It is a small revolution in the former Soviet republic of Moldova. The first woman to take the presidency, Maia Sandu, 48, created a surprise, Sunday, November 15, by far ahead of the outgoing pro-Russian Igor Dodon, with 57.75% of the vote.
The pro-European candidate owes her victory to the record mobilization of the diaspora. Almost 258,000 Moldovans living abroad took part in the ballot and over 90% voted for it.
A reputation for incorruptibility
The daughter of a veterinarian and a music teacher, Maia Sandu grew up in Risipeni, a village in Soviet Moldova, before studying economics, law and international relations in the capital Chisinau.
Graduated from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2010, she worked at the Ministry of the Economy, then as an economist at the World Bank, in Chisinau then in Washington. Minister of public education between 2012 and 2015, Maia Sandu has forged a reputation for incorruptibility by installing hundreds of cameras in the baccalaureate examination centers to fight against the purchase of good marks.
According to the NGO Transparency International, the amount of bribes paid to education during the first two years of his ministry fell by 50%. Prime Minister for a few months, in 2019, Maia Sandu started an ambitious justice reform before being overthrown by parliament. The strengthening of the independence of the public prosecutor threatened the oligarchic system.
→ PORTRAIT. Maia Sandu, the incorruptible Moldovan
Maia Sandu campaigned on the theme of reforms to fight corruption, violations of the rule of law, poverty and emigration. In 2015, the country was rocked by a huge scandal, the disappearance of a billion dollars from the coffers of three national banks, the equivalent of 15% of the GDP. “Today you have the power to punish those who stole from you, who reduced you to misery and forced you to leave your home”, she said, Sunday, November 15, after having voted.
Between Russia and the European Union
In foreign policy, the president-elect wants to continue bringing her country closer to the European Union while maintaining good relations with Russia. For Moscow, which openly supported its rival Igor Dodon, recently received in the Kremlin by Vladimir Putin with a promise of financial aid, Maia Sandu’s victory is a failure.
Russian advisers had joined the outgoing president’s campaign team, according to independent media. Russia even accused the United States of orchestrating “A revolutionary scenario for Moldova”.
Before the second round, false rumors did not spare the pro-European candidate, an unmarried woman, accused of wanting to attack ” traditional values »Christian. The outgoing president repeated that the opposition candidate would close schools, liquidate town halls, block road repairs and “give” Moldova to Romania.
In the presidency, where she will be invested on December 23, Maia Sandu risks having limited room for maneuver, for lack of a loyal parliamentary majority. While waiting for probable early elections.
TIs Europe partly to blame for the once again enormous increase in deforestation areas in the Brazilian part of the Amazon rainforest? Paulo Barreto, head of research at the Brazilian Amazon Institute “Imazon”, is convinced: “There is more and more evidence of shared responsibility.”
Editor in the features section, responsible for the “Nature and Science” section.
At least 11,088 square kilometers of rainforest had been cleared within twelve months by the middle of the year, the evaluations of images from the environmental satellites of the Brazilian space agency INPE suggest. More than in twelve years. And Europe’s trade policy is now pilloried on many sides. In a current report by Imazon, the causal chain goes back to the beginning of the negotiations for a free trade pact between the Mercosur states in South America and the European Union. In the eighteen months since then, the Brazilian government has internally set the course for an unchecked and largely uncontrolled conversion of rainforest areas into agricultural areas. This is to be documented in a new study by Imazon.
Not only the Brazilian environmentalists and scientists are alarmed about this. Brazil is well on the way to not only completely pulverizing the climate laws enacted before President Jair Bolsonaro took office, the commitments made for the Paris Climate Agreement will also be wasted if the Amazon rainforests, which are elementary for the global climate, continue to shrink at the current speed .
When the negotiations with the EU began, forest scientist Paulo Barreto warned that clearing could increase, especially on the edges of the protected areas of indigenous peoples, if tariffs were to fall and more agricultural products were to be exported from Brazil to Europe. “Many of the deforestation are the direct result of the political negotiations between Mercosur countries and the EU,” writes Barreto, which could be shown in the Imazon study. “Even before us, two European studies by the London School of Economics in July and the ‘Commission Ambec’ set up by the French Prime Minister in September 2020 indicated that the treaty could have negative consequences.”
