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Week ahead: EU-US tech trade and tribulations



We don’t yet know the outcome of the German federal elections, but over the next week - and maybe weeks - we will see a new coalition government emerge. What variety of coalition is formed and what it will mean for the rest of Europe remains to be seen, but a growth model that is so highly dependent on exports, especially to China, will present very real challenges for any incoming government. 

Fiscal future

There does seem to be widespread agreement that Germany needs to invest extensively in renewing and updating its infrastructure, which could assist the EU’s discussions around the future of the “stability and growth pact”, which will be reopened for consultation. 



Tensions between the US and France over Australia’s withdrawal from a submarine deal with little or no notice to the French partners nearly scuppered the EU-US trade and technology meeting, instead the meeting is going ahead, but without a press conference. Australia decided to choose the US and - to a lesser extent - the UK over France which challenged diplomatic arrangements to breaking point - with France briefly recalling its ambassadors from the US and Australia.

The EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC) will meet for the first time on Wednesday (29 Septembter. The meeting provides a more formal platform to help alignment and address areas of common concern and will have ten working groups, including AI rules, semiconductors, export control, foreign investment screening and the nexus between trade, technology and security. There is a clear concern over China, and a recognition that this is a mutual concern for the EU and US. Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis will head to Pittsburgh to lead the EU side.


However, the EU and US have had their own complications over technology. Data protection, the Schrems judgements on Safe Harbour and its successor Privacy Shield on data sharing with the US have not yet been fully resolved. 

This week also sees the commencement of hearings in the EU’s top court on the Google/Alphabet challenge to the European Commission’s decision to fine them €4.34 billion for breaching EU competition rules - a decision that dates from 2018. The fine is largely linked to Google requiring manufacturers to preinstall Google Search on mobile phones.

The Parliament will hold a hearing at the start of the week on EU/US trade relations.


European Commission President von der Leyen will be heading to the Balkans this week, including planned visits to Kosovo and Serbia. The visit comes as Serbia has escalated its presence on its border with Kosovo. EU High Representative Josep Borrell issued a statement yesterday (26 September) calling for de-escalation and a return to EU-facilitated dialogue as the only platform to address and resolve all open issues between the parties. The chief negotiators for both sides have agreed to visit Brussels this week to discuss solutions. Borrell has also been in contact with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenber to discuss the co-operation with the NATO mission in Kosovo and its relations with EULEX. 

The Competitiveness Council will meet on 28-29 September, ministers will focus on research on Tuesday (A Global Approach to Research and Innovation, the European Research Area) and on industrial policy on Wednesday (the New Industrial Strategy and future-proofing policy making for the competitiveness of the EU).

The Parliament will meet for committee and group meetings this week. Among the most important issues will be committee discussions on the amendments to the Digital Services and Digital Markets Acts. The EP Conference of Presidents will meet with Vice President Maroš Šefčovič on the setting-up of an EU-UK parliamentary partnership assembly. 

Also on the Parliament’s agenda (and with courtesy of the Parliament):

ECB/Lagarde. Members of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee will quiz European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde on the state of the eurozone. Inflation, risks to price stability, disorderly market reactions after the pandemic and the review of the ECB’s monetary policy strategy are among the topics likely to be raised (Monday).

Revision of the trans-European networks for energy (TEN-E). The Industry and Energy Committee will vote on its position on the new EU guidelines for selecting the projects to be financed. The selected Projects of Common Interest should improve connection between national markets, secure supply and promote renewables. Financing of fossil fuels and hydrogen and carbon capture should also be addressed (Tuesday).

Budget control/FRONTEX. Following a decision by Parliament in April to postpone clearing of the accounts (so-called discharge) of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), the Budgetary Control Committee will vote on whether or not the discharge should be granted. MEPs needed clarification on a series of issues, e.g. delays in recruiting fundamental rights officers, gender imbalance, reported cases of harassment and meetings with lobbyists not on the EU transparency register (Monday).

European Public Prosecutor/Kövesi. Members of the Budgetary Control Committee will discuss with EU chief Prosecutor Laura Kövesi how the EU Public Prosecutor’s Office has fared in its first few months fighting against financial crimes. The Office’s workload, its lack of staff as well as the appointment procedures of the delegated prosecutors are likely to be raised by MEPs (Friday).

Rule of law/Hungary. A Civil Liberties Committee delegation will travel to Budapest to assess the situation regarding the rule of law, media freedom, the education system and minority rights. MEPs will meet, among others, the Mayor of Budapest, members of the Supreme and Constitutional Courts, the fundamental rights commissioner, NGOs and journalists (Wednesday to Friday).

2022 EU budget. The Budgets Committee will set its negotiating position on the EU budget for 2022. MEPs want the budget to support the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and lay the foundations for a more resilient Union (Tuesday).

