ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 22/02/2019

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Washington Post – Anthony Faiola & Rachelle Krygier / Venezuela braces for possible conflict ahead of opposition’s push to deliver humanitarian aid

  • On Thursday, Nicolás Maduro ordered the closure of the border with Brazil and weighed sealing the border with Colombia, as his government scrambled to respond to the planned Saturday operation to break the socialist government’s blockade of international relief.
  • The opposition is calculating that rank-and-file members of the military and other security forces will not fire on unarmed civilians trying to cart boxes of aid across the border. Should the military disobey orders to stop volunteers, they believe, it could rob Maduro of his key source of power.
  • To counter criticism, Maduro’s vice president, Delcy Rodríguez, said the government had sent the UN a list of medicines the country needed. Maduro also announced that 7.5 tons of medical supplies had arrived Thursday from Russia and the Pan American Health Organization.
  • With Monday also marking the deadline for the Trump administration and the Maduro government to reach agreement on keeping a handful of diplomats in their capitals, Venezuela is confronting a crisis on multiple fronts. US Vice President Mike Pence is expected to be in Colombia on Monday for a gathering of Latin American leaders.

Financial Times – Pierre Moscovici / The European Commission is political — it has no other choice

  • For the past five years, the European Commission has prided itself on being a “political” body, a concept that visibly grates with some in capitals such as Berlin or The Hague. But, in the case of EU rules, is a mechanistic application by “faceless” technocrats really what these times demand?
  • The EU fiscal rules exist not to impose a hair shirt of austerity on the euro area but to ensure sustainable public finances. Since 2014, we have chosen impact over sanctions, rather than sanctions without impact. Dialogue trumped conflict, which is what the EU is about.
  • Some critics dream of transferring the commission’s fiscal responsibilities to the European Stability Mechanism, which they see as more independent. But one can easily imagine how the ESM board, composed of 19 finance ministers, would apply the EU’s fiscal rules to themselves.
  • To those finance or foreign ministers who criticize the commission for being too political and not democratic enough, I would invite them to turn their attention to the eurogroup, which Transparency International argues “continues to evade” proper accountability.

Euractiv / First Arab-EU summit billed as chance to cooperate in troubled region

  • European and Arab leaders are to hold their first summit Sunday (24 February) in Egypt, in what EU High Representative Federica Mogherini sees as a chance to boost cooperation across a troubled Mediterranean region.
  • The summit will bring together more than 40 heads of state and government, including 25 from EU countries. Among them, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.
  • Wars and conflicts in places such as Syria and Libya are on the agenda. However, analysts voiced doubts over how much progress can be made, with Europe split over migration and Arab countries still grappling with the fallout from Arab Spring revolutions.
  • With expectations low for EU-Arab progress, the focus of the summit may shift to EU efforts to break the logjam over Britain’s looming exit from the bloc on 29 March.

The Economist / The struggle to reform China’s economy

  • Although President Donald Trump started the trade war with China, pretty much all sides in America (and many in Europe and Asia) agree that China’s steroidal state capitalism makes it a bad actor in the global trading system and poses a threat to security.
  • Two decades ago it was possible to imagine that China would gradually free markets and entrepreneurs to play a bigger role. Instead, since 2013 the state has tightened its grip. While President Xi promised a “great rejuvenation”, what beckons is lower growth, more debt and technological isolation.
  • President Xi Jinping has even ignored Deng Xiaoping’s advice to “hide your capabilities and bide your time”, launching the “Made in China 2025” plan, an attempt to use state direction to dominate high-tech industries.
  • Western opposition to China’s model will outlast Trump. To deal with hostility abroad and weakness at home, Xi should limit the state’s role in allocating capital, temper China’s industrial policy, and protect the rights of foreign firms. These reforms were accepted wisdom among China’s technocrats a decade ago.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces. 

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ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 21/02/2019

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The Guardian – Andrew Roth / Russia may be forced to aim weapons at Washington, suggests Putin

  • During Russia’s version of the State of the Nation address, President Vladimir Putin said that Russia will develop new weapons and aim them at western “centres of decision-making” if the West deploys new short and medium-range missiles in Europe.
  • While Russia is believed to already target Washington and other Western cities with traditional intercontinental ballistic missiles, Putin revealed details about ongoing Russian weapons projects, including a hypersonic missile that could travel up to 1,000km and would be able to strike land targets.
  • Putin reaffirmed Russia’s stance that it would not deploy short or intermediate-range missiles in western Russia unless similar weapons were first deployed in Europe.

