Blog: The week the coronavirus came to town

With the EU institutions reporting their first cases of coronavirus, the usual flow of events and policy pow-wows in Brussels has begun to dry up. Could it have broader implications for environmental policy as well?

This was the week the Wuhan coronavirus, dubbed COVID-19, hit the European Quarter in Brussels. Literally speaking, only to a slight degree – there have been reports in the Belgian press of a couple of cases of EU staff going down with the bug, and as we go to press, info-coronavirus.be has the national tally at 59, of which only 12 are in the capital.

But the precautionary measures have been gathering pace. The week started with the news that the European Parliament had cancelled some 130 events in Brussels, with only essential legislative work continuing. While non-staff were barred – journalists are so far exempt, although one senior MEP cited the virus as a reason for cancelling an interview with ENDS – some MEPs complained when an exception was made for Greta Thunberg, who appeared before the environment committee on Wednesday.

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