The ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 01/06/2017

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Project Syndicate—George Soros / Standing Up for Europe

  • The EU’s threats come as much from within as from outside. The Eurozone, for instance, became an arrangement whereby creditor countries dictated terms to debtor countries that couldn’t meet their obligations.
  • The top-down approach that Jean Monnet used to launch European integration in the 1950s carried the process a long way, before losing momentum. Now Europe needs a collaborative effort that combines the EU institutions’ top-down approach with the bottom-up initiatives needed to engage the electorate.
  • The EU has become an organization in which the Eurozone constitutes the inner core and the other members are relegated to an inferior position. This must change. The euro’s many unresolved problems must not be allowed to destroy the EU.
  • Replacing a “multi-speed” Europe with a “multi-track” Europe that allows member states a wider variety of democratic choices would have a far-reaching beneficial effect.
  • The EU can transform itself into an organization that other countries, even Britain, want to join.
  • Hungarians have resisted the deception and corruption of the mafia state President Orbán has established, and it is encouraging to see the European institutions’ energetic response to the challenges emanating from Poland and Hungary. While the path ahead is perilous, in such struggles one can see the prospect of the EU’s revival.

Foreign Policy—Katharine Hayhoe / Yeah, the Weather Has Been Weird

  • From 1981 to 2002, it’s estimated that warming temperatures were responsible for an average of $5 billion worth of wheat, maize, and barley losses each year around the world.
  • The most dangerous myth we’ve bought into is the idea that climate change is a future concern, one that we can address or ignore without immediate consequence.
  • It’s not about moving climate change “up” our priority list. Climate change should not be an issue on our lists at all, because the reality is that a changing climate affects nearly every one of those things that are already on our priority lists.
  • Science will not help convince some of the deniers. Agreeing on the impacts and solutions matters much more than agreeing on the science.
  • While less than 50% of people in the USA agree that climate is changing mostly because of human activities, more than 80% agree that it makes sense to invest in renewable energy.
  • Two degrees isn’t a magic number that will avert all negative consequences, but it puts a limit on the experiment we’ve been conducting inadvertently since the onset of the Industrial Revolution. The Paris Agreement on climate change gives us a viable target.

POLITICO—S. Faris & C. Lee / In the age of Trump, Beijing pivots to Europe

  • The most important person at this week’s EU-China summit—Donald Trump—won’t be in attendance.
  • If the transatlantic tide is to recede, China wants to be able to take advantage of the vacuum.
  • The two sides still disagree fiercely at the WTO over Chinese dumping and market economy status, and there are increasing European concerns about foreign investment restrictions. This week’s gathering follows China’s Belt and Road summit that several European leaders declined to attend.
  • But Chinese involvement in Europe continues to grow. China is already the EU’s second-biggest trading partner after the U.S. And the bloc is Beijing’s largest trading partner.
  • China supports European integration and, after Brexit, has shifted the focus of its attention from London to the Continent.
  • The Chinese mission this week is to undercut U.S. leadership in global trade and to make sure that rising levels of European anxieties don’t turn into a problem.

Financial Times—R. Waters / Meeker sees US-Asian rivalry driving internet’s next chapter

  • According to Mary Meeker, the former US internet analyst who is still most closely associated with the dotcom boom of the 1990s, future competition between the digital giants is likely to take place on the global stage.
  • The internet markets in China and India have each reached a scale where they are poised to have a strong beneficial impact on their national economies.
  • Their mobile payment infrastructures, for instance, put both countries “in an enviable position relative to the rest of the world”.
  • Ms Meeker says she is “highly confident” that new categories of online activity will emerge, with new companies to dominate them.

POLITICO—D. M. Herszenhorn / Primer for President Trump: How NATO funding really works

  • Contrary to what President Trump recently suggested, relatively little money ever pours in to NATO. When it comes to the money that does go directly into NATO coffers, there is a strict cost-sharing formula — and allies are all paying their share.
  • Should allies decide to meet Trump’s demand for increased military spending, the money will never pour in. Actually, individual NATO members would be spending more money on their own military forces, equipment and weapons.
  • Americans are paying far less than Germans, roughly $1.68 per person for the 2017 NATO budget. On a per capita basis, Germans are paying more than 2.5 times as much: $4.39 per person. (By this same math, the French are paying $3.88 per person, and Britons $3.69 per person.)
  • To be fair, Trump’s point is that the important spending by NATO allies is not on the relatively small annual budget for headquarters, but on the soldiers, weapons, equipment and other capabilities that give the alliance its great military might.
  • In 2014, NATO allies pledged to work toward spending at least 2 percent of annual GDP on defense, a target currently met by the U.S. and just four other countries: Greece, Estonia, the U.K. and Poland.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo.  

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