Brussels Edition: Windfall on the way

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

The bonanza is coming. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will travel to both Portugal and Spain today as the EU’s executive arm approves the first batch of spending plans under the bloc’s pandemic recovery fund. But not everyone is invited to the party. The EU is temporarily freezing out 10 banks — including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Barclays — from the landmark bond sales that will fund the program as it punishes previous antitrust violations. Even without those big hitters, the first sale that started yesterday will see the bloc issue a record 20 billion euros, double what was initially indicated. Will the notes ever rival U.S. Treasuries as a haven asset? Klaus Regling, managing director at the European Stability Mechanism, told Bloomberg TV that international investors are “very happy with these bonds coming out of Europe.” - John Follain and John Ainger

What’s Happening

Five-Year Truce | In what President Joe Biden called a “major breakthrough,” the U.S. and the EU extended a tariff truce for five years, parking a clash over aircraft subsidies. This sets the stage for a new era of cooperation over state aid, as China seeks to displace the Boeing-Airbus duopoly. Watch our interview with Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis on the subject here. 

Biden-Putin | After hosting Biden, Brussels will be closely watching his first summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Geneva today. Expectations are weak, with Moscow and Washington agreeing that the relationship is at a post-Cold War low. White House officials expect the meeting to last up to five hours but don’t see any big policy announcements coming. 

Lagarde Tone | Christine Lagarde is getting tougher with the European Central Bank’s unwieldy group of 25 policy makers over the agenda for monetary stimulus. The strategy marks a change of tack for Lagarde, who took over in 2019 promising to listen first and build consensus.

Brexit Britain | Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.K. must end “burdensome” red tape built up as an EU member to reach its full potential. The government will consult across industry and civil society about changes to Britain’s regulatory framework, he said in response to a report he commissioned to look at areas where the U.K. can now benefit from setting its own rules. A Brexit opportunities unit will also be set up.

In Case You Missed It

Critical Minerals | Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and EU chiefs launched a partnership to secure supply chains for critical minerals and metals. The pact aims to shrink dependence on China, reduce environmental damage and create what Trudeau called “good, green jobs for the middle class.”

Piratical Aims | Dreadlocked, pacifist and a lover of psychedelic trance music, former software architect Ivan Bartos doesn’t come across as your typical Eastern European leader. Polls suggest the chairman of the Pirate Party could end up as Czech prime minister, ending the country’s alliance with Poland and Hungary over rule of law.

Sarkozy Campaign | Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy denied spending ran out of control during his failed re-election bid in 2012, as he made his first appearance at a trial over accusations he deliberately exceeded campaign-finance limits. The case is a symbol of infighting within the center-right party he used to lead. 

Zoom School | When pandemic lockdowns cut face-to-face contact, business schools — much like the companies they supply with newly minted MBAs — turned to video conferencing. The shift online has proved fruitful. Here are ways Zoom is going to stick around at B-schools for years to come.

Chart of the Day

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Real-estate prices around the world are flashing the kind of bubble warnings that haven’t been seen since the run up to the 2008 financial crisis. According to key indicators used in the Bloomberg Economics dashboard, New Zealand, Canada and Sweden rank as the world’s frothiest housing markets.

Today’s Agenda (All times CET.)

  • 11 a.m. Eurostat to present excess mortality metrics for April
  • 1:15 p.m. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell holds press conference on relations with Russia
  • 3:45 p.m. U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn speaks at the Brussels Forum
  • Commission President Von der Leyen in Portugal and Spain as it approves first batch of spending plans for EU’s recovery funds
  • Biden and Putin hold summit in Geneva
  • EU climate chief Frans Timmermans participates in the Transport & Environment conference “Road to Zero: Future of automotive industry”
 
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