The EU cannot agree on a list of “safe countries” from where travellers could visit Europe in July, with some member states requiring more time to decide, diplomats said Saturday.
After days of talks, EU envoys on Friday agreed to propose a list of 14 countries to their national governments, with the United States, where the coronavirus is still spreading, to remain excluded.
Croatia, which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, requested that countries offer feedback by Saturday at 1600 GMT, with hopes the matter could then be put to a vote among the 27 member states.
“There are still ongoing consultations, which will continue until Monday,” an EU source told AFP.
“There is no visibility on where this will go, but the presidency still hopes to put this matter to a vote on Monday,” the source added.
The proposed “safe” list contains just fourteen countries: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
Crucially, travellers from China would be approved to enter, but under the condition that Beijing would do the same for Europeans.
Non-essential travel to the EU has been banned since mid-March, but only after member states closed their national borders in confusion and without coordination as the pandemic grew.
The restrictions are to be gradually lifted starting July 1, as the infection rate recedes — at least in Europe — and some countries hoped for close EU coordination.
Whatever is decided in Brussels will exist only as a recommendation since border control remains a national competence and a limited number of flights to and from banned countries have continued throughout the crisis.
Talks dragged on with some EU members wanting to limit the reopening to countries with an epidemiological situation “comparable or better” than that in the bloc — that is with 16 or fewer cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants over the past two weeks.
Under that criteria, travellers from the United States, Brazil and Canada would remain banned.
However, the health-based criteria has collided with geopolitics, with some countries reluctant to collectively ban the US while welcoming visitors from China, where the pandemic began.
The United States is currently the country most affected by COVID-19 with more than 125,000 deaths — while Europe believes it has passed the peak of its outbreak.
CMG Holds Cooperation Forum with African Media Partners
China Media Group (CMG) has set up a new collaboration platform with Africa. The “Our African Partners: CMG Media Cooperation Forum 2021” brings together under one umbrella CMG and African media.
The event culminated with the issuance by 36 partners of a joint declaration outlining the principles and aspirations of the forum, which include acting as responsible public information disseminators, strengthening and deepening cooperation, and amplifying Chinese and African voices on the global stage.
In his opening address, Huang Kunming, head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, urged Chinese and African media to remain objective and impartial, and stand for justice. Both sides in the partnership will continue to treat each other sincerely and enhance people-to-people connection, he assured. Huang emphasized expanding digital benefits through innovation under the partnership.
Commenting on China-Africa media cooperation amid unprecedented changes in the world, Gregoire Ndjaka, CEO of African Union of Broadcasting, said “it testifies the common desire to appreciate the efforts made in this vast project” and presents the opportunity to start over on a more solid basis.
Media representatives, policy makers, media and communication scholars from China and more than 40 African countries attended the event which was held both online and offline in Nairobi. CMG president Shen Haixiong and several other chief executives of African state broadcasters were present.
“From the ancient Maritime Silk Road to the Belt and Road Initiative today, China and Africa have been going in the same direction,” Mr. Shen observed in his remarks.
On his part, Iqbal Survé, the Chairman of South Africa’s Independent Media, said China’s experience in digital media can help African media bring about better news flow and benefit African people.
“China, we know, is a world leader in the space of online media and online technology. China has played a very important role in showing how technological advancement can work to the benefit of its people,” Survé said, adding: “We in Africa are hungry to emulate that particular example of China and to see how we can use technology in order to bring about better news flow and meet the aspirations of the African people.”
Dr Naim Bilal, the Managing Director of Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, said his organization was looking forward to more cooperation with CMG in technology, content sharing and training.
Mallam Yakubu Ibn Mohammed, the Director General of Nigerian Television Authority proposed the setting up of a central video server maintained and funded in partnership for better information and content sharing.
“Chinese and African media should seize the opportunities of a time of change and tap into potential for cooperation in areas including exchange of content, exchange of staff, and co-production,” Dr Ayub Rioba, the Director General of Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation, said.
In their speeches, Senegalese Minister of Culture and Communication, Abdoulaye Diop; Ambassador Erastus Mwencha, the former Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission and Amin Alhassan, the Director General of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation
were optimistic the forum will deepen collaboration between CMG and African media on the one hand and, relations between China and Africa on the other.
“One lesson that we witnessed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is the lack of policy coordination, production and distribution of vaccines and vaccine nationalism. I salute the media for highlighting this serious lacuna. This should be extended to all other areas of human endeavor and must be based on facts and figures,” Mwencha observed.
