Brussels Edition: Green Deal in Sight

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

EU lawmakers are nearing an accord laying out the legal foundations of the bloc's Green Deal. Negotiators representing national governments, the European Commission and European Parliament are meeting today for what is widely expected to be the last round of talks on the final shape of the European Climate Law. It will make irreversible the EU goal to reach zero net emissions by the middle of the century and is set to deepen the bloc's 2030 carbon-reduction target to at least 55% from 1990 levels. The tentative deal, which will need formal approval from member states and the EU assembly, will then pave the way for a torrent of regulations in June to make every sector of the economy more sustainable. Along with the new standards on Green investing due to be unveiled by the Commission tomorrow (here's the draft), it's the latest sign that the fight against climate change will transform everything in our societies. 

What’s Happening
Merkel's Successor |
Armin Laschet early this morning won a vote by the leadership of Merkel’s party, boosting his bid to succeed her. The CDU chief received the backing of 31 out of 46 members of the party’s top committee in a ballot to determine who should lead the center-right bloc into September’s election. His rival, Bavarian State Premier Markus Soeder, won just nine votes with six abstentions. Soeder said Monday he would accept a clear vote in Laschet's favor.

German Challenger | Germany’s Greens, meanwhile, drew a sharp contrast yesterday to their bickering conservative rivals in the contest to succeed Merkel, proposing Annalena Baerbock as their candidate. The Greens are nipping at the heels of Merkel’s Christian Democrat-led bloc. 

Vaccine Passes | European Affairs ministers today will discuss progress in creating vaccine passes to ease travel for those inoculated or recently recovered from the virus. Still, not much should be expected before negotiations between the EU Parliament and governments conclude on the final shape of the new rules. Nonetheless, United Airlines is launching daily routes between the U.S. and summer spots in Europe, betting that Mykonos will be open for American tourists. 

EMA's Ruling | Hassle-free travel this summer is contingent on getting vaccinated. The EU's drugs regulator will give its guidance this afternoon on whether it's safe to roll out J&J's single-dose vaccine after rare cases of blood clots in a few people who got the shot halted shipments. The EU has been trying to partially offset the J&J and AstraZeneca vaccine setbacks through additional deals with Pfizer. 

In Case You Missed It
Investor Expectations |
As far as investors are concerned, the pandemic will soon be over in Europe and the latest wave of infections is more or less a last surge from a virus in retreat as vaccinations across the continent pick up. Here's what Goldman Sachs says about Europe's recovery. 

Football Stalemate | Where things are nowhere near a peaceful resolution is in European football (or soccer, as it's called in some parts of the world). A group of the world’s richest clubs, including Manchester United and Real Madrid, announced plans for a breakaway league starting in August, a project that could herald the sport’s biggest shakeup in decades and make elite teams even wealthier. 

Putin's Friends | Vladimir Putin may have lost one of his closest allies in Europe as Czech politicians unite against Russia and call for others to do the same. Meanwhile, Russian authorities moved opposition leader Alexey Navalny to a prison hospital after allies warned his health was failing in the third week of a hunger strike. Separately, the EU’s top diplomat said Russia’s military presence on the Ukrainian border has grown to more than 100,000, the largest ever buildup on the frontier between the countries.

Paris Club | The Paris Club, an informal group of wealthy nations that ruled global finance for generations, has seen its role as primary government creditor to the developing world being eclipsed by an ascending China. The pandemic offers its members a chance at renewed relevance. So will we always have Paris?

Chart of the Day
The aggressive rebound in global growth still isn’t enough for most of the world’s central banks to pull back their emergency stimulus. Read Bloomberg’s quarterly review of monetary policy covering 90% of the world economy.

Today’s Agenda
All times CET.

  • 10 a.m. European Affairs ministers hold video conference to discuss EU/U.K relations, vaccine passports and pandemic
  • 2 p.m. EU Commission holds Green tax event featuring ministers, lawmakers and EU officials
  • 5 p.m. EU drugs regulator gives guidance on the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine following assessment of rare blood clot risks
  • EU negotiators are expected to clinch tentative deal to make the bloc's climate-neutrality target for 2050 irreversible and toughen the 2030 emission-reduction goal
  • French judges will rule on a request from representatives of creditors including billionaire Roman Abramovich to lift the confiscation order on a French Riviera mansion worth about 100 million euros that once belonged to oligarch Boris Berezovsky
Ewa Krukowska and Nikos Chrysoloras