Latvia, a small country on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea, has so far been one of the least affected by the virus. Foreign Policy is looking into the phenomenon. Here is my take-away from the article. It appears that a medical crisis has helped Latvia resolve its identity crisis and enhanced the public’s sense of safety, as well as the feeling that the national government cares about its citizens.
Slowly entering a post-lockdown phase, one starts to assess the costs of the antivirus measures. Sweden is expected to limit the damage its economy will inevitably suffer due to the post-COVID19 recession. The country is unique in Europe not only due to its “easy” lockdown but also because of some much more fundamental choices nearly impossible for most other countries to replicate.
The hardest-hit member countries, businesses and people will get help. So decided the finance ministers on Thursday, 9 April. The half-trillion-euro deal will be channelled to the corona victims using three vehicles: the ESM, the EIB and a new employment initiative called “Sure”. The “coronavirus” bonds are still off the table.
Sweden has so far been just as much affected by COVID-19 as most other countries in Europe, but it has also been an exception from the rule, hesitating to impose a lockdown and paralyse the economy and social life as it has been done elsewhere due to the epidemic. What is different in Sweden now has been different for years: The Swedes trust their government and are “prone to listen to recommendations.”
A think tank’s report reveals that coal power is dying across the world. That’s the main message we are getting nowadays. After two decades of fuelling China’s astonishing rise as a world economy super powerhouse and exceeding 4 billion tonnes in consumption, coal is giving way to renewables. COVID-19 alone has slashed China’s coal burning by 25 percent.