The goal of Eni's High Performance Computing is to perfect and industrialize low carbon energy technologies developed in collaboration with research centers. Eni's efforts are helping to generate energy from waves and guarantee access to energy in remote areas thanks to light-weight and flexible organic photovoltaic panels
Facing the biggest economic crisis in the EU's history, the European Commission's president, Ursula von der Leyen, pulled out all the stops this week, unveiling an unprecedented plan to boost the union's post-coronavirus recovery.
The plan: The EU would go to international capital markets to raise 750 billion euros ($830 billion). 500 billion of that would be given to member states as grants to fund economic recovery over the next seven years; the remainder would be issued as loans to be paid back to Brussels. The EU would pay back its bondholders for the full 750 billion plus interest by 2058, in part by raising new EU-wide taxes on tech companies and emissions.
<p>Never before has the EU raised debt of this magnitude. But without it, von der Leyen warned, the EU would risk splintering into "haves and have-nots" – that is, countries that have the money to rescue themselves and those that don't. </p><p>Having-not, of course, provides fertile ground for Eurosceptic populists, particularly in the South and East, who already think the Union is a sham. </p><p><strong>But here's the catch.</strong> The plan requires unanimous approval from the parliaments of all 27 EU member states, and that's where things get interesting. Everyone agrees that this is a crisis without precedent, but there are several blocs of countries with divergent interests on how to respond to it. </p><p><strong>The "Solidarity" South.</strong> Countries like Spain and Italy, which bore the brunt of the pandemic's public health and economic impacts, love the plan. They are already highly indebted, which means they have less room to spend or raise cash of their own to reboot their economies. In their view, if the EU is really a "union," then it should show solidarity in a time of crisis. And solidarity right now is spelled C-A-S-H. </p><p><strong>The "Frugal" North.</strong> Not so fast, says a group of northern European countries known as the "frugal four" — Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, and Denmark. Their governments, which have relatively low debt levels and sound finances, oppose giving away so much of the money as grants – particularly to countries they worry are fiscally irresponsible — and they are wary of new EU-wide taxation powers. </p><p><strong>And then there's the East. </strong>Swift lockdowns contained the virus effectively in most former eastern bloc countries like Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, and the Baltics. But the economic hit has <a href="https://www.economist.com/europe/2020/05/28/eastern-europes-covid-19-recession-could-match-its-post-communist-one" target="_blank">been severe</a> as exports and tourism dry up. These countries, which also lack deep pockets, want to make sure they don't get overlooked in favor of the more visibly COVID-impacted southerners. </p><p>And there's an added twist for countries like Hungary and Poland, which have clashed with Brussels over recent <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-democracy-poland-hungary/next-eu-executive-wont-let-poland-hungary-off-hook-on-democracy-diplomats-idUSKCN1UD295" target="_blank">attempts to strangle civil society</a>: they don't want bailout money to come with EU demands on new respect for EU rules on democracy and rule of law. </p><p><strong>The Big Two: </strong>German Chancellor Angela Merkel has traditionally been wary of big bailouts, but last week shifted position and joined France in calling for a 500 billion Euro grant fund. That puts the support of the EU's two largest economies behind Ms. von der Leyen's proposal, just as the horse-trading begins. </p>
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Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal
"A lot of people are going to die until we solve the political situation," one Brazilian medical expert said recently when asked about the deteriorating public health situation in that country. For months, Brazil has been one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, steered by a President who has repeatedly dismissed the severity of the virus and rejected calls to implement a national social distancing policy. To date, two Brazilian health ministers have either resigned or been fired for pushing back against President Jair Bolsonaro's denialism. Meanwhile, Brazil has emerged as a global epicenter of COVID-19, with almost 27,000 deaths, though health experts believe the real toll is way higher. Here's a look at Brazil's surging daily death toll since it first recorded more than 10 deaths in one day back in March.
Watch GZERO World as host Ian Bremmer talks to acclaimed foreign policy expert Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of "The World: A Brief Introduction." Haass explains that while the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of life as we know it, the major issues confronting geopolitics in the 21st Century already existed.
<p>Bremmer and Haass discuss U.S./China relations, the weakening of the European Union, nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran, and the approaching U.S. election as unemployment soars into double digits.<br/></p>
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Hard Numbers: Thailand's plastic waste, 1 in 4 Americans are jobless, refugees in limbo, Europe's excess deaths
May 28, 2020
62: Southeast Asia is one of the world's largest sources of plastic waste, and Thailand is a big culprit. Before the pandemic, Thailand tried to address the problem by banning single use plastics, but that's fallen apart fast: in April, Thailand recorded a 62 percent increase in plastic use, due largely to increased food deliveries as coronavirus-related lockdowns keep people at home.
<p><span></span></p><p><strong>40 million:</strong> More than <a href="https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/28/coronavirus-weekly-jobless-claims-286911" target="_blank">40 million Americans</a> filed unemployment claims over the past 10 weeks, suggesting that around 1 in 4 US workers has gone jobless during the coronavirus crisis. As of April, the <a href="https://www.gzeromedia.com/the-graphic-truth-the-united-states-of-pandemic" target="_self">highest unemployment rates</a> were recorded in Nevada, Michigan, and Hawaii.<br/></p><p><strong>159,000:</strong> The World Health Organization estimates that since early March there have been <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-who-casualties/who-official-european-deaths-spike-since-march-linked-to-covid-19-idUSKBN2341K2" target="_blank">159,000</a> more deaths in Europe than is normal for this time period. The excess deaths include those known to have died from COVID-19, as well as people who may have struggled to get medical treatment because of the overwhelmed state of hospitals. </p><p><span></span></p><p><strong>10,000: </strong>Coronavirus travel restrictions have left about <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/kenya-coronavirus-lgbt-refugees-resettlement/2020/05/26/3550cd0c-83ef-11ea-81a3-9690c9881111_story.html" target="_blank">10,000 refugees</a> around the world unable to reach countries that agreed to resettle them before the pandemic, according to the International Organization for Migration. The IOM, a UN body responsible for finding refugees new homes, suspended all resettlement on March 17, leaving many ethnic and sexual minorities vulnerable to harassment and persecution as they wait in limbo.</p>
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