In the new report from Imazon, the currently most threatened rainforests are identified. Especially in the southern Amazon states Rondonia, Mato Grosso and Para – previously hot spots for illegal deforestation – the risks of further large-scale deforestation are greatest. The hotspots have therefore hardly changed, but the controls are becoming more and more lax, and the main victims for Barreto are primarily the indigenous peoples. Barreto fears for the future of the forests and the local population: “The failure of the negotiating partners to formulate clear rules for rainforest protection and anti-deforestation regulations in the trade agreements will lead to the Amazon deforestation doubling again.”
Olaf Scholz after the meeting of the European finance ministers. Image: Imago
The Eurogroup has formally strengthened the crisis fund. But the former rescue package is no longer unchallenged, there is criticism of the structure. Some want to abolish it, some want to “reinvent” it.
Dhe decision of the Eurogroup on Monday evening seems a little out of date: The euro crisis fund ESM is getting more powers. The fund, which saved several euro countries from over-indebtedness during the years of the euro crisis, played almost no role in the past few months despite the worsening of the corona crisis.
So far, no euro country wants to make use of the ESM credit lines decided in the spring, which could be used to finance health expenditure to combat the pandemic. Because there is an attractive alternative: the “Reconstruction Fund” decided by the EU Commission in the summer. The recipient countries do not have to repay the money from the fund. The ongoing dispute over this new fund and the new EU budget is bypassing the ESM.
INTERVIEW – Lawyer Sébastien Mabile and environmental MEP Marie Toussaint, specialized in environmental law, warn the government about a misleading presentation of two crimes far from ecocide.
The Ministers of Ecological Transition and Justice promise an “ecocide offense”. But in reality, it is a “general offense of pollution” and a “crime of endangering the environment”, far from the crime of ecocide proposed by the Citizen’s Convention for the Climate, as ‘say specialist lawyer Sébastien Mabile * and MEP Marie Toussaint. She launched an international alliance of parliamentarians in October for global recognition of this crime.
LE FIGARO. – Six months after the final report of the Citizen’s Climate Convention, Barbara Pompili and Éric Dupond-Moretti announced the creation of an “ecocide offense”. What do you think ?
Sébastien MABILE. – When the government speaks of “ecocide offense”, it is more of a communication approach, so as to say to the members of the Citizen’s Climate Convention “we have responded to your request to legislate on the crime of ecocide” .
In Greek, the term “eco” means “house”. The term “cide” means “to kill”. This is therefore associated with crimes: we speak of homicide, genocide, infanticide and femicide, even though there may be manslaughter which falls within the scope of the offense. The concept of ecocide assumes a deliberate desire to seriously damage the biosphere. Here, we are on a level much below, without there being this deliberate will.
Marie TOUSSAINT. – The definition of ecocide has been discussed since the 1960s within the international community. It is not that of the French government today. Its announcements are positive, especially the creation of specialized courts and the strengthening of the means of justice and environmental police. But the more I discover the contours of the text, the more I tell myself that we are more on an update of the 2008 directive which came at European level to frame the protection of the environment through criminal law.
The criminal law still puts humans above nature. He does not condemn the attack on nature itself, but the breaking of certain rules. For example, if you have a place to store hazardous products, meet all safety obligations, and the storage catches fire and damages ecosystems, nothing will happen. That is problematic. We cannot understand all the situations in which pollution can occur. We also delay the time of the potential trial to verify the violation. It makes everything longer. An autonomous sanction would prevent some companies from falling through the cracks.
Government suggests armed robbery is more serious in French society’s eyes than environmental damage
Italy adopted this type of crimes and offenses in 2015. For European networks of police officers, but also networks of magistrates and prosecutors, this can improve the concrete with a single rule applied. We need this form of revolution. Today, theft is a crime and armed robbery, even without injuries, is a crime. Symbolically, the government proposes in the status quo that an armed robbery is more serious in the eyes of French society than damage to the environment, no matter how serious.
What are these two offenses?
S. M. – The “general offense of pollution” already exists, in article L216-6 of the Environmental Code, in the form of “offense of water pollution”. It is now being extended to attacks made to the ground and to the air and we note the “quantum” of penalties (the importance of the sentence, NDRL) which are applicable. This offense is characterized by a material element which is that of the attack on the environment. It is based on the observation of a material fact of pollution, regardless of the behavior (fault of negligence, recklessness, etc.). As soon as there is pollution, the offense is established.
