Ursula von der Leyen

Regional News • Europe • European Union
EU to propose draft for Covid-19 vaccination passport mid-March
EU to propose draft for Covid-19 vaccination passport mid-March
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

The European Commission plans to propose a draft for an EU-wide digital vaccination passport – the Digital Green Pass – on March 17, Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said Monday. The digital passport should provide information regarding vaccination status, test results, and prior Covid-19 recoveries.

"As for the question of what the digital green passport could look like: we will submit a legislative proposal in March," so von der Leyen.

Business • Health Care
EU orders up to 300 million more vaccine doses from Moderna
EU orders up to 300 million more vaccine doses from Moderna
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The EU has secured 300 million additional doses of Corona vaccine from the manufacturer Moderna. A second supply contract to this effect has been approved with the US company, said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. According to the company, an initial 150 million of these doses would be delivered in the third and fourth quarters of 2021. There is also an option for a further 150 million cans for 2022.

Last year, the EU Commission initially ordered 160 million vaccine doses from Moderna.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
EU Commission orders up to 300 million more vaccine doses from BioNtech
EU Commission orders up to 300 million more vaccine doses from BioNtech
Credit: Ashles Winkler for Pendect

The EU Commission has concluded a contract for up to 300 million more doses of the Corona vaccine from the Mainz-based company BioNtech and its US partner Pfizer. 75 million doses of this should be available as early as the second quarter of 2021, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in Brussels on Friday.

Back in November, the EU Commission ordered up to 300 million doses of vaccine from BioNtech/Pfizer for all 27 states - a firm order for 200 million doses and an option for 100 million more, which was recently pulled.

In Germany, BioNtech is currently working on a new production site in Marburg. If this goes into operation in February as planned, the company will be able to massively expand vaccine production.

Regional News • Europe
Post-Brexit trade deal agreed upon by UK and EU
Post-Brexit trade deal agreed upon by UK and EU
Credit: unsplash.com / Étienne Godiard

Both sides have confirmed a trade deal on Thursday afternoon. "The deal is there," the British government announced. EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and negotiator Michel Barnier announced a joint press conference. The agreement appears to have averted a harsh economic rift at the turn of the year.

The trade agreement is to regulate economic relations between the island and the continent from January 2021. The most important point is to avoid tariffs and ensure the smoothest possible trade. However, the agreement also covers fishing as well as cooperation on energy, transport, justice, police and many other issues.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
European Medicines Agency issues "positive scientific opinion" on BioNTech Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine
European Medicines Agency issues "positive scientific opinion" on BioNTech Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

The president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has announced via Twitter that the European Medicines Agency has "just issued a positive scientific opinion on the #BioNTech / @pfizer vaccine". She now expects that the European Commission will decide "by this evening" if the vaccine will be permitted.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
Covid-19: Germany hopeful of earlier EU vaccine decision
Jens Spahn
Jens Spahn Credit: Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

After the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced it would issue its decision on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on December 21, German Health Minister Jens Spahn, speaking at a joint press conference with the Robert Koch Institute, the government agency responsible for disease control and prevention, said the report was "good news."

A fortnight ago, BioNTech and Pfizer submitted an application to the EMA for conditional marketing authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine. President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that she welcomed the EMA's decision to bring the meeting forward.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
UK and EU agree to extend Brexit negotiations past Sunday deadline
UK and EU agree to extend Brexit negotiations past Sunday deadline
Credit: TPCOM (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

In a joint statement, the United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it was "responsible at this point to go the extra mile" and extend Brexit trade talks beyond a self-imposed deadline.

"We had a useful call with Boris Johnson this morning. We agreed that talks will continue," announced von der Leyen earlier Sunday.

The talks were initially extended until Sunday after Wednesday's meeting between von der Leyen and the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, billed as a "last-ditch effort," ended without an agreement.

Earlier this week, a joint statement by Johnson and von der Leyen cited three "critical" sticking points: fishing rights, the UK's ability to diverge on EU standards, and legal oversight of any deal.

Regional News • Europe
Brexit deal negotiations still without breakthrough

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced further Brexit negotiations after a telephone conversation. Von der Leyen explained in a TV statement that the talks would continue "despite major differences". These differences were on the three topics of fishing rights, guarantees for fair competition and the regulation of future relations.