European Citizens’ Panels/Conference on the Future of Europe. The European Citizens’ Panels will continue their discussions with the third 200-citizen meeting in Strasbourg. It will focus on climate change, the environment and health. The Panels will put forward recommendations that will feed into the Conference deliberations and ultimately into the report on its final outcome (Friday to Sunday).

2021 Sakharov Prize. The nominees for this year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought will be presented to MEPs in a joint meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Development committees and the Human Rights Subcommittee (Monday).

Plenary preparations. Political groups will prepare for the 4-7 October plenary session, where MEPs will discuss the future of EU-US relations and vote on resolutions on the humanitarian crisis along the EU-Belarus border and the Belarusian regime’s hybrid warfare against the EU, on the state of the EU’s cyber defence capabilities and on an EU-Taiwan partnership. They will also debate and vote on the use of artificial intelligence by the police, on how to meet the EU’s ambition for zero road deaths by 2050, on opportunities and security challenges in the Arctic, on the reform of the EU Asylum agency and on the EU trust fund and the facility to support refugees in Turkey.

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European elections

Germany’s far-left party eager to join coalition while others steer clear



Co-leader of the Left Party Susanne Hennig-Wellsow speaks at a press conference during a convent of Germany's left party 'Die Linke' in Berlin. Copyright  Credit: AP

While Angela Merkel (pictured) avoided political campaigning for much of the election, as it became increasingly clear that her party was trailing in the polls, she went after her centre-left deputy with an old attack line, writes Lauren Chadwick

“With me as Chancellor, there would never be a coalition in which the Left is involved. And whether this is shared by Olaf Scholz or not remains to be seen,” Merkel said in late August.

Scholz also had criticism for Die Linke -- the Left Party -- but stopped short of completely rejecting the possibility of a coalition with them. He told German daily Tagesspiegel the far-left party would be required to commit to NATO and the transatlantic partnershipIt’s now been a constant attack line from the Christian Democrats in what some say is a last-ditch effort to grab moderates on the fence between Merkel’s centre-right party and the centre-left Social Democrats, who are leading in the polls.

Voters see “behind” the attack line from the CDU, said Dr Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck at the University of Mannheim, as it is “so old hat".about:blank


Schmitt-Beck added it was a “sign of desperation” the CDU was resorting to this attack line once again as candidate Armin Laschet has failed to galvanise voters, polls show.

A possible governing coalition?

Although experts say a coalition involving the far-left Die Linke is not what Social Democratic leader Scholz wants, he is not likely to completely rule out the possibility.

That’s because if current polling is correct, the future government coalition in Germany will need to be formed with three political parties for the first time, meaning the Left Party has never been closer to receiving a possible spot in a coalition.


The party is currently polling at around 6% nationally, making them the sixth most popular political party in the country.

Die Linke party co-leader Susanne Hennig-Wellsow even told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in early September: “The window was as wide open as ever before. When if not now?” in regards to a possible coalition with the Social Democrats and Greens.

Many saw her words as demonstrating the party’s high hopes and preparations for entering government.

But while the current Left Party has become more mainstream since it was officially formed in 2007 - its direct historical ties to communism and hard-left foreign policy might forever keep it out of government.

Communist history and hard-line views

Die Linke was formed as a merger of two parties: the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) and a newer Labour and Social Justice party. The PDS is the direct successor of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, the communist party that ruled in East Germany from 1946 to 1989.

“There are many people in Germany who see this legacy as a big problem," said Dr Thorsten Holzhauser, research associate at the Theodor Heuss House Foundation in Stuttgart.

"On the other hand, the party has been de-radicalising for a couple of years or even decades now. It's shifted towards a more left-wing social democratic profile in the last years, which is also something that many people have recognised."

But Die Linke is quite polarised internally with more moderate politics in East Germany and more radical voices in some West German regions.

While a younger generation of voters is more connected to the social justice issues and hot political topics such as the climate, feminism, anti-racism and migration, other parts of the party appeal more to populism and compete with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), experts say.

The party currently has one state minister-president: Bodo Ramelow in Thuringia.

But some of the party’s hard-line foreign policy views make it an unlikely choice for a governing partner.

“The party always said that it wants to get rid of NATO, and it is a party that stems from East Germany, from a very pro-Russian political culture, a very anti-Western political culture, so this is in the DNA of the party,” says Holzhauser.

Die Linke wants Germany out of NATO and no foreign deployment of Germany’s military, the Bundeswehr.

“We will not participate in a government that wages wars and permits combat missions by the Bundeswehr abroad, that promotes armament and militarisation. In the long term, we are sticking to the vision of a world without armies,” the platform reads.