The second, the “offense of endangering the environment”, targets a behavior: that of exposing the environment to a manifestly serious danger, in the absence of damage. There, it is not a question of characterizing the pollution or the damage. This concerns natural and legal persons (individuals and legal entities, such as a company, Editor’s note).
Will they really make it possible to condemn natural and legal persons damaging the environment?
S. M. – They should allow it with the third part of the reform, which will be in open session from December 8: the creation of specialized courts. It is as important an element, if not more, from an operational point of view. From now on, we will have, both on the civil and penal level, judges better trained in an extremely technical and complex subject, aware of extrajudicial issues, on species and ecosystems. These magistrates will be helped by specialized assistants, such as veterinarians, biologists or ecologists.
This will make it possible to respond to a strong social demand, expressed by the Citizen’s Climate Convention. We have the impression that there is a kind of impunity in this area. We saw it with the Lubrizol fire. With the project of the Environmental Judicial Convention of Public Interest (CJIP), which already exists in matters of corruption, the amount of the fine could be increased to 30% of the company’s worldwide turnover and reach 2 or 3 billion euros, over and above the 10 million euros proposed by the Citizen’s Climate Convention.
France is updating itself from Europe as it prepares to take a step forward.
M. T. – These are advances. We tell them “let’s do that and let’s go even further with environmental damage and ecocide”. Emmanuel Macron is committed to supporting the recognition of ecocide at the international level. However, there is a commonly accepted definition on this scale. There would therefore be an enormous danger that France would go and lend its support with a different definition. I appeal a lot to ministers, this is what the citizens of the Climate Convention are doing too: do not use this term ecocide, because you are going to make it meaningless.
What worries me is that France is implementing the 2008 directive when we have important studies from the Council of the European Union and the European Commission which say that it is insufficient. We will be reviewing it in nine months. France is updating itself from Europe, with a lot of communication, as it prepares to take a step forward.
The EU has had the competence to recognize a crime since 2005. The Court of Justice of the EU has issued a judgment in which it pointed out that the EU can take decisions in criminal matters. In 2007, the Lisbon Treaty recognized this possibility, in article 83. The EU can regulate, but cannot define in the precision the procedures of the Member States.
We would also like to see the environmental competence added to the European public prosecutor’s office. It is currently being examined, at the same time as the creation of specialized courts.
Would the crime of ecocide be less effective?
S. M.- I am not a supporter of a crime of ecocide, with an assize court and criminal imprisonment. The stake is not to send a company manager to spend 20 years in prison, but that there are sufficiently dissuasive sentences so that others do not engage in this tort and that the damage is fully repaired.
On the other hand, adding it to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) would be quite relevant. In other countries, state or business leaders are part of a deliberate desire to destroy the environment. In the Amazon with Jair Bolsonaro or with illegal fishing on a very large scale. With this inscription, there could be an integration of ecocide in the same way as genocide or crimes against humanity. France would have universal jurisdiction to try this type of crime, transcribed into domestic law.
M. T.- We are fighting for this universal jurisdiction. The very serious attacks taking place outside our borders, even by a French company, would go unpunished even though they jeopardize our safety in France with the government’s plan.
An official request was made by Vanuatu and the Maldives last December. It would suffice for other states to validate this orientation, for a group of states to agree on a definition and present it to the vote of the General Assembly of the ICC which is held once a year. Each year, we have the opportunity to add the crime of ecocide to the Rome Statute. What is lacking is political will.
* Chairman of the IUCN France Environmental Law and Policy Commission
Rarely has a national legislative text aroused such an outcry inside and outside its borders even before its promulgation. After the associations of journalists, defenders of the rights of public freedoms and the UN, it is the turn of the European Union to vote on the proposed law on global security.
Through the voice of one of its spokespersons questioned by journalists, the European Commission argued on Monday 23 November that, ” like always “, she reserved “The right to examine final legislation in order to verify its conformity with EU law”.