The Brexit negotiations had been declared a top priority after the negotiators had failed to make progress on Friday.

Health
Moderna to apply for EU approval of Covid-19 vaccine
Moderna Logo
Moderna Logo Credit: Moderna

According to Moderna, the pharmaceutical company will submit its application for conditional market authorization for its new Covid-19 to the European Medicines Agency Ema on Monday.

The EU Commission has already secured up to 160 million doses of the vaccination according to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
EU's von der Leyen predicts Covid-19 vaccine for April 2021
EU's von der Leyen predicts Covid-19 vaccine for April 2021
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

Head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has stated that a Covid-19 vaccine could be available in April 2021.

"The big numbers of supplies are due to start in April," so von der Leyen, adding that up to 50 million doses could be delivered monthly.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin leaves EU summit as contact tests positive
Sanna Marin
Sanna Marin Credit: FinnishGovernment (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Sanna Marin, Finland's Prime Minister, will immediately leave the EU summit in Brussels, return to Helsinki to take a Covid-19 test and self-isolate.

Marin came into contact with Tom Packalenin, who has since tested positive for Covid-19, in the Finnish parliament.

The Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven will represent Marin for the rest of the summit.

On Thursday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen left the summit after a member of her team tested positive, entering voluntary self-isolation "as a precaution".

Regional News • Europe
Ursula von der Leyen in self-isolation after staffer tests positive for Covid-19
Ursula von der Leyen
Ursula von der Leyen Credit: Global Panorama (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, left a summit of EU leaders after an aide tested positive for Covid-19. The President is self-isolating as a precautionary measure.

In a post on Twitter, von der Leyen wrote: "I have just been informed that a member of my front office has tested positive to COVID-19 this morning. I myself have tested negative.

However as a precaution I am immediately leaving the European Council to go into self-isolation."

Regional News • Europe • European Union
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in quarantine
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in quarantine
Credit: European Parliament from EU / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has gone into quarantine following contact last Tuesday with a person who later tested positive, according to the Commission.

Von der Leyen was tested on Thursday with negative results, but had herself tested again on Monday. Von der Leyen had attended the summit of EU heads of state and government on Thursday and Friday.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
European Union announces legal action against Great Britain
European Union announces legal action against Great Britain
Credit: © European Union 2019 – Source: EP / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

The European Union is taking legal action against Great Britain for violation of the withdrawal agreement. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced that the EU Commission has sent a letter to the British government over the new British Market Act passed by the House of Commons which is intended to override parts of the already valid withdrawal agreement with the EU.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
President of the European Commission proposes stricter EU climate goals
President of the European Commission proposes stricter EU climate goals
Credit: European Parliament from EU / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has proposed stricter climate goals for the European Union in her first State of the European Union address. Following her proposal, 55 percent of emissions should be cut until 2030, compared to 1990.

Regional News • World
EU demands concessions from China before concluding investment agreements
EU demands concessions from China before concluding investment agreements
Credit: unsplash.com / Janine Meuche

The EU is demanding concessions from China before negotiations on the planned investment agreement are concluded. If an agreement is to be reached at the end of the year as planned, China still has a lot to do in the areas of market access and sustainable development, said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday evening after talks with China's President Xi Jinping.

The EU could already celebrate as a success that on Monday China signed an agreement on the mutual protection of geographical indications for food. Champagne, Feta cheese or also Parma ham will thus in future be among 100 European products that are protected in China against unauthorized imitation. Conversely, the geographical indications of 100 Chinese products such as Pu'er tea, Moutai schnapps or Panjin rice will also be protected in the EU.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
The UK admits bill to change Brexit agreement would "break international law"
European Flag at Downing Street
European Flag at Downing Street Credit: Frederick Tubiermont

The United Kingdom minister for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, announced to the Parliament Tuesday that the government would be willing to "break international law in a very specific and limited way" by ignoring terms of the Brexit agreement with the European Union.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Union Commission, said tweeted: "Very concerned about announcements from the British government on its intentions to breach the Withdrawal Agreement. This would break international law and undermines trust. Pacta sunt servanda = the foundation of prosperous future relations."

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated: "If the U.K. violates that international treaty and Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be absolutely no chance of a U.S.-U.K. trade agreement passing the Congress."