Brussels Edition: Brexit is back

As Europe returns to a semblance of normality, back comes Brexit onto the front pages as if nothing had happened

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

As Europe returns to a semblance of normality, back comes Brexit onto the front pages as if nothing had happened. Another round of negotiations starts today, the last one scheduled before a stock-taking summit, and each side is blaming the other for the lack of progress. 

While there are small signs of compromise on the significant issue of fishing rights, other topics ⁠— the level playing field to ensure fair competition, as well as how agreements are structured and governed ⁠— remain huge sticking points. 

"The U.K. has been taking a step back" from its initial commitments, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier told the Sunday Times. British officials responded by accusing the EU of using delaying tactics.

What’s Happening
World Burning |
Meanwhile, the world around us burns. Following the death of an unarmed black man in police custody in Minneapolis last week, riots have hammered U.S. cities still recovering from lockdown and President Donald Trump threatened to deploy the U.S. military. The Chinese crackdown on Hong Kong continues and the Sino-American trade truce is showing signs of crumbling amid an unprecedented global recession.

Virus Update | In brighter news, the easing of lockdowns in Europe hasn’t led to an uncontrollable surge in new cases ⁠— at least not yet. Some experts say the virus may have been weakened by the summer heat or may be mutating into a more benign form. Whatever the reason, the worst may ⁠— just may ⁠— be behind us, our columnist Lionel Laurent writes.

German Stimulus | German Chancellor Angela Merkel will seek to broker a compromise today on a second stimulus package to help Europe’s biggest economy recover from the deep recession caused by the coronavirus. Here’s a closer look at a range of measures being considered, based on discussions with officials and lawmakers.

Creepy Apps | Technology may allow companies across Europe to open more quickly and protect the health of employees as they try to rebound from lockdowns. It might also mean they end up in court. This is why.

In Case You Missed It
Bailout Precedent |
Lufthansa's bailout will be a precedent for Air France-KLM and other airlines that could force them to give up landing slots in exchange for government support to survive the pandemic, the EU’s antitrust chief told us in an interview. Watch Margrethe Vestager on Bloomberg TV here.

Austerity Shelved | Memories of harsh austerity in the wake of the global financial crisis are motivating Estonia to end what’s been the continent’s greatest aversion to borrowing. Read more about how the EU's least indebted state is now going on a spending spree.

Roma Plight | With growing evidence that the coronavirus is disproportionately hitting marginalized communities across the continent, Roma groups are fearful that old wounds are being opened up. This Roma community in "illiberal" Hungary is a case in point.

Czech Controversy | The Czech government approved a draft law that critics say may help obscure ties between the country’s billionaire prime minister and his business empire as he faces a conflict-of-interest probe. The allegations are the biggest political burden for Andrej Babis and have complicated the running of his minority administration since he won the 2017 election.

Today’s Agenda
All times CET.

  • 11 a.m. Press conference by EU foreign policy chief Borrell on the external action finance instruments of the proposed EU budget for 2021-2027
  • 2 p.m. German ruling coalition meets on stimulus package, including car industry measures
  • Video conference of EU sports ministers on resuming sports activities
  • European Parliament Agriculture Committee debates the revised EU budget proposal and its impact on farm policy funding with Budget Commissioner Hahn
  • Italian opposition including League leader Salvini plan demonstrations in Rome against the government’s handling of the economic reopening
 
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Total number of coronavirus cases announced by Cyprus authorities exceeds 1000, three new confirmed on Saturday
Cyprus authorities announced on Saturday three new confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases after conducting 1,699 lab tests. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 1,002.
 
One of the persons found positive is Apollon FC football player Djordje Denic, who arrived to the island from Serbia three days ago and underwent a test at the football team’s initiative. The football club issued a press release announcing that the football player tested positive.
 
The other two cases concern people who came into contact with other two confirmed cases announced on June 29 and June 30, as they work with them. The first person found positive, out of these four cases, had come to Cyprus from the US.  The tests for the two persons announced as positive cases today were carried out at the initiative of the company which employees them.
 
A press release issued by the Ministry of Health said that all three positive cases announced on Saturday were detected out of 329 lab tests carried out at the private initiative.  
 
Moreover no positive cases were detected from 157 lab tests carried out in the framework of the programme for checking 10,000 employees who went back to work during phase B and C of easing restrictive measures, from 24 lab tests completed as part of the contact tracing programme, from 834 samples taken from passengers and repatriates, from 97 tests carried out by the Microbiological Labs of  the General Hospitals and from 249 lab tests completed as part of referrals from personal doctors and special groups screening through the public health centres.
 
One patient is currently being treated at Famagusta General Hospital which is the Covid-19 Reference Hospital.

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