→ ANALYSIS. Security, Emmanuel Macron’s new horizon
Led by the Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin, the bill must be voted on November 24 at first reading in the National Assembly. It plans – among other criticized articles – to heavily penalize the dissemination of non-blurred images of police officers in office. Faced with the controversy, the European Commission recalled the rules of the game: “When drafting their security legislation, Member States must respect the principle of proportionality and strike the right balance between ensuring public security and protecting the rights and freedoms of citizens, including the liberty of expression, media freedom, freedom of association, the right to respect for private life and access to information. “
European warning shot
“What poses a problem is that the terms of the law are very imprecise”, notes Annabelle Pena, university professor specializing in fundamental rights. « Through this “psychic integrity” invoked [dans le texte, NDLR], we can put anything. However, an imprecise law is a dangerous law for fundamental freedoms. “
On the basis of Article 11 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which defends freedom of expression and information, the European Commission can legitimately take up this issue.
If the law were passed, it could hold France to account. In this case, the so-called “failure to fulfill obligations” procedure would be initiated. The Commission would first open a dialogue with the government to ask it to change the law.
→ THE FACTS. Opponents of the “global security” law remain mobilized
If he refuses, the case could go to the EU Court of Justice. “If the Court finds there is a violation, the state is supposed to change what is causing the problem, explains Araceli Turmo, lecturer at the University of Nantes and specialist in European law. If he does not, there may be a second procedure with the imposition of a fine and financial penalty. It can take years… ”
Little chance of success
Tania Racho, a doctor of European law specializing in fundamental rights, doubts, however, that the Commission will succeed in bringing about such a procedure. “In infringement judgments they generally use other additional legal tools. It is new for the Commission to say to itself that it is using the Charter of Fundamental Rights like that. The EU has no power over human rights ”, underlines the lawyer.
Unless it invokes again Article 7 of the EU Treaty, as recently with Hungary and Poland, which is supposed to guarantee respect for fundamental values. In this case, the sanctions vote must be done unanimously minus one vote of the Member States in the European Council. A challenge.
→ READ. Rule of law: Poland and Hungary blockade
For Sébastien Maillard, director of the Jacques Delors Institute, it is also for the EU to reaffirm its authority at a time when it must fight to uphold the rule of law among these two recalcitrant members: “The Commission also needs to react to show Hungary and Poland, which are still being singled out, that there are no double standards. ” And to remind everyone, France included, of its role as guardian of the treaties.
EXCLUSIVE SUBSCRIBER LETTER – The European press review, by Édouard de Mareschal.
Joe Biden has promised to reconcile America, he will first have to reconcile two fringes of his own camp. Because the election did not calm the divide between the moderate Democrats and the left wing of the party, minority but very active, which would like to weigh in the future administration of the elected president.
This radical fringe is mobilizing, tell our colleagues from The world in a fascinating analysis. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a new progressive figure easily re-elected to Congress on November 3, denounces Joe Biden’s supposed ambivalence on the racial question. According to AOC, the president-elect did not talk enough about racism in the United States during the campaign. We must believe that his silence on the riots on the sidelines of “Black Lives Matter”, his denunciation of a “systemic” racism at the funeral of George Floyd or his presence alongside the family of Jacob Blake were not sufficient guarantees for the left wing of the party.
AOC also attacks it on the ecological ground
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Seldom has there been so much agreement in the Brexit negotiations. Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Monday that an agreement on a free trade agreement between Brussels and London would have to be reached “this week if possible”. His British colleague Dominic Raab had already said on Sunday that the “last really important week” was about to begin.
Really? From negotiating circles it was said on Monday that there was still little or no movement in the sticking points. The talks about future fishing quotas for EU fishermen in British waters are apparently completely deadlocked. The Brussels chief negotiator Michel Barnier repeated the proposal on Friday that the EU was ready to return 15 to 18 percent of its previous catch quotas to Great Britain. But the British chief negotiator David Frost rejected this as unacceptable; London is reported to claim 80 percent of EU quotas for fishermen in the UK.
For the British willing to leave, fishing rights are symbolic. It’s about regaining sovereignty
From the perspective of British Foreign Minister Raab, this is about nothing less than regaining sovereignty. “As an independent coastal state, we want to be in control of our own waters,” he told the BBC. He does not think that this is an unreasonable demand from the EU. While fishing only accounts for 0.1 percent of the UK’s economic output, it is a hugely symbolic issue for the Brexiteers. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson therefore has little scope for concessions.
