general of the OECD, a job in which the former EU trade chief could find previous experiences useful. The U.S. and Europe have been seeking to address the issue of digital taxation through the OECD, but talks faltered amid U.S. threats of retaliatory tariffs.

Dutch Shift When the Dutch government invested in a home-grown chipmaker this summer, it was a departure for a country with a hands-off approach to business. While the decision was about retaining key technology, it's the latest example of a more defensive economic stance that has accompanied a hardening of the country's attitude to China.

Chart of the Day

As many as 132 million more people than previously projected could go hungry in 2020, and this year's gain may be more than triple any increase this century, as the pandemic disrupts food supply chains, cripples economies and erodes consumer purchasing power. Some projections show that by the end of the year, Covid-19 will cause more people to die each day from hunger than from the disease.

Today's Agenda

All times CET

  • 8 a.m. Marco Buti, Head of Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni's Cabinet, National Bank of Austria Governor Robert Holzmann, and the chief economists of Shell, the EBRD and the ESM speak at Bruegel annual event
  • 1 p.m. EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier addresses a webinar co-organized by the IIEA and the European Commission Representation in Ireland
  • 2:15 p.m. European Parliament's ECON Committee holds exchange of views with Olaf Scholz, Federal Minister of Finance and Vice Chancellor of Germany
  • Seminar of the College of Commissioners

  • The Director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Andrea Ammon, will brief the EU Parliament's Public Health Committee on the latest COVID-19 situation update

  • Frankfurt banking summit. Speakers include Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing and BaFin President Felix Hufeld

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