The New York Times – Katrin Bennhold / A European army? The Germans and Dutch take a small step

  • A German-Dutch tank battalion — Europe’s first made up of soldiers from two countries — is an important baby step toward deeper European military cooperation.
  • Battalion 414 showcases the necessity of European cooperation: Germany has too few soldiers, the Dutch lack a tank program. But together they can make a battalion. One reason Battalion 414 has been so successful is that northern Germans and Dutch people are culturally close.
  • Yet if some powerful European leaders are talking more loudly about a European military, the political moment is fraught. Moreover, the experience of a Franco-German brigade in Alsace has been very different to that of Battalion 414, partly due to language barriers.
  • The fact that there are different strategic cultures across Europe is also a challenge. To make a European army work, Germany will have to overcome an innate caution since World War II about military intervention.

South China Morning Post / China and US sketch outline of deal to end trade war covering six key areas, sources say

  • According to sources, the US and China have started to outline commitments in principle on the stickiest issues in their trade dispute, marking the most significant progress yet toward ending a seven-month trade war.
  • Negotiators are drawing up six memorandums of understanding (MOUs) on structural issues: forced technology transfer and cyber theft, intellectual property rights, services, currency, agriculture and non-tariff barriers to trade.
  • The parties were also looking at a 10-item list of ways that China could reduce its trade surplus with the US, including by buying agricultural produce, energy and goods such as semiconductors.
  • Time is running short ahead of the March 1 deadline to resolve the dispute or see US tariffs on Chinese goods rise. Lower-level officials held a round of talks in Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday and they will be joined today by US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He.

Foreign Affairs – Jan-Werner Müller / False flags: the myth of the nationalist resurgence

  • According to what is becoming the conventional narrative, today’s surge of nationalist passions represents a return to normal, as the attempts to create a more integrated world after the Cold War were a mere historical blip. This, however, is a deeply flawed interpretation of the current moment.
  • In reality, the leaders described as “nationalists” are better understood as populist poseurs who have won support by drawing on the rhetoric and imagery of nationalism. These leaders are concerned less with genuinely reasserting their countries’ autonomy than with appearing to do so.
  • One can be a nationalist without being a populist; a leader can maintain that national loyalties come first without saying that he or she alone can represent the nation. But today, all right-wing populists are nationalists.
  • Many liberal observers play right into their opponents’ hands by taking at face value and even amplifying the dubious stories that nationalist populists tell about their own success. As Cas Mudde has pointed out, nationalist populists often represent not a silent majority but a very loud minority.
  • Increasingly, mainstream centre-right politicians are betting on a strategy of what one might call “destruction through imitation.” This strategy is bound to do serious damage to European democracy. No matter how fast one chases populists to the fringes, it’s almost impossible to catch them.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces. 

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ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 20/02/2019

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The New York Times – Nicholas Fandos & Mark Mazzetti / House opens inquiry into proposed US nuclear venture in Saudi Arabia

  • According to a new report by US House Democrats, senior White House figures — including Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s first national security adviser — promoted an export plan that experts worried could violate laws and spread nuclear weapons technology in the volatile Middle East.
  • Even after Flynn was fired, the proposal — called “Middle East Marshall Plan” — appears to have lingered. House Democrats cited evidence that as recently as last week the White House was still considering some version of the proposal.
  • American nuclear energy companies, as well as the retired generals and other former government officials working with them, stood to benefit financially if the federal government signed off on the proposal for building the nuclear power sites, championed by the company IP3 International.
  • The export of American nuclear technology that could be used to create nuclear weapons is strictly controlled under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954. The act says that Congress must approve such exports, and at least one of the whistle-blowers that went to the Democrats claimed that officials involved ignored warnings about such legal requirements.

Al-Monitor / Iran’s hard-line MPs launch fresh drive to impeach Rouhani

  • A small group of ultraconservative Iranian lawmakers are pushing a motion to impeach President Hassan Rouhani. In Iran, an impeachment motion against a sitting president requires signatures from one-third of lawmakers to officially go before parliament.
  • So far, only 18 out of 290 parliament members have signed the motion. However, according to its architect, Mojtaba Zolnour, “some 80 other parliament members offered their verbal consent” and have promised to vote against Rouhani if an impeachment session is eventually held.
  • Largely seen as a symbolic gesture, the attempt has not been taken seriously by the Reformist media. The conservative daily Javan, which is close to the Revolutionary Guards, did not embrace the impeachment idea either.
  • Although an impeachment attempt seems to have little chance of success under the current circumstances, voices of disappointment with Rouhani continue to be loudly heard even from among the Reformist camp’s top figures, as economic and budget strains continue to disrupt Rouhani’s government.