On the EU side too, fishing is a highly emotional issue, especially in France. There, President Emmanuel Macron fears an uprising by fishermen if he does not succeed in keeping the fishing quotas in British waters reasonably stable. Apparently there are considerations in Brussels and Paris to leave the EU quotas unchanged in the waters of the English Channel; instead, those in the Irish Sea could be reduced. In this way Macron could ensure that at least the French fishermen would not be worse off. However, it is questionable whether Johnson would respond.
If there is no commercial contract by the end of the year, customs duties and controls will be introduced
In contrast to the topic of fish, there should be movement on another key topic. At least that’s what the British government claims. Foreign Minister Raab spoke of a “landing zone” that was in sight at the so-called level playing field, that is, with specifications for fair competition between companies in Great Britain and the EU. Ireland’s Foreign Minister Coveney did not want to confirm this on Monday, but underlined the need for an instrument to resolve disputes.
The time for an agreement is becoming increasingly scarce. At the turn of the year the Brexit transition phase ends, during which Great Britain is still part of the EU internal market and the customs union. If it is not possible to conclude a trade agreement by December 31st, customs duties and controls will be introduced from January onwards. Both sides want to prevent such a no-deal scenario, but not at any price.
Politics comes between claim and reality. Little was left in her first budget of the announcement of a huge “Green Deal” with which Ursula von der Leyen began her EU presidency a year ago. The “Green Deal” was supposed to protect the climate and at the same time be a growth engine for the Union. The new EU budget for 2021 to 2027 comprises around 1.1 trillion euros. A record budget, if you take the UK’s exit into account.
Subsidies for agriculture remain the largest item: 356 billion euros. It’s a tradition. After all, the share that flows into the agricultural sector has melted: from 38.8 percent to 33.2 percent. There has been criticism of the “Common Agricultural Policy” (Gap for short) since it was introduced in 1962. Almost each of the 27 member countries today represents its own interests. Every tenth Pole still works in agriculture. Finally, all three EU institutions – the Commission, Parliament and the Council of Ministers – have to find a compromise.
Critics complain primarily about two points: industrial agricultural companies, for example in eastern Germany, are given an advantage over traditionally small farms in Bavaria, for example; and overall, agricultural policy is not geared enough towards ecological goals. Three quarters of EU agricultural funds will in future go as direct payments to farmers, hardly less than before. The most decisive factors are the size of the area that a farm cultivates and the number of animals. A large dairy farm can make payments in the millions, while a small organic farmer who cares for the landscape in the Black Forest only receives a few thousand euros.
Friedrich Heinemann from the Center for European Economic Policy (ZEW) finds the result “extremely disappointing”. Once again, the “vested interests” prevailed. A courageous shift of the budget in the direction of real European public goods had not succeeded. A quarter of the EU budget is already being »wasted« with direct payments to large farms. The so-called structural aid with which economically weaker regions are to be helped are also controversial. A large part of the money that the Federal Republic pays into the EU budget flows back to Germany through these programs, above all to the eastern German states and North Rhine-Westphalia.
The European Parliament has made minor corrections, with slightly increased budgets, including for research, health and the student exchange program »Erasmus«. “In addition, Parliament was able to prevail on the issue of nature conservation financing,” praised the environmental organization Nabu. In addition to the vague goal of spending 30 percent of all EU money on climate protection in the future, there will now be an independent quota for biodiversity from 2024. This is the first time that a binding goal is anchored at European level to invest money in nature conservation.
The weeks of negotiations, through which the mega budget was topped up by a full 15 billion euros, prevented the Corona aid from starting quickly. In July, the heads of state and government agreed at a summit meeting to take on their own EU debts for the first time in the fight against the corona crisis. This is already considered a milestone in the history of the Union. The loans are to be paid off by 2058.
So far, a “communitarization of debts”, as well as own EU taxes on financial transactions, for example, had failed due to the veto of governments in the north and east as well as the black-red federal government. But the pandemic has softened the opposition front. Now Corona aid for economically ailing countries is to flow in a total of 750 billion euros, half as a grant, the other half as a loan. This is primarily intended to help countries such as Italy or Greece, which suffer particularly badly from Corona. Spain is also expecting a drop in economic output of 12.4 percent this year – twice as much as in Germany.
