Scholastic preparations, amongst others, to change current European COVID-19 measures

by RPP
Weekly European political updates

Scholastic preparations, amongst others, to change current European COVID-19 measures

Europe is a colourful continent in terms of policies and outcomes. It is essential to stay updated on how these policies may impact your work to build better regulatory frameworks, enhance your message and enhance communication with stakeholders. Here you can find a summary of the major European political updates of this week.    


United Kingdom 

The most recent focus in the UK has been the prospective reopening of schools at the start of September, and the specific public health measures necessary to accommodate their reopening. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reversed government policy to now stipulate that secondary school pupils in schools subject to local lockdown measures must wear face coverings in corridors. Schools outside local lockdown areas will be able to implement their own rules on face coverings and distancing, though the Department of Education will continue to recommend against using face coverings. The Scottish Government has mandated the donning of coverings in all secondary schools for all pupils over the age of 12, where social distancing is not possible.


The planned presentation of the €100 billion recovery plan by the French government has been postponed until next week, due to the current public health emergency related to the back-to-school situation. The objective of the plan is to the restore national wealth to pre-crisis levels by 2022.

In other news, French president Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have initiated discussions with the aim of presenting a common front on certain international issues, such as the €750 billion EU recovery plan, the reluctance to resort to national confinement as a pandemic response, and in other areas where the EU does not assume a position as the world leader. A divergence in opinion however was observed over the Greece-Turkey tensions, with Macron maintaining military presence in the region and Merkel preferring to defend stability and maintain dialogue with Ankara.


Health Ministers of the German states have questioned the feasibility of conducting COVID-19 tests free of charge to travellers returning from high-risk countries, considering that testing capacities will be stretched out as the winter season approaches. As things stand, said travellers must quarantine for up to 14 days until they receive a negative test result.

On the political front, a meeting with the Coalition committee (comprising representatives from the Christian Democratic Union [CDU] and Social Democratic Party [SDP]) on the 25 August debated the extension of the “reduced hours compensation program” (Kurzarbeit). The Minister of Labour, Hubertus Heil (SPD), attempted to argue in favour of an extension until March 2022, which was met with heavy criticism from members of the CDU who commented that it was too expensive for the long-term. A subsequent agreement was made between two parties to provide an extension for up to 24 months. The Coalition Committee also spoke about a change in voting rights, with proposals ranging from a reduction of seats in the German Parliament (Bundestag), a lowering of the voting age to 16 years of age, an extension of the electoral period from 4 to 5 years, and the launch of equal voting lists for men and women. It was decided to appoint a Commission to continue this debate before the upcoming elections in 2021. 


The first dose of the experimental vaccine against COVID-19 produced by Reithera, an Italian-based company, will be administered in a series of clinical trials. Funded by the Lazio Region and the Ministry of Research, this vaccine is based on a gorilla adenovirus, which aims to carry a sequence of genetic codes that instigates a reaction in human immune system and trigger it to develop antibodies. If the entire test phases work as planned, the vaccine might be ready in spring 2021.   


A meeting of the Council of Ministers on 27 August concluded that as of 15 September, the entire country will once again go back to a State of Contingency with the aim of preparing for the reopening of school and workplaces. The measures of this new State of Contingency will be presented on 7 September.  Until 14 September the country will continue as is, with most of the country being in a State of Alert and the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon in a State of Contingency.    

You can find more information on European news in our EU national elections heatmap, where we provide an overarching perspective with key political insight for individual countries. Make sure to check it here


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