ESADEgeo Daily News Digest, 19/04/2017

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POLITICO, D. M. Herszenhorn: EU hopes snap election will boost May’s mandate

  • The view of senior officials in Brussels is that the projected outcome of the UK’s elections would give PM May a stronger mandate to negotiate an orderly, reasonable UK withdrawal from the EU.
  • The most bellicose “leave” supporters may be marginalized both in Parliament and in the press.
  • German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel: “Hopefully, the new election announced today by Prime Minister May can lead to more clarity and predictability in the negotiations”.
  • The next election will be pushed to 2022, which will vastly decrease the risk of a cliff-edge scenario for May. The UK’s PM will have more breathing room to negotiate, without the pressure of impending elections after the 2-year deadline. In contrast, the terms of both Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk finish in 2019.

Foreign Affairs, J. D. Colgan & R. O. Keohane: The Liberal Order Is Rigged

  • Today’s crucial foreign policy questions arise from domestic politics, rather than problems between countries.
  • Populism is threating the institutions in which the post-1945, Washington-led liberal order is based. This order has promoted peace and development, but it has evolved in a way that has eroded the social contract, leaving ordinary people out.
  • Developments in the UK and the USA, formerly the two major bulwarks of the liberal order, are a worrying example of this elite-driven phenomenon. Progressive measures to correct the effects of the current model are required.
  • The fall of the USSR removed the main “other” for Americans and Europeans, which reduced social cohesion and a common sense of purpose (“othering” authoritarian and illiberal countries is, therefore, needed now). “Multilateral overreach” is also partly to blame for the populist revolt.
  • In the US, a new national narrative is needed to counter the “America first” rhetoric, but addressing rather than dismissing the social problems that Trump’s success portrays.

Al-Monitor, K. Al-Khateb: FSA sees ‘golden opportunity’ with end of Turkey’s operations in Syria

  • The Free Syrian Army is conducting intense training in Aleppo’s countryside, taking advantage of the fact that it now has more time on its hands due to the end of Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria.
  • Col. Haitham Afisi, commander of the 51st Brigade affiliated with the FSA in Aleppo’s countryside, hopes that the training will result in forming a national army based in Aleppo’s countryside. “The 51st Brigade is one of the factions backed by the United States under a training program provided by the Pentagon,” he said.
  • Capt. Anis Haj, commander of al-Mu’tasim Brigade’s training camp near the city of Marea: “the FSA internal training camps come in preparation for the next military battles the FSA will lead against terrorist organizations, which include Assad’s regime and its supporting militias, and IS. The next battle may be in Raqqa, but for now, the FSA factions have not been informed of the next location.”

South China Morning Post, X. Yu: China eases yuan outflow controls in sign of recovered confidence

  • China has taken steps to relax its controls over yuan outflows, which indicates that Beijing is seeing greater confidence in the value of the Chinese currency and a smaller risk of capital exodus.
  • China’s foreign exchange reserves, a barometer of capital flows, increased in March for the second consecutive month.
  • After the policy relaxation (the first in outbound capital control in nearly two years), banks can now freely process outbound yuan payment and remittance requests from their corporate and individual clients.
  • China imposed capital account measures in late 2016 to curb money outflows, but the measures are widely perceived as counterproductive to China’s long-term strategy of boosting the yuan’s global use.

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