The Atlantic – Thomas Wright / The moment the transatlantic charade ended

  • For the past two years, we have been treated to a transatlantic charade. Everyone knows there’s a problem, but publicly the leaders proclaim that nothing has fundamentally changed. But at the 2019 Munich Security Conference, the charade ended.
  • In 2017, US Vice President Mike Pence spoke at length about the importance of the NATO alliance and its historic accomplishments. In 2019, there was none of that. Pence offered a litany of criticism leveled against NATO and the EU — for not doing enough on Iran, Nord Stream 2, or Venezuela.
  • The US administration’s America First approach to Europe is now riven with contradictions. Senior administration officials have repeatedly said that while the US was pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, they were not calling on the EU to do the same. Now, Pence has demanded precisely that.
  • But the Europeans were not blameless either. Despite her celebrated speech, German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not offer a way for Europe to succeed in a world defined by great-power competition. Neither did EU High Representative Federica Mogherini.
  • Rumors are rife in Washington of a new Trump move against the NATO alliance, which is preparing for a major meeting in Washington in April. Trump may believe he does not need Europe, and the Europeans may believe that America is temporarily lost, but meanwhile, China and Russia gain ground.

Brookings – Kaushik Basu / Ending America’s World Bank monopoly

  • The US nomination of David Malpass for the post of World Bank president came as something of a relief. But that does not mean that Malpass is the ideal choice for the job. Malpass is skeptical toward multilateralism, he is a Trump loyalist and — unlike the World Bank — he is conservative.
  • By now, the World Bank, the IMF, and economists have moved away from the Washington Consensus. Under Malpass, however, this progress could be undone, with the World Bank once again guided by the mantra of economic growth above all else.
  • There is no reason to think that Malpass would uphold the World Bank’s commitment to fighting climate change, or that he would encourage consideration of local realities, inclusiveness, or equitable distributive outcomes in creating policies.
  • Historically, Western European countries have always supported the US candidate to head the World Bank, while the US has always backed a European to head the IMF. These countries owe it to the world to rethink this arrangement. Europe, China, and India should be putting forward candidates as well.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces. 

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ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 18/07/2019

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Al-Monitor – Jack Detsch / New START withdrawal would ease path for bomber sale to Israel

  • The potential lapse of the New START treaty, due for renewal in 2021, would remove a prime legal obstacle to transferring US-made bombers overseas. Such a sale would in turn give Israel the platform it currently lacks for delivering bunker-busting bombs that could target Iran.
  • The dissolution of the treaty, which explicitly bars selling controlled technology to foreign powers, wouldn’t remove all obstacles to selling bombers to Israel. The US is in short supply of the aircraft, and has not sold one to a foreign power since World War II.
  • The possibility of a bomber transfer to Israel generated buzz in 2015, as the Barack Obama administration was negotiating its nuclear deal with Iran. But Israeli military sources questioned whether the country’s armed forces would want to sustain US bombers.
  • Foreign Policy – Stephen M. Walt / How (and how not) to talk about the Israel lobby

Politico – David M. Herszenhorn / Trump threatens to release ISIS fighters if EU doesn’t take them

  • US President Donald Trump threatened to release 800 ISIS fighters captured in Syria unless European allies agree to accept them and put them on trial.
  • Trump’s threat, characteristically in a tweet, drew confusion and some outrage from European officials and security experts gathered Sunday at the annual Munich Security Conference in Germany.
  • Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Lindsey Graham said during the Munich conference that the president expected European forces to take over for the withdrawing American troops.
  • Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell was among the European officials to quickly say they had no intention of meeting Trump’s demand for additional troops.
  • Washington Post – Louisa Loveluck / Syrian military linked to more than 300 chemical attacks, report says

Foreign Affairs – Peter Gries & Tao Wang / Will China Seize Taiwan?