Now all 27 member states still have to agree, which is uncertain in Poland and Hungary. For the first time, the disbursement of funds from the EU budget is directly linked to the rule of law in the member states. “We will have an effective mechanism to protect taxpayers’ money in the event that the rule of law no longer allows us to trace EU funds,” said Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn.
Poland and Hungary have vetoed the planned combination of EU funds with compliance with EU rule of law principles. Therefore, the 1.8 trillion euro financial package cannot be passed, and the 750 billion of the Corona reconstruction fund contained therein cannot flow. The next summit conference will take place on December 10th.
One month before the British departure from the EU bloc, doubts about a harmonious agreement remain.
The UK is only 32 days away from leaving the European Union’s single market and customs union for good. However, it is necessary for both parties to reach an agreement on the post-Brexit trade and security law, but the solution to the imbroglio seems far from being agreed. At issue is the difficulty for the two parties to reach a consensus on border control, fishing zones and state subsidy policies. The lack of understanding could dictate the future of relations between Brussels and London.
The uncertainty of having an agreement on December 31 and the discord between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom over border control has already triggered panic in British companies. At just one month, many started the race to store goods to anticipate post-Brexit customs controls. This is because London had agreed that Northern Ireland would follow EU product rules, in the event that there was no trade agreement, to avoid a physical border with Ireland, as this would undermine the peace agreement that ended the conflict in the region. , in 1998. However, in September, Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister, decided, unilaterally, to change the Withdrawal Agreement with the creation of legislation that allows to change the treaty signed with Brussels.
Possible changes could affect supply chains across Europe, compromising trade routes. Therefore, the community bloc continues to insist that it will not be possible to reach an agreement if the London Government does not give up the provisions of the bill introduced by Johnson.
On the other hand, David Frost, a British Brexit negotiator, said that, for an agreement to be reached, “the sovereignty of the United Kingdom must be respected”, which includes “border control”.
Reaching a consensus on this issue will be critical to reaching a post-Brexit agreement, but there are also other issues that have raised serious barriers to understanding.
Split the fish by the sides
The United Kingdom wants to leave the common fisheries policy and regain control of its exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles (about 340 kilometers) and, still, to adopt a fixation system that would divide the species between the two sides according to the location of the fished, rather than the current division, based on fixed fishing patterns. In addition, London wants annual negotiations on which European fishing fleets will be able to sail in those waters.
Brussels does not want to give an arm to root for the annual negotiations and insists that this condition does not offer security to coastal communities. To this is added the fact that the EU wants to keep British earnings at around 15% to 18% more than what it currently has.
EU vessels catch around 650 million euros in fish from the UK’s economic zone, almost five times more than British boats fish in EU waters. An argument for London’s insistence that it wants any fisheries agreement to recognize the reality of the United Kingdom as an independent coastal state.
As if these two issues were not enough, both sides are not giving up when it comes to “domestic” subsidy policies – and the British Parliament does not want Brussels to have any power in national legislation.
In the political declaration on the future relationship, the two sides committed to “uphold common standards” in the UK and the EU “at the end of the transition period [31 de dezembro] in areas such as state aid, competition, social standards, employment, the environment, climate change and relevant tax issues “.
Common standards in question
The UK has agreed to “no regression” on these matters, but does not want EU legislation to be the baseline. The European Union wants to find a way to ensure that if, over time, one side of the agreement develops common standards, the other side faces consequences if it chooses not to follow similar regulations.
The war continues between the two forces and neither seems to want to raise the white negotiating flag. If they fail to understand, on January 1, 2021, the United Kingdom and Brussels will begin to negotiate based on the generic, and less advantageous, regulations of the World Trade Organization. v
Is Ursula von der Leyen a being of flesh and blood or an avatar, an assemblage of pixels, created by an artificial intelligence buried in the depths of the Berlaymont, the seat of the Commission? Barely installed at 13e floor of the building, the president of the European executive has, in fact, literally disappeared, only appearing through interposed screens, the coronavirus pandemic requires. As she prepares to celebrate her first year at the head of the Commission, this 1is December, it is clear that the former German Minister of Defense has achieved the feat of becoming the disembodied president of a Europe that is itself too disembodied.
Of course, Ursula von der Leyen is a victim of health conditions, but not only. This remoteness matches her character as demonstrated by her unprecedented decision to live in a windowless studio that she had fitted out next to her office so as not to have to leave the building during the week,
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