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Trump to announce decision on Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday afternoon

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Under the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration, the international community agreed to suspend sanctions against Iran so long as it lives up to the terms of the accord. In exchange for sanctions relief, Iran accepted limits on its nuclear program and grant access to atomic facilities to international inspectors.

Iran hammered out the deal with China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K. and the United States.

While Iran remains in compliance, Trump has long threatened to restore sanctions anyway.

Trump refused to certify the deal to Congress last year, essentially saying the deal was no longer in the country’s national security interest. In January, he waived sanctions but said he would not do so again unless his administration could reach a deal with European partners to toughen the terms of the 2015 accord.

Despite recent meetings with foreign leaders, that deal has not yet emerged. The next deadline to waive sanctions is on Saturday, May 12.

Trump and foreign policy hawks have criticized the 2015 deal because it did not address Iran’s ballistic missile program, its involvement in regional conflicts or its support for U.S.-designated terrorist groups.

They also say the deal is fundamentally flawed because certain restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activity expire 10 to 15 years from implementation. Trump and many Republicans want to overwrite these so-called “sunset clauses” and make the restrictions permanent.

France, Germany and the U.K. have so far drawn the line at changing the sunset clauses, though French President Emmanuel Macron has signaled a willingness to discuss a path forward after the restrictions expire.

The sanctions up for waiver on Saturday strictly target Iran’s oil exports. The next deadline to suspend sanctions on Iran’s broader economy does not arrive until July 11, though it is possible Trump will also address these on Tuesday afternoon.

Oil analysts say renewed sanctions on Iran’s oil exports are unlikely to be as far-reaching and impactful as those imposed by the Obama administration. That is because the Obama administration solicited support for them after the world grew concerned about Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, which Tehran denies.

The Trump administration will have to compel countries to comply at a time when foreign powers see Iran as complying with an internationally negotiated deal.

Analysts say China is unlikely to cut off Iranian oil purchases, and other big buyers like India and Turkey could push back on the sanctions. Ultimately, they expect no more than 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian oil to come off the market, compared with 1 million-1.5 million barrels under Obama.

However, the impact of the sanctions will depend on several factors. That includes whether Iran begins accelerating its nuclear program, which could boost support for sanctions, or continues to abide by the terms of the deal in a bid to isolate the Trump administration.

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Lufthansa, easyjet, airlines sell off as EU steps up travel restrictions

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A KLM flight attendant walks in the Schiphol Airport, the Netherlands.

EVERT ELZINGA | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON — Airline shares dropped on Friday after European governments announced further travel restrictions to fight growing Covid infection rates and highly-infectious variants.

European leaders agreed on Thursday to keep their borders open but to discourage any non-essential travel. This means citizens looking to move from areas where the virus is circulating at a very high level will be asked to have a negative test and undergo quarantine upon arrival at another member state.

France has already said that from Sunday it will require citizens coming from other EU countries to have had a negative PCR test 72 hours before departure.

“We are fully convinced that we must keep borders open in order to keep the internal market functioning, but at the same time we are also convinced that restrictions should be possible to implement for non-essential travels,” European Council President Charles Michel, who chairs meetings among the 27 EU leaders, said on Thursday evening.

These restrictions to travel are a challenge for the EU given its policy of free movement, where citizens, goods and services move freely from one country to the other. However, this approach has been severely hit by the pandemic, which is then reflected on how the traveling sector performs.

IAG, the owner of Iberia and British Airways, sank almost 4% on Friday. Lufthansa also dropped around 3%. Easyjet fell more than 4%.

The entire travel and leisure sector in Europe was down 2.8% during European lunchtime trading hours.

Europe ‘severely impacted’

Speaking to CNBC earlier this week, Mark Manduca, a travel and leisure analyst at Citigroup, said that any roadblocks, including test results, from the moment of leaving the house to arriving at the country of destination are a negative for the sector.

He said that the recovery in the next 12 months would be rather “uneven.” As a result of the travel restrictions, Manduca expects consumers to opt for longer holidays and fewer times per year rather than frequent long-weekends away.

Some European airlines, such as AirFrance and Lufthansa have received government subsidies to cope with the hit from the pandemic. However, there are questions about whether more support will be required in the coming months.

Lufthansa’s CEO Carsten Spohr said on Thursday that the company is currently losing 1 million euros ($1.2 million) every two hours. However, this is actually a “significant improvement,” he said, as the airline at one point in 2020 was losing the same amount of money every hour.

Earlier this month, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said air passenger numbers stalled at the end of 2020.

Passenger traffic growth dropped by 70.3% year-on-year in November, the IATA said, with Europe being “the most severely impacted region due to strict containment measures.”

Vaccination passports

European leaders have started debating whether vaccination certificates should be used to promote traveling in the coming months.

The idea, pushed by Greece and other tourism-heavy nations, would allow those that have been vaccinated to travel anywhere in the EU.

However, the 27 heads of state decided on Thursday to take a decision on so-called vaccination passports at a later date.

“Rather than easing travel restrictions, the vaccination passport would simply create new borders across people and countries,” Alberto Alemanno, professor of EU law at H.E.C. business school, said via email.

“Given the highly differentiated roll-out of the vaccination campaigns across Member States, certain nationals are more likely to be vaccinated than others, as they are certain categories and age groups over others,” he added.

Lufthansa airplanes at waiting position on the first of a two-day strike at Frankfurt Airport on November 23, 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany.

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What investors are watching for as UBS prepares to kick off Europe’s bank earnings

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Business leaders must prioritize workers’ mental health in lockdown: CEO

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Rising coronavirus infection rates, and the accompanying wave of lockdowns across Europe, should prompt managers to spend more time considering their employees’ mental health, according to the CEO of staffing group Adecco

“Especially with … the second wave of lockdowns coming in, we need more emotionally intelligent leaders, because we see that many people are suffering,” Alain Dehaze told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Monday.

Countries including the U.K., the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and France are currently in lockdown or have extended restrictions, with some expected to last beyond the end of the month. Lockdowns were first implemented last year when the coronavirus pandemic hit the region in early 2020, and have been reinstated as virus infection rates have risen during fall and winter.

Workers have reported worsening mental health during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an Adecco-commissioned survey of 8,000 office-based staff in eight countries, Dehaze added. 

“We have seen in our survey that 28% of employees … say their mental health got worse during the pandemic, and that only one in 10 managers exceeded employees’ expectations in supporting them. This soft skill will be extremely important to make sure that in this new world, managers and leaders are taking care of their people in the right way,” he said.

Adecco expects permanent, white-collar jobs to decline this year, such as payroll workers, with more of a focus on temporary roles.

“Employers have the challenge to have the right talent at the right time … but unfortunately, for some of them, [the pandemic] means they will have to lay off people and then it will be very important that government but also employers and individuals are investing in reskilling and upskilling themselves to remain competitive.”

Employees want to spend around half of their working time in the office and half at home (once restrictions are lifted), according to Adecco’s survey. “Human interactions are still valued. And these figures of 50-50 really transcends geography, generation, parental status. So, it’s really a kind of new universal ideal,” Dehaze said.

“Hybrid work is here to stay … it creates (a) more inclusive workplace, especially for people with disabilities, or working parents.”

Adecco’s revenue was down 28% in the second quarter of 2020 and it fell 15% in its third quarter and Dehaze said he expects its revenue to continue to improve as lockdowns become less restrictive. “Governments have learned from this first lockdown not to close everything and keep the economy going and protect the labor employment by doing ‘intelligent’ lockdown(s).”

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