  • Many Mainland Chinese have lost patience with the idea of “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan. Some Chinese nationalists now argue that China has only a brief window of opportunity to seize Taiwan, and talk of “forceful reunification” is ascendant.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping seeks a legacy befitting the great emperors of old: the reunification of the Middle Kingdom. “Xi has told people that he was impressed by Putin’s seizure of Crimea,” a Beijing insider said in 2015.
  • Beijing seems to believe that the US will sit by as it squeezes Taiwan. Taipei, meanwhile, has convinced itself that China has no plans to invade. And Trump seems to think he can rock the boat without consequences. All of them are wrong.
  • China could well move to take Taiwan before 2020: should a weakened Tsai Ing-wen (of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party) lose the presidency in 2020 to a more pro-China candidate, the opportunity for “forceful reunification” would be lost. Moreover, many Chinese worry that a Trump loss in the 2020 US Presidential election would make forceful reunification harder.

The New York Times / Bill de Blasio: the path Amazon rejected

  • Amazon has scrapped an agreement to build a second headquarters in New York City, which would have created 25,000 jobs. Just two hours after a meeting with residents and community leaders to move the project forward, the company abruptly canceled it all, thus proving the company’s critics right.
  • The lesson here is that corporations can’t ignore rising anger over economic inequality anymore. The same day Amazon announced its decision to halt its second headquarters here, it was reported that the company would pay no federal income tax on the billions in profits it made last year.
  • Economic power — the kind that allows you to dangle jobs and billions in revenue over every metropolitan area in the country — is being steadily concentrated into fewer and fewer hands. It’s time to end economic warfare with a national solution that prevents corporations from pitting cities against one another.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces. 

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ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 15/02/2019

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The Guardian – Patrick Wintour & Oliver Holmes / Mike Pence chides US allies at Warsaw summit on Iran

  • During a conference on the Middle East organized by the US in Warsaw, US Vice President Mike Pence referred to a scheme set up by the EU to facilitate trade with Iran as “an effort to break American sanctions against Iran’s murderous revolutionary regime.”
  • Pence praised other nations for complying with US sanctions by reducing Iranian oil imports, but said the Europeans fell short. “Sadly, some of our leading European partners have not been nearly as cooperative,” said Pence, who asked Europe to abandon the Iran nuclear agreement.
  • Pence called on what he described as “freedom-loving nations” to stand against Iranian “evil”, and went so far as to accuse the regional power of plotting a “new Holocaust”.
  • The US-led summit, which was attended by over 60 nations, focused on Iran but also the Israeli-Palestinian issue, over which European leaders have expressed frustration at Donald Trump’s aid cuts and diplomatic attacks against Palestinians.
  • Politico – David Herszenhorn & Nahal Toosi / Iran tries to run out the clock as Trump bears down

South China Morning Post – Zhou Xin / China and United States make ‘progress’ in Beijing but trade war talks to continue in Washington next week

  • China and the US have agreed to continue talks in Washington next week after two days of negotiations in Beijing produced “progress” but not enough to seal a deal to end the trade war.
  • If the two countries fail to reach a deal or agree an extension of the March 1 deadline set by Trump, the US could increase the tariff on US$200 billion worth of Chinese products from the current 10 per cent to 25 per cent.
  • Trump said earlier this week that he could extend the March 1 deadline and that and he was looking forward to meeting Xi in the near future.

Washington Post – Joanna Slater, Niha Masih & Ishfaq Naseem / At least 38 killed in deadliest attack on security forces in Indian-controlled Kashmir in 3 decades

  • At least 38 paramilitary police officers were killed by a car bomb in Indian-controlled Kashmir in the worst attack on security personnel since the start of the insurgency in the disputed region three decades ago.
  • Jaish-e-Mohammed, or Army of Mohammed, a militant group that seeks to merge Indian-held Kashmir with Pakistan, claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack.
  • A statement issued by India’s Foreign Ministry pointed the finger at Pakistan. The leader of Army of Mohammed has “been given full freedom” by the government of Pakistan to “carry out attacks in India and elsewhere with impunity,” it said.
  • India’s renewed effort to crush the insurgency has provoked a backlash among a large swath of Kashmiris. Last year was the region’s deadliest in a decade, with increased deaths among security forces, militants and civilians.