In the panel discussion, Prof. Peter Kagwanja, the President and Chief Executive of Africa Policy Institute; Dr. David Monyae, the Director of Center for Africa-China Studies at the University of Johannesburg; Dr. Ayub Rioba, the Managing Director of Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation; as well as media experts from China tackled the challenges of imbalance in global information flow, climate change, and a rigged global trading system.
The forum also showcased cooperation projects between CMG and its African media partners, including an agreement on broadcasting Chinese films and TV shows with select African state broadcasters; an agreement between CMG’s Hausa Service and Nigerian media companies setting up a common platform for Hausa-speaking media; and CMG French Service’s media event “Sino-African Kungfu Show”.
Xi Says CPC is the ‘Strong Force’ to Lead Chinese People Forward
The past 110 years have proven that the Communist Party of China (CPC) is the “strong force” to lead the Chinese people to realize national rejuvenation, President Xi Jinping said at a meeting in Beijing on Saturday marking the 110th anniversary of the 1911 Revolution.
“The Party was chosen to lead by history and by the people… Without the Communist Party there would be no new China and no national rejuvenation,” said Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.
The 1911 Revolution, or Xinhai Revolution, overthrew the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and put an end to the absolute monarchy in China.
The history of the Xinhai Revolution began with the Wuchang Uprising, an armed rebellion against the Qing Dynasty rulers that broke out on October 10, 1911 in what is today’s Wuchang District, Wuhan City, in central China’s Hubei Province.
The Revolution marked a historic step, leading to the establishment of the Republic of China (1912-1949) and ensuing social changes in the country.
The People’s Republic of China was then founded in 1949.
On Saturday, Xi said that “socialism with Chinese characteristics has proven to be the only correct path” to realize national rejuvenation.
“On the journey ahead, we must uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, keep adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and the needs of our times, remain firmly committed to our aspiration and our path, and make sure the future of China’s development remains firmly in our own hands,” he said.
Xi added that “the Chinese people must rely on our own heroic efforts” to achieve national rejuvenation. “Never has history taken a peaceful or tranquil course; it has always advanced amid setbacks and difficulties.”
He quoted late Chinese leader Mao Zedong, who said: “Our forefathers never stopped waging unyielding struggles against domestic and foreign oppressors… By our own indomitable efforts, we the Chinese people will unswervingly reach our goal.”
Xi called on China to “seize the opportunities that the era has offered” in a world that is “undergoing momentous changes of a kind not seen in a century.”
“Through courage and skill, we will overcome all major risks and challenges that may impede our path to national rejuvenation and resolutely safeguard our national sovereignty, security and development interests.”
Xi urged that “the Chinese people and the nation must stick together through good times and bad and rely on our strong unity to overcome all risks and challenges on the road ahead.”
He noted that a united people with a great spirit of patriotism has always been “an important instrument that has allowed the CPC to rally the people’s support and pool their strength” for all endeavors.
He also pointed out that both “a stable and united domestic environment” and “a peaceful and stable international environment” are required to achieve national rejuvenation. “Our people hope to successfully realize national development, but they also hope to see all peoples of the world leading happy and peaceful lives,” he said.
“On the journey ahead, China will always fly the flag of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, strive to promote the building of a human community with a shared future, and endeavor to improve the global governance system,” Xi said.
In his speech, Xi also reiterated that the Taiwan question will be resolved as national rejuvenation becomes a reality. “This is determined by the general trend of Chinese history, but more importantly, it is the common will of all Chinese people.”
“National reunification by peaceful means best serves the interests of the Chinese nation as a whole, including our compatriots in Taiwan,” he said.
Xi called on compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Straits to “stand on the right side of history and join hands to achieve China’s complete reunification and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
CMG: Continue to Support Taiwan Entertainers to Perform on the Chinese Mainland
The gala celebrating the National Day of China broadcast by China Media Group (CMG) has received a warm response at home and abroad. Many entertainers from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan regions performed on stage with their mainland counterparts, presenting a high quality gala.
In response to the recent threats against actors and actresses by some media in Taiwan, the spokesperson for the Culture and Art Program Center of the China Media Group has replied as follows:
“At every major festival of China, the China Media Group will produce special programs and invite entertainer from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan to join with those in the mainland to participate in the performances and share the glory of the festival.
Taiwan entertainers participating in the variety shows and other activities are well received by the audience.
In disregard of the facts, some media have frequently threatened, intimidated, and slandered Taiwan entertainers who have contacts with the mainland. We are firmly opposed to this. We reiterate that we welcome entertainers from Taiwan to participate in our programs.”
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