Delegation of the European Union 
to the United States


26/05/2020 - 05:59
EU Delegation to New Zealand - Newsletter

No 228, 27 May 2020

EUVP has been extended - Apply Now!

We have good news for everyone interested in the European Union Visitors Programme; the EUVP deadline has been extended to 2 June! We have extended the deadline to allow those hindered by the COVID-19 crisis ample time to prepare their applications. 

The EUVP enables young leaders, potential leaders, and professionals with career-related interest in the EU to obtain first-hand impressions of the Union's policies, Institutions and achievements and to increase mutual understanding between professionals from non-EU countries and their EU counterparts. 

The length of the EUVP visit is normally 5 working days in Brussels, though visitors with a political profile are invited to attend a 3-day plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg too, in which case the tour will last a maximum of 8 working days.  The programme consists of meetings with officials at the EU institutions in Brussels and where applicable, in Strasbourg and/or Luxembourg. 

For more information and application instructions visit our website here. 

EU Global Response raised EUR 7.4 billion

The EU Global Response was a great success. With the help of countries, international organisations, businesses, and individuals we have managed to raise 7.4 billion euros for the Coronavirus Global Response! 

We need new tests to rapidly diagnose the disease. These tests need to be accurate and easily accessible. We need new treatments to minimise symptoms in coronavirus patients, so fewer people have to go to hospital. 

Grounded in a vision of a planet protected from the devastating social and economic consequences of COVID-19, the European Union launched the landmark collaboration for the accelerated development, production and equitable global access to new COVID-19 health technologies. 

The European Union joined forces with Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom to host a pledging marathon – the Coronavirus Global Response Initiative – on 4 May 2020.  

For more information and the latest updates about the EU Global Response see here. 

HR/VP Borrell: The EU's changing relationships during the COVID-19 Crisis

The world is changing due to the COVID-19 pandemic; it forces people and countries to find new solutions to old problems and exacerbates existing trends. COVID-19 has shaped the changes in the EU’s security environment and its external relations, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is very likely to deteriorate the EU’s security environment in the years to come. Out of the videoconference between the European Ministers of Defence came one clear conclusion, health is now a security issue. The armed forces of the EU Member States have shown how valuable they are in assisting in the fight against COVID-19 in Europe by supporting citizens with medical, logistical, and security resources. To prepare for the future, the EU needs to improve its coordination to enable quicker and stronger responses and expand the capacities of the armed forces to assist citizens.  

HR/VP Borrell writes that COVID-19 is also affecting the evolution of the EU’s external relations, for example the EU’s relationship with China. It has changed from an essentially bilateral relationship with a focus on economic cooperation into a global relationship where deep cooperation co-exists with elements of sometimes open competition. At the outbreak of the virus the EU offered extensive support to China - without much publicity. Later on when the virus spread in Europe China sent large amounts of medical supplies – and it made sure the world knew about it.  

Read the HR/VP Borrell’s blog post on the evolution of European defence security cooperation here. Borrell’s op-ed on COVID-19's impact on EU-China relations can be read in several newspapers and on the EEAS’ website here.

Europe's Fight against Disinformation during the Corona Pandemic

New Zealand has recently experienced an upsurge in COVID-19 related conspiracy theories. This even led to the burning of telecom infrastructure, which threatens phone and internet coverage in Auckland.   

In Europe such theories have also been spreading like wildfire. These kinds of theories have been used by malicious individuals and countries to profit from the anxiety people experience in uncertain times. Some conspiracy theories include: the coronavirus originated in NATO biolabs, the corona pandemic is a plot by Bill Gates to implant microchips in the whole of humanity, or indeed the pandemic is a tool of mass control via 5G. The latter theory has led to attacks on cell towers in several European countries similar to those conducted in New Zealand.  

EUvsDisinfo – part of the EEAS – leads the EU’s fight against conspiracy theories by malicious actors. EUvsDisinfo’s core objective is to increase public awareness and understanding of disinformation operations, and to help citizens in Europe and beyond develop resistance to digital information and media manipulation. For more on the manipulation of conspiracy theories see this article of EUvsDisinfo. Stay up to date on disinformation in the EU here. 

Update ECHO support for Vanuatu after TC Harold 

Poverty fighting organisation CARE managed to deliver EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) funded emergency supplies to 570 inaccessible households via the helicopter last week in eastern and southern Pentecost. ECHO has provided CARE with the funds for shelter household and hygiene kits to communities affected by Tropical Cyclone Harold. As of 9 May aid from ECHO has helped assist 1200 families and 6000 people in Vanuatu with lifesaving relief supplies.  

Stay up to date on how ECHO helps CARE deliver humanitarian aid to those impacted by Tropical Cyclone Harold in Vanuatu via CARE’s Facebook. For updates on how the EU assists the Pacific cope with the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Harold follow the EU Delegation to Fiji’s Twitter and Facebook. 

Declaration by the High Representative Josep Borrell, on behalf of the European Union, on human rights in times of the corona pandemic

The pandemic and its socio-economic consequences are having a disproportionate impact on the rights of women, children and elderly persons, and on all persons in vulnerable situations, including refugees, migrants, internally displaced persons, and are deepening pre-existing inequalities.  