Financial Times / Nord Stream 2: stream of cost-consciousness

  • Europeans have a love/hate relationship with Russia on energy. They love how cheap Russian gas is compared to much of the liquefied kind. But they hate their rising dependency on an aggressive neighbor.
  • The conflicted result is the extension of existing EU regulations for European pipelines to import pipelines. However, the rules will do nothing to ameliorate what those who oppose Russia’s efforts fear: The dent to Ukraine’s finances.
  • When Nord Stream 2 comes on stream by early next year, the two pipes should provide a quarter of Europe’s gas. Yet Europe could source even cheaper liquefied natural gas from other sources, note researchers at Columbia University. LNG from Qatar and Nigeria both have costs up to a fifth lower than imported piped Russian gas.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.  

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ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 14/02/2019

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Financial Times – James Shotter / US to deploy more troops in Poland, ambassador says

  • The United States will raise its number of troops in Poland as part of a raising engagement in the central European region. This is the result of a growing concern within the European country of Russia’s growing assertiveness.
  • Polish officials have been trying to persuade the American government to establish a permanent military base named Fort Trump in the country, and last year they offered to provide $2bn in order to fund it.
  • The American diplomat in Poland has stated that the increase of the American military would be considerable: “It will be significant. It passes the hundred mark, the hundreds mark”. The US move is part of the American push in central Europe, where there’s a growing concern on Russian and Chinese presence, such as Huawei.
  • As part of this growing cooperation, Poland will sign a $414m contract with the US for mobile rocket launchers. Moreover, the US has highlighted their satisfaction over Polish investment on defense “The Poles are an important ally-. They are investing their 2% of GDP in defense without even coaxing” stated the US ambassador.

Al-Monitor – Metin Gurcan / Turkey, Greece take symbolic but significant steps closer

  • Recent visit of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to Turkey sparked major interest in both countries, since it was the first visit he displayed a friendly photography with Erdogan. The most shocking part of the trip is the tour to the Heybeliada Halki Seminary, a Greed Orthodox theological school closed since 1971. Tsipras said that reopening the seminary would, indeed, display a “sign of friendship”.
  • On the other hand, Turkey asked for a better Greek support on its next bid to join the European Union, which will be held after the local elections of March 31. The visit has been analyzed as a prelude to a new honeymoon despite military tension on the two capitals.
  • Tsipras has now more room for maneuver in relations with his counterpart, after the resignation of Panos Kammenos, the nationalist defense minister, leader of ANEL. Moreover, his charisma has helped to resolve the Macedonian issue after 27 years of conflict, and has given him leeway to tackle the Cyprus one.
  • Finally, the economy was also part of Tsipras visit. Both countries are struggling with common economic problems that focus on new transportation and tourism projects. Furthermore, energy was also discussed, especially the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, that will carry Russian natural gas across the Black Sea to the European side of Turkey and to the EU.

Project Syndicate – Joseph Stieglitz/ How can we tax footloose multinationals? 

  • There is one criticism to globalization that is very relevant: globalization has enabled large multinationals such as Apple to avoid paying tax.
  • For decades, multinational companies have defended a race to the bottom, defending the need to lower taxes below of its competitors, as it is the case of Ireland. In the US, this move culminated with Trump’s 2017 tax cut, which is currently leaving a mountain of debt.
  • Transfer pricing relies on the principle that taxes have to reflect where an economic activity occurs, but this is difficult to understand in a globalized economy, where products are crossing frontiers all the time in an unfinished state. The transfer price system assumes that we can establish arms-length values for each stage of the production process, and thereby assess the value added in each state, but the problem is that we can’t actually do it. The problem is worsened by a new aspect: the growing role of intellectual property and intangible.
  • Multinationals’ objective is to gain backing for reforms that continue the race to the bottom and maintain the chances for tax avoidance. Governments in some prosperous countries where these companies have significant political influence will support these efforts, and other advanced states will see this situation as an opportunity to benefit at the expense of different developing countries.

The New York Times – David E. Sanger & William J. Broad/ US revives secret program to sabotage Iranian misssiles and rockets 

  • There Trump government has accelerated a secret American package that will try to sabotage Iranian missiles and rockets, according to current and former administration officials, that belong to an expanding campaign by the USA to isolate Tehran.
  • As part of this policy, two Iranian attempts to launch satellites have failed within minutes, although, according to officials, it is impossible to exactly measure the success of this classified program, since it has never been publicly acknowledged.
  • The setbacks have not served to deter Iranian program since this week President Rouhani has vowed to “continue our path and our military power”. According to the American administration, Iran’s space program is merely a cover for the attempts to develop a ballistic missile in order to send nuclear warheads across continents.
  • In Warsaw, Mr. Pompeo is expected to repeat his warnings about the danger of Tehran’s missile program and to press European and Arab states to expand sanctions and missile defenses aimed at Iran but, there will almost certainly be no reference to the USA’s secret sabotage efforts.
  • POLITICO – David M. Herszenhorn & Nahal Toosi / Donald Trump’s diplomatic ‘dumpster fire’ on Iran