Die Linke also rejects treating Russia and China as “enemies” and wants closer relations with both countries.

‘Unlikely’ to join a coalition

“There is a chance. It's not a very big chance, but there is a chance (Die Linke could join a coalition)," says Holzhauser, yet traditionally the “scare tactics by Conservatives have been very strong at mobilising against a left-wing alliance”.

Die Linke, which used to poll ahead of the Greens and Alternative for Germany (AfD) could have a problem garnering support in the future, he said, as it becomes less of a populist party and more establishment.

“While in the past, Die Linke has been quite successful as a somewhat populist force that mobilised against the West German political establishment, nowadays, the party is more and more part of the establishment,” says Holzhauser.

“For many voters, especially in East Germany, it has successfully integrated into the German party system. So this is the flip side of the coin of its own success, that it is getting more integrated and established but at the same time it loses attraction as a populist force.”

On social issues, it's more likely to have similar demands to the Greens and Social Democrats, however, including a wealth tax and higher minimum wage. They are platform ideas that haven't come to fruition in the current SPD/CDU coalition.

But whether that means they will enter government remains to be seen, despite the perceived high hopes of the party's leaders.

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US-EU agenda for beating the global pandemic: Vaccinating the world, saving lives now, and building back better health security



Vaccination is the most effective response to the COVID pandemic. The United States and the EU are technological leaders in advanced vaccine platforms, given decades of investments in research and development.

It is vital that we aggressively pursue an agenda to vaccinate the world. Co-ordinated US and EU leadership will help expand supply, deliver in a more coordinated and efficient manner, and manage constraints to supply chains. This will showcase the force of a Transatlantic partnership in facilitating global vaccination while enabling more progress by multilateral and regional initiatives.

Building on the outcome of the May 2021 G20 Global Health Summit, the G7 and US-EU Summits in June, and on the upcoming G20 Summit, the US and the EU will expand cooperation for global action toward vaccinating the world, saving lives now, and building better health security.  


Pillar I: A Joint EU/US Vaccine Sharing Commitment: the United States and the EU will share doses globally to enhance vaccination rates, with a priority on sharing through COVAX and improving vaccination rates urgently in low and lower-middle income countries. The United States is donating over 1.1 billion doses, and the EU will donate over 500 million doses. This is in addition to the doses we have financed through COVAX.

We call for nations that are able to vaccinate their populations to double their dose-sharing commitments or to make meaningful contributions to vaccine readiness. They will place a premium on predictable and effective dose-sharing to maximize sustainability and minimize waste.

Pillar II: A Joint EU/US Commitment to Vaccine Readiness: the United States and the EU will both support and coordinate with relevant organisations for vaccine delivery, cold chain, logistics, and immunization programs to translate doses in vials into shots in arms. They will share lessons learned from dose sharing, including delivery via COVAX, and promote equitable distribution of vaccines.


Pillar III: A Joint EU/US partnership on bolstering global vaccine supply and therapeutics: the EU and the United States will leverage their newly launched Joint COVID-19 Manufacturing and Supply Chain Taskforce to support vaccine and therapeutic manufacturing and distribution and overcome supply chain challenges. Collaborative efforts, outlined below, will include monitoring global supply chains, assessing global demand against the supply of ingredients and production materials, and identifying and addressing in real time bottlenecks and other disruptive factors for global vaccine and therapeutics production, as well as coordinating potential solutions and initiatives to boost global production of vaccines, critical inputs, and ancillary supplies.

Pillar IV: A Joint EU/US Proposal to achieve Global Health Security. The United States and the EU will support the establishment of a Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) by the end of 2021 and will support its sustainable capitalization.  The EU and United States will also support global pandemic surveillance, including the concept of a global pandemic radar. The EU and the United States, through HERA and the Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, respectively, will cooperate in line with our G7 commitment to expedite the development of new vaccines and make recommendations on enhancing the world's capacity to deliver these vaccines in real time. 

We call on partners to join in establishing and financing the FIF to support to prepare countries for COVID-19 and future biological threats.

Pillar V: A Joint EU/US/Partners Roadmap for regional vaccine production. The EU and the United States will coordinate investments in regional manufacturing capacity with low and lower-middle income countries, as well as targeted efforts to enhance capacity for medical countermeasures under the Build Back and Better World infrastructure and the newly established Global Gateway partnership. The EU and the United States will align efforts to bolster local vaccine manufacturing capacity in Africa and forge ahead on discussions on expanding the production of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments and ensure their equitable access.

We call on partners to join in supporting coordinated investments to expand global and regional manufacturing, including for mRNA, viral vector, and/or protein subunit COVID-19 vaccines.

More information

Joint statement on the launch of the joint COVID-19 Manufacturing and Supply Chain Taskforce

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