Europe

The proportion of businesses in the Republic availing of COVID-related income supports or wage subsidies peaked at 57 percent last April, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and reported by The Irish Times. It fell to a pandemic low of 30 percent in September before rising again to 45.6 percent or 113,000 in January this year.

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Deutsche Bank saw its strongest quarterly profits in seven years as the bank’s long-running restructuring achieved lower costs and as the bank suffered fewer loan losses in an economy that is rebounding from the worst of the pandemic recession, the Associated Press reported.

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The European Parliament has voted by a large margin to give the European Union’s final approval to a Brexit deal already beset by difficulties, complaints and a court challenge, The New York Times reported. The tally was 660 in favor, with five against and 32 abstentions. While the outcome was never really in doubt, the Parliament expressed considerable concerns about the trustworthiness of the current British government to carry out its side of the Brexit bargain, including the trade deal that was just approved.

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Finland’s ruling coalition came to an agreement on spending plans, averting a collapse of the Nordic nation’s Social Democrat-led government by a thin margin, Bloomberg reported. The five-party cabinet patched up its differences, forging a common vision of how Finland’s recovery from the pandemic should take place, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said. The broad outlines of the deal are now agreed, and the government will continue hammering out the details, she said.

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The European Commission has launched legal action against pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca over shortfalls in deliveries of its COVID-19 vaccine, which had once been expected to form the backbone of the continent’s inoculation strategy before falling starkly behind, The Irish Times reported. Under its contract with the EU, the British-Swedish company committed to make “best reasonable efforts” to deliver 300 million doses between December and June, but later revised this figure down to 100 million, a shortfall that slowed vaccine rollouts across the continent.

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The battering to Wall Street banks from Archegos Capital Management topped $10 billion after UBS Group AG and Nomura Holdings Inc. reported fresh hits caused by the fund’s collapse, the Wall Street Journal reported. UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank by assets, said it lost $774 million following Archegos’s implosion, a bigger hit than analysts expected, deepening the damage caused by the fund. Meantime, Japan’s Nomura, which flagged losses of around $2 billion last month, upped its total damage tally to $2.85 billion.

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Liverpool reported a pre-tax loss of 46 million pounds ($64 million) for the last financial year, mainly because of the impact the coronavirus outbreak had on the English champion’s media revenue and matchday income, the Associated Press reported. The losses for the financial year ending May 2020, a period covering the first three months of the pandemic when the Premier League was suspended, equated to a negative swing of 88 million pounds ($122 million) from Liverpool’s position a year ago.

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U.S. tourists vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to visit the European Union in the coming months, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said and France 24 reported. Signaling a major change in EU policy as vaccinations step up worldwide, von der Leyen gave no timetable, but the Times said that the new rules could be in place by this summer. "The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines," she said. "This will enable free movement and travel to the European Union.

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Italian Premier Mario Draghi is presenting a 222.1 billion euro ($268.6 billion) coronavirus recovery plan to Parliament on Monday, aiming to not only bounce back from the pandemic but enact “epochal” reforms to address structural problems that long predated COVID-19, the Associated Press reported.

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