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ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 13/02/2019

The Guardian – Justin McCurry / North and South Korea to launch joint bid to host 2032 summer Olympics

  • Representatives from both Koreas are expected to develop a project to co-host the event on Friday in the already Olympic city of Seoul. The North Korean city of choice is still unknown, although the relatively advanced infrastructure of Pyongyang makes it an obvious choice.
  • South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in has favored a rapprochement with Pyongyang, and has also defended the idea that both countries could host the 2030 World Cup. They are already planning to send combined teams to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
  • The feasibility of inter-Korean Olympics will truly rest on the fate of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which will be the main topic of the talks between Trump and Kim Jong-un that will take place at the end of the month in Vietnam.
  • Sanctions that will practically make cooperation across the Korean border impossible are expected to stay unless Jong-un displays willingness to dismantle its nuclear program.

The New York Times – Carlota Gall / Turkey’s mass trials deepen wound left by attempted coup

  • Turkish courts will finish in a few weeks the 300 mass trials intended to put an end to the most traumatic event of the country’s recent history: the failed 2016 coup, where 251 people were killed and 2,000 were wounded.
  • The process has also served to widen political divisions in the country and deepen the sense of persecution among opponents of Erdogan. These adversaries have stressed that mass trials are emblematic of an increasingly arbitrary system of justice developed by Erdogan. The main accused of organizing the plot, Fethullah Gullen, currently lives in the United States, and no extradition seems to take place soon.
  • Critics to the process say that these mass trials represent collective punishment, which has reached far beyond the leaders of the coup effort. Judge Orhan Gazi Ertekin, co-chairman of the Democratic Judiciary Association, described this trials as focused on political choices, not acts: “It is to turn political conviction into penal conviction”.
  • Under this mass trial, even judges are under pressure. Concerning data, some 3,000 judges have been purged in the crackdown since the coup attempt, and some leaders where replace in the medium of the trial, which is itself a violation.
  • Al-Monitor – Amberin Zaman /Ankara rounds up more ‘Gulenist’ military pilots

Euractiv – Florence Schulz / CDU discussion workshop on migration and asylum: ‘what have we learnt?’

  • The Christian Democratic Union held a discussion on 10 and 11 February in order to fully revise German and communitarian asylum and migration policies. The meeting was organized by the current leader of the party, Annegret Kramp-Karrembauer, in order to establish a pragmatic approach towards the future.
  • In order to improve the asylum system, the German cabinet adopted an “immigration law for specialized workers” in December. Among other issues, it gives a two and a half year grace period to rejected asylum seekers who have been in work for 18 months.
  • Several experts were invited to discuss future policies. One of the most relevant speeches was given by Gerald Knaus, chair of the Euorpean Stability Initiative, who defended the need to form coalitions among Germany and other communitarian states such as Spain. He also defended the creation of a mass holding center in the Mediterranean.
  • The workshop has been seen as an opportunity of AKK to define herself against current chancellor Merkel, who did not participate in the discussions. Despite critics who call her “Mini Merkel”, she is more conservative than the chancellor towards refugee policy.
  • POLITICO – Florian Eder, Andre Gray & Stephen Brown / German CDU chief: Europe must adapt to survive

Financial Times Jim Brunsden & Rochelle Toplensky / France calls for biggest shake up of EU merger rule in 30 years

  • Paris has called for the biggest shake-up of EU merger rule in three decades as a response for last week’s decision to block the partnership between German and French train manufacturers Siemens and Alstom.
  • The French economy minister, Bruno le Marie has expressed his anger towards Brussels, calling for the creation of “European industrial champions”. Speaking with the German finance minister, Olaf Scholz, he defended a three-point plan of rule changes, one of which gives national leaders to overturn Commission merger decisions.
  • Another proposal refers to Brussels being more systematic in the evaluation of competition risks based on companies’ market share at the global level.
  • This decision comes as a result of a change in the European political climate due to a growing concern over Chine state-backed companies, especially after the $4.5bn takeover of robot maker Kuka by Chinese appliance maker Midea.



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