ESADEgeo’s Daily Digest, 08/05/2017

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Financial Times—W. Münchau / Emmanuel Macron gives Europe — and the eurozone — hope

  • Münchau: “I can think of no other politician in any EU country who has managed to win an election with an explicit eurozone-reform agenda.”
  • Macron might fail, but if an optimistic scenario for the Eurozone is to prevail, it has to begin this way: with a leader from a large country obtaining a clear reformist mandate.
  • Macron’s European agenda will be put on hold until the resolution of the German and Italian elections. In the meantime, he has to prove that he’s serious about following the treaty’s financial rules. The economic cycle in the EU is on his side.
  • Germany is happy about Macron’s win, but virtually nobody in Berlin is talking about his idea of a common Eurozone budget and finance minister.

South China Morning Post—S. Zheng / China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative’: what is it, who’s paying, who’ll benefit and who might lose out

  • The “Belt and Road Initiative” tries to create a modern Silk Road spanning some 65 countries. It includes both an economic land “belt” through Eurasia, and a maritime “road” to connect coastal Chinese cities to Africa and the Mediterranean.
  • Some observers argue that the initiative could establish China as a regional power, surpassing the impact of the Marshall Plan.
  • Neither China nor Japan have joined the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which will provide the initiative with funding. Although some European countries are as wary as the U.S. about Chinese intentions in Asia, many others see in the initiative a good opportunity for attracting Chinese investment.
  • A “Belt and Road Initiative” summit will take place on May 14-15 in Beijing. Top leaders from at least 28 countries have confirmed their attendance, including major southeast Asian leaders, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin. From the G7 countries, only Paolo Gentiloni is expected to show up.

Al-Monitor—U. Savir / What are European Union’s plans if Trump fails on Mideast peace?

  • Netanyahu’s refusal to meet German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has been interpreted, in both Brussels and Berlin, as a slap in the face of European leadership and as a signal that Israel rejects European involvement in any further US-led peace initiatives.
  • The EU is concerned about Netanyahu’s combative attitude since Trump took office and fears unrest in Palestine, partly due to settlement construction.
  • The EU expects Washington to initiate a regional peace conference on the Israeli-Palestinian issue and on the war on terror, without EU participation.
  • Any efforts to pursue a two-state solution will receive EU support, whether or not it is directly involved in the negotiations. If US President Donald Trump fails to advance his Middle East conference initiative, the EU will advance its own initiative for a third Paris conference.

POLITICO—H. Cooper & M. Solletty / ClientEarth targets European governments — and wins

  • NGO Client Earth is bringing American-style environmental activism to the European lobbying landscape, taking a more legalistic approach than most other NGOs.
  • Sixty ClientEarth lawyers across London, Brussels and Warsaw are holding governments accountable for their failures on air pollution, chemical regulations and transparency. ClientEarth has defeated the British government twice in British courts and once in the European Court of Justice over its failure to limit air pollution.
  • The case law ClientEarth helped develop is now closely watched by EU lawmakers.
  • James Thornton, ClientEarth: “What I’m trying to do is to make [the Commission’s] aspirations real. We want to take the aspirations of Europe and make them real and felt.”

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