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U.S. President Joe Biden walks to a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House on July 26, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

President Biden is nominating Mark Gitenstein, a former U.S. ambassador to Romania, to be his envoy to the European Union.

Driving the news: Gitenstein is the latest ambassadorial announcement from the White House, as Biden rewards former aides, political allies and big dollar donors.

  • “I will, if confirmed, be privileged to help implement the agenda agreed to at the June U.S.-EU Summit,” Gitenstein said in a statement.
  • “It is a robust and comprehensive agenda, which includes working with our EU partners to chart the course for the world economy in the 21st century, ensure the rules are based on our shared democratic values, and tackle shared challenges from COVID-19 to climate change," he added.
  • In April, Axios reported Gitenstein’s likely nomination.

Go deeper

Oct 18, 2021 - World

Poland showdown is EU's Jan. 6 moment, top official says

Didier Reynders. Photo: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Poland and Hungary have forced a moment of reflection on the European Union — similar to the one in the U.S. after the Jan. 6 insurrection, EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders told Axios.

What he's saying: "During many years, we have had in our minds that it was granted that if you are a member of the EU, of course you apply the rule of law; you have full respect for democracy, fundamental rights and so on — maybe with some concerns but with a real intention to adapt your legislation to be in full compliance [with EU law]," Reynders said.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The president of New York City's firefighters union told reporters Wednesday that he's advised unvaccinated members to ignore Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Under de Blasio's order that's due to take effect Friday, unvaccinated city employees would be placed on unpaid leave. But Uniformed Firefighters Association head Andrew Ansbro said he told members that "if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," according to Reuters.

4 hours ago - Health

Study: Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization

A COVID-19 intensive Care Unit in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on May 27, 2021. Photo: Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The readily available antidepressant fluvoxamine significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations, according to a large study published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The clinical trial suggests that a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early.