The European Union leaders’ summit started on Thursday, and the second day’s agenda consists of COVID-19 response, post-Brexit commerce talks and local weather change
Brussels: As a recent wave of the coronavirus sweeps throughout a lot of Europe, the truth of the illness struck a summit of European Union leaders on Thursday when one of many 27-nation bloc’s prime officers deserted the assembly to enter self-imposed quarantine.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen left the summit venue in Brussels shortly after the assembly started as a result of certainly one of her shut staffers examined constructive for COVID-19.
“I myself have tested negative,” von der Leyen, a health care provider by coaching, tweeted. “However, as a precaution I am immediately leaving the European Council to go into self-isolation.”
In its newest replace on Thursday, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control stated that greater than 4.Four million circumstances of the virus have been reported within the 27 EU nations, plus Britain, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland for the reason that pandemic started. More than 198,000 individuals have died. Several nations are tightening preventive measures.
Images from contained in the venue, which is off limits to reporters, confirmed von der Leyen mingling with a number of different heads of presidency and officers, together with the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Portugal and the Netherlands, and the president of the European Parliament.
Like the others, she largely wore a masks besides when sitting, and seemed to be observing sufficient social distancing. The sprawling summit spherical desk was generously spaced, and some leaders could possibly be seen washing their fingers with gel as they entered. The traditional hugs and kisses so widespread final yr have been changed by elbow bumps.
French President Emmanuel Macron notably engaged in a close-contact discuss with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who can be representing Poland as a result of its premier, Mateusz Morawiecki is underneath quarantine after coming into contact with a coronavirus-infected bodyguard. A primary take a look at confirmed Morawiecki was not contaminated. He was to take one other take a look at later Thursday.
Tackling the virus — which was attributable to be debated on Friday — tense post-Brexit commerce talks with Britain, local weather change and EU-Africa relations have been the primary objects on the agenda.
“The debate on Brexit today required a physical presence and a number of leaders were in favor of a physical presence,” European Council President Charles Michel, who is chairing the two-day summit, told reporters. “We have to adapt in the case of COVID-19.”
“As far as the long run goes, we are going to systematically assess and have in mind the completely different components and seek the advice of the delegations about what one of the best ways of working is,” Michel stated.
Since the pandemic first surfaced in Europe in February, EU leaders have held a number of summits through videoconference. But they held their final assembly in particular person simply two weeks in the past. Officials say it is typically the one method to get actually delicate enterprise performed. However, not everybody was glad about touring again to Brussels so quickly.
“This summit should be held as a video conference. I have on several occasions proposed holding video conferences instead of meeting in person,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen advised reporters on arrival in Brussels. “There are some discussions where one needs to be brought a little closer to each other. And then there are other meetings where you can do it as a video conference.”
The query stays whether or not this is likely to be the final in-person assembly for some time if the coronavirus continues to unfold at charges not seen for months. The subsequent official summit in Brussels is scheduled for 10 and 11 December. On Thursday, the European Parliament stated its subsequent plenary session scheduled subsequent week within the French metropolis of Strasbourg could be held remotely.
Parliament President David Sassoli stated the virus has already contaminated quite a lot of EU lawmakers, staffers and their associates. “Traveling is very dangerous. The situation in Strasbourg is critical and in Brussels it’s very serious,” he stated.
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