Charlotte Street Partners

DAILY BRIEFING

DAILY BRIEFING

The EU's legacy conundrum

Written by Ralitsa Bobcheva, associate
Edited by David Gaffney, partner
11 May 2021

Good morning,

A month ago, the EU was still playing catch-up with other countries’ vaccination campaigns. Now, with enough doses to immunise the entire bloc and to give away to countries in need, the union is grappling with a very different set of challenges.
 
After a long, slow and at times embarrassing start, the bloc’s vaccination campaign finally began gathering pace in recent weeks.
 
In a push for a return to normality before early summer, some member states are setting up new centres and adopting quirky initiatives to encourage people to get the jab. In Romania, a vampire-themed campaign promotes a visit to the Dracula castle in Bran, now a Covid-19 vaccination centre. Those bold enough to visit are promised a vaccine, a special “Bran Castle vaccination diploma” and free access to the castle’s exhibition of medieval torture instruments.
 
While the EU’s vaccine rollout is making progress and its supply is expected to surpass demand in the upcoming months, leaders are already considering how to use excess dozes to enhance the bloc’s soft power in strategically important countries.
 
The Western Balkans was the first region to receive doses last week, but the donation came well after other political powers supplied shots. Having entered the vaccine diplomacy race too late, the EU found itself faltering on the international stage where Russia and China have for months been supplying struggling countries.
 
This impasse prompted several EU leaders to call for an urgent approval of a separate European vaccine-sharing mechanism on Thursday, in a bid to enter what has become a global competition.
 
However, for central European nations grappling with a third – and far more deadly – wave of Covid-19, the EU’s vaccine rollout is currently the only hope on the horizon. Perhaps the union’s best opportunities to leave a positive, lasting legacy lies within its current borders and not without.

News

Violent clashes over Jerusalem escalated last night after the Israeli military launched air strikes against militant targets in the Gaza Strip. The Hamas-run Palestinian health ministry in Gaza reported that 20 people, including nine children, were killed in the strikes. This comes after days of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police, prompting international concern that the situation could once again spiral out of control.
 
The Queen will set out the UK government’s new legislative programme today with a focus on education and home ownership. The list of planned laws for the new parliament includes proposals to bring in mandatory voter ID and a plan to pave the way to outlaw conversion practices targeting LGBT people.
 
Following preliminary studies, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified the mutation spreads first found in India last year as a “variant of global concern” in the battle against Covid-19. According to the WHO, the variant has already spread to more than 30 countries and it is currently trying to determine whether the variant is responsible for the deadly surge of cases in India.

Business and economy

Provident Financial has announced that it will close its doorstep lending business if it cannot find a buyer, in a move that will put 2,100 jobs at risk. The doorstep lending arm had been struggling even before the pandemic, but losses expanded dramatically in 2020 to £75m, according to financial resultspublished on Monday.
 
The UK economy will recover swiftly from the Covid-19 crisis but risks rising regional inequality and destitution for years to come, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research has warned. The think tank upgraded its growth forecast for the year to 5.7%, below the Bank of England’s latest projection of 7.25%. (£)
 
UK consumer spending jumped above pre-pandemic levels in April as the economy started to reopen, according to payment processor Barclaycard. Spending last month rose 0.4% compared with the same period last year, up from a 7.2% contraction in March and the first growth this year by that measure. (£)

Columns of note

In Bloomberg, Elisa Martinuzzi compares contrasting attitudes of big lenders towards future ways of working across the Atlantic. While in Europe, banks are gradually embracing a hybrid home-office model for employees, Wall Street’s titans are impatient to return to the office. So, which side is right? Martinuzzi argues that it is safer to bet on the latter. (£)
 
In the Financial Times, Gideon Rachman explores the link between rising geopolitical tensions among the world’s economic superpowers and the new trend for economic self-reliance. As an increasing number of countries embrace the new (old) fashion for industrial policy, Rachman reminds us of the reasons many abandoned the idea 30 years ago. (£)

Cartoon source: The Telegraph

Markets

What happened yesterday?

In London, the FTSE 100 closed the session down 0.09% at 7,123.68, and the FTSE 250 lost 0.34% to trade at 22,697.19. Sterling had a more positive day, meanwhile, last trading 1.11% advancing $1.4139 against the dollar, and gaining 1.06% on the euro to €1.1623.
 
Wall Street’s main indexes has a mixed day yesterday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing 0.86%, at 35,077.35, while the S&P 500 lost 0.01%, at 4,232.21 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.50%, at 13,546.59.

What’s happening today?

Finals
Air Partner
Angling Direct

Interims
Treatt
Zytronic

AGMs
Astrazeneca
Cairn Energy
Caledonia Min
Capita
Capital & Counties
Centamin PLC
Fidelity European Values
Gli Finance
HgCapital Trust plc
IWG    
Just Group
M Winkworth
Macfarlane Grp.
Gym Grp
Vector Capital

UK economic announcements
(00:01) Retail Sales

Int. economic announcements
(10:00) ZEW Survey (GER) – Current Situation
(10:00) ZEW Survey (EU) – Economic Sentiment
(10:00) ZEW Survey (GER) – Economic Sentiment

Source: Financial Times

did you know

In 1766, during a riot, the mayor of Nottingham was knocked over by an aggressively rolled wheel of cheese. (Source: @qikipedia)

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

State Opening of Parliament
The state Opening of Parliament will take place. The House will meet at 11.25am for the Queen’s Speech.

Debate
Debate on the Queen’s speech (Day 1)

Adjournment
Case for a national memorial of Dame Vera Lynn

House of Lords 

State Opening of Parliament
 
Motion for Humble Address

Scottish Parliament 

The Scottish parliament is currently dissolved following the 6 May election. The first meeting of the new parliament is expected to take place on 13 May 2021.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email