HRVP Josep Borrell writes that it is especially during trying times that we must ensure the protection of everyone’s Human Rights. The European Union recalls that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. This cannot be forgotten at this time of global crisis. We undertake to ensure that our response upholds the dignity and human rights of all without discrimination of any kind and call on all governments around the world to do the same.  

This is a time for solidarity and global cooperation through multilateral efforts. The European Union supports the important role of the UN system in mobilising and coordinating the global response to the pandemic with human rights at the forefront. We strongly support the UN Secretary General’s call for an immediate global ceasefire, as well as the call to end gender-based violence, and the work of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and her Office. 

Read HR/VP Borrell’s declaration in its entirety here.

EU Citizens' Dialogue: "The Role of International Trade in the post COVID-19 Recovery."

On 6 May, EU Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan held an online Citizen’s Dialogue on the theme: "The Role of International Trade in the post COVID-19 Recovery." In his address, Commissioner Hogan discussed the vital role of international trade in the EU’s post-COVID recovery and reflected on the steps needed to facilitate the continued flow of goods and to avoid long-term disruption to the European economy. 

Citizens' Dialogues are in the style of town-hall debates and were taking place across the EU. Now they are also held digitally. They contribute to the EU’s commitment to transparency by allowing citizens to engage with key EU leaders on what is happening in the EU. Come along, European Commissioners are listening!  

For more info on Citizens' Dialogues see here. You can see Phil Hogan’s Citizens Dialogue here.

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia

17 May was the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. HRVP Josep Borrell wrote on his blog about the people that still suffer discrimination and violence because of their identity and are unable to freely live and love according to their choice.  

He reflected on how far the world has come. From his own personal experience in Spain where the Franco regime persecuted homosexuals and other sexual minorities, to the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Spain in 2005. Nonetheless, as he puts it “we have to continue to fight for the right of every human person to be proud of who they are, to define their own identity and to choose to be with the ones they love.” Our common human rights are only secure of they are applied to everyone equally, LGTBQI+ are rights for everyone. 

That is why the EU has joined the UN and civil society organisations in this year’s theme of breaking the silence under the banner of “going rainbow”. The EU also remains one of the top donors worldwide to LGTBQI+ civil society organisations running programmes in Africa, Latin America, and Russia.  

Read EU HR/VP Josep Borrell’s declaration on IDAHOT here.

World Press Freedom Day

For World Press Freedom Day on 3 May the EU asked journalists from around the world the question: what if there was no journalism?  

For many journalists their work is about distinguishing right from wrong. During the COVID pandemic the need for correct information has taken on new urgency. As Maria Ressa, journalist in the Philippines, puts it, journalists work to avoid “lies becoming facts” and therefore to make “a difference between life and death”.  

Many journalists pointed out that press freedom, which guarantees the right of journalists to do their jobs without fear or interference, is under pressure. 398 journalists, citizen journalists and media assistants were imprisoned in 2019. 52 were killed.  

The European Union made freedom of the press one of its core values. But its actions only make sense if they can build on the work of engaged and courageous media, whose daily efforts make societies fairer, more democratic and safer. 

Read all the stories of journalists, photographers and media professionals from all over the world here. 

European Research Council Advanced Grant 2020 Open for Applications

The European Research Council Advanced Grant 2020 is now open for applications. If you are an active researcher with a track-record of significant research achievements in the past ten years you can apply to become a Principal Investigator to receive long-term funding to pursue a ground-breaking but high-risk project. Principal Investigators should be exceptional leaders in terms of the originality and significance of their research projects. Grants of up to €2.5 million for a period of 5 years may be awarded. An extra €1 million could be made available to cover eligible start-up costs.  There are no specific eligibility criteria tied to academic requirements.  

If you do not think you fill the criteria to be a Principal Investigator, don't worry there are more options for research projects in Europe. Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions are EU grants that are available for all stages of a researcher's career, including PhD candidates. EURAXESS Australia and New Zealand are organising a webinar to create a strong proposal for the European Postdoctoral Fellowship, part of the MSCA. The webinar is on 4 June 6-7PM NZ time.  

Recognise yourself in the profile above? Learn more about the application process here. For a comprehensive document covering all information for applicants see here. To register for the webinar click here. For the latest updates on EU funding opportunities for all disciplines follow EURAXESS Australia and New Zealand's Facebook here. 

The Europe Institute's COVID-19 blog: Is the Italian economy ready to re-start after the lockdown?

In the second instalment of the Europe Institute’s COVID-19 blogs, Institute member of the Europe Institute at the University of Auckland - Dr Stefano Riela – published this op-ed about Italy’s economic recovery after being amongst the countries hardest hit by the COVID pandemic. 

For those interested in European communities, the Europe Institute will be hosting a range of blog pieces focussed on COVID and its impact on European communities in the coming weeks.  

Read Dr Stefano Riela’s blog post here. Check the Europe Institute’s Facebook for more research on Europe. For the first op-ed in this series about Beethoven’s life and COVID-19 look here.

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