Bloomberg Businessweek-Europe Edition March 29, 2021

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Draw upon Businessweek's timely incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career, your business, and your personal investments.

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2 min
in brief

Global coronavirus cases passed 124 million, and more than 2.7m people have died. About 469 million shots have been given, though the slow pace of vaccination and resurging infection rates in much of Europe have forced countries there to postpone reopening plans. ▷ 12 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sacked his third central bank governor, Naci Agbal, in less than two years on March 20 after the bank sharply increased interest rates. Investors reacted by driving the lira down as much as 15%. The shootings of eight people in Atlanta on March 16, mostly Asian-American women, sent demonstrators into the streets of New York and other U.S. cities to demand an end to anti-Asian hate crimes, which have spiked during the pandemic. Leon Black is stepping down as CEO of Apollo Global Management…

3 min
the business case for creating covid-19 vaccine passports

Once people have been vaccinated against Covid-19, they’re safer to dine out, fly on airplanes, attend concerts and movies, work out at the gym, go to the office, and otherwise move about—as long as they wear masks around other people indoors, avoid large groups, and keep their distance. How can they demonstrate that they have this protection? By showing a “vaccine passport,” perhaps in the form of a smartphone app. The European Union, Israel, the U.K., and other governments are creating such digital documents, as are private organizations. President Biden is assessing whether the U.S. should have them. Yet vaccine passports have met resistance. Critics, including the World Health Organization, worry that they might exacerbate inequality, undermine privacy, or simply not work very well. These concerns ought to be addressed, but…

1 min

Pump or Pause? Members of OPEC+ meet on April 1 to set production goals. They must strike a delicate balance: Some countries are reopening and need oil, but others are locking down again. Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, Toyota, and other carmakers report first-quarter sales on April 1. The figures are a closely watched gauge of economic demand. Bulgaria holds parliamentary elections on April 4. The ruling Gerb party has endured months of anticorruption protests but is likely to eke out another victory. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva discusses the economic outlook and actions to drive a recovery in a March 30 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations. Virgin Galactic unveils the third iteration of its SpaceShip craft on March 30. The suborbital spaceplane is designed for commercial tourism, which is scheduled to start…

5 min
the end of tesla’s dominance may be closer than it appears

He doesn’t date a synth-pop star, publicly puff on blunts, or profess to want to die on Mars, but Herbert Diess is starting to look and sound an awful lot like Elon Musk. The chief executive officer of Volkswagen AG kicked off a March 15 news conference modeled after Tesla Inc.’s “Battery Day”—Diess called his “Power Day”—by declaring that there’s only one way to quickly reduce emissions from transportation: Go electric. Skeptics could be forgiven for raising their eyebrows at that message, coming as it was from the same car-maker that spent years gaslighting the world about “clean diesel.” But VW is finally seeing the payoff from its five-year effort to create a standardized platform to underpin dozens of electric models. “Many in the industry questioned our approach,” Diess said during…

6 min
the golden ticket

In a harbor on the Greek island of Paxos, Panagiotis Mastoras checks over his fleet of pleasure craft and counts down the days to the return of the tourists who fuel the economy of the 8-mile speck in the Ionian Sea. For the rental-boat skipper, the easing of travel curbs imposed as the Covid-19 outbreak swept the world appears tantalizingly close. Greece said it would welcome back visitors starting on May 14, as long as they’ve had a vaccination, recovered from the coronavirus, or tested negative before flying out. “It’s the safest way,” says Mastoras, one of 850,000 people working in a holiday sector that accounted for almost a quarter of Greece’s gross domestic product before the pandemic, the highest proportion in Europe. “We’ve reached a point where it can’t…

4 min
vaccine passports’ uncertain science

Governments from Beijing to Brussels are turning to vaccine passports as a way to safely reopen international travel or provide cover to businesses that require close contact or large gatherings. But given all the uncertainty about the relative efficacy or longevity of competing shots—especially in the face of new variants—the use of vaccination status as a societal get-out-of-jail card remains a leap of faith, medical professionals say. “It may be that the immunity against Covid-19 will differ from vaccine to vaccine, and since we haven’t had these vaccines out there for very long, we may not be able to tell for two years,” says Birger Forsberg, a professor of international health at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. “You can speculate, you can make theoretical or immunological models, and so on,…