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Newsletter June/July 2020

Our latest topics for you!

Upcoming Event:

Our Dossiers:
Green Ideas for the Future of Europe
- Green Ideas for the Future of Europe

Conversations on the occasion of Germany’s EU Council Presidency. The dossier covers Green proposals and initiatives regarding the European Green Deal, the future of the EU and the role of the EU in the world.

Focus on Covid-19 pandemic
Contributions by the Heinrich Böll Foundation on the political impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic

- Tech and Covid-19
Global perspectives on digital trends during the crisis

European Responses to Multiple Crises

The way the Covid-19 pandemic has been dealt with has raised many questions for the future of the European project. How have the EU institutions and Member States managed the crisis so far? What challenges will coincide with the German EU Council Presidency in terms of crisis management and the future of the EU?

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A German EU Presidency cannot succeed without France

Europe could still emerge from the pandemic crisis sustainably positioned and strengthened, but only if the Franco-German tandem works. The plans for a reconstruction fund of 500 billion euros mark a turnaround in the right direction.

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Expectations of the Greek government and Greek civil society of the 2020 German EU Council Presidency

At the beginning of 2020 it looked as if the Greek economy would recover with above average growth from 10 years of financial crisis.The corona pandemic has shattered these prospects. Greek society is now hoping for support from the German Council Presidency.

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A critical point for EU–UK relations: The British perspective on the German Council Presidency

Britain is in the midst of finalising the Brexit transition process while also being hit especially hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. The German Council Presidency has to protect public health all over Europe while also preventing another financial crisis from happening. But this might also give new momentum to systemic change towards a more sustainable economy.

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Europe needs a Real Green Deal!

The German government must fight for a Real Green Deal for Europe that combines economy and ecology and sets the course for a socio-ecological market economy. Dr. Ellen Ueberschär describes what that could look like.

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Insect Atlas

The Insect Atlas shows how the colorful world of insects is connected to our agriculture and food.  If we were to count them, every person on earth would have around 1.4 billion insects from an estimated 5.5 million different species. The Atlas offers more than 80 graphics on 60 pages about the importance of insects.

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How not to use tech in a pandemic - lessons from the UK

From legal challenges to delays, leaks and policy reversals, the UK has stumbled in its tech response to the pandemic in the same way that it has faltered in its overall strategy, even frequently being forced to change course. A full assessment of what happened will take time, but the record thus far already offers lessons for the future.

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So it works, after all! Why I installed the German coronavirus tracing app

Open-source software, transparent communication, and public-private cooperation with both large and small companies—the development of the German contact tracing app could be a model for future government IT projects.

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Infected texts: disinformation meets polarization in Brazil

The fight against Covid-19 in Brazil has developed into an ideological battle, pitting President Jair Bolsonaro - who wants to reopen the country - against those who defend the WHO protocols. Brazil’s WhatsApp culture has opened the gate to a flood of rumors and fake news, some of which can allegedly be traced back to Bolsonaro’s inner circle. But the favelas are seeking their own solutions to counter disinformation.

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Profiteering from the pandemic: How India’s lockdown paved the way for big e-commerce disaster capitalism

COVID-19 has become a moment of opportunism for Indian e-commerce companies to consolidate their market power, insert themselves into local supply chains and co-opt neighborhood stores. Policy interventions are urgently needed to preserve the autonomy of the traditional retail sector and prevent Big Tech’s takeover of local economies.

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Online Seminar on COVID-19 Contact Tracing Apps in the U.S., EU and Asia

The Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung and the Center for Democracy and Technology hosted a online seminar on COVID-19 contact-tracing apps in the U.S., the EU, and Asia on Wednesday, June 10th at 9am ET.

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Basic internet access is not enough. We need universal connectivity!

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the ugly consequences of digital inequities around the world. The most privileged can rely on online tools as digital lifeboats while those with limited or no access are left adrift. The definition of internet access as a human right has to be expanded to include access to universal, reliable and affordable high-speed internet.

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Home office could be here to stay in Germany – if the internet in rural areas holds up

The coronavirus pandemic forced half of the German working population to work from home. A majority was happy with the move, an early study indicates. If the broadband expansion catches up in the countryside, many might never go back.

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International Relations
Security implications of novel quantum information technologies

New quantum technologies promise exponentially faster computing and ultra-secure encryption systems. In the global race to build these systems no state actor can afford to come second as quantum computers promise ultimate strategic-military advantages.

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“Trump’s election defeat won’t end structural racism”

The murder of George Floyd has thrown the United States into a state of unrest. President Trump is throwing fuel on the fire in an attempt to increase his re-election chances. The main problem, however, is historical, structural racism – and not just in the U.S. An interview with Bastian Hermisson, Head of the Foundation’s office in Washington, and Mekonnen Mesghena, Head of Migration and Diversity at the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Berlin.

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"Scarecrowna" - A variation on dealing with Covid-19 in Cambodia

Until May 2020 Cambodia has only registered 122 infected people without any casualty. Many experts fear that the figues are highly underreported due to a lack of testing capacities. The government has decided not to go for a general lockdown so as not to hamper the already weak economy. 

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Egypt today: Covid-19 on top of repression, repression on top of Covid-19

Amidst the Covid-19 crisis in Egypt, a recent chain of events reveals the systemic violence that the regime of President al-Sisi exerts. To address those developments, what’s behind them and how international actors might respond to them, we are speaking with Amr Magdi, Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch.

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Colombia and SARS-CoV-2: Will the storm pass?

In Colombia too, public life and the economy have been at a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic. There is, however, hope that the early measures taken to stem the pandemic will pay off in the medium and long term. The country is currently between hope and fear regarding the measures to ease the social and economic lockdown in place since March.

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How coronavirus has worsened the plight of refugees in Tunisia

In the shadows of the Covid-19-crisis, refugees and irregular migrants in Europe’s neighbouring countries are afraid for their very existence and terrified of long-term detention in reception camps. In Tunisia, political provisions are being put into place and emergency plans negotiated to deal with migrants and refugees on their way to Europe.

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"The Coronavirus has declared war on Armenia"

While restrictions against the pandemic are gradually being lifted throughout Europe, the situation in Armenia is worsening. The capacities of hospitals are exhausted. Armenia is in a de facto state of emergency as a result of the pandemic, which could turn into a political crisis. Our colleague Eviya Hovhannisyan from Yerevan reports the current developments in the interview.

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Masculinity as a project – new film series from Russia on gender politics

The new online course on masculinity has now been released in a version with English subtitles, making the cooperation project of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Moscow available internationally to anyone interested.

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Pandemic management on the backs of women in Hungary

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed and further exacerbated many inequalities - especially the ones concerning woman. 

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