The ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 22/09/2017

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Politico—T. McTague / Theresa May’s Florentine gambit

  • In a speech on Friday afternoon in Florence, British Prime Minister Theresa May will announce that her government wants a time-limited transition period –lasting no longer than two years—once the U.K. leaves the bloc.
  • This would not be an “implementation period”, but instead a grace period to prevent a regulatory cliff edge.
  • European diplomats insist that EU law must remain in place during a transition. A two-year transition is, in many respects, Brexit delayed until 2021.
  • For Brexiteers, the unpleasant medicine of transition was washed down with a spoonful of Euroskeptic sugar — a promise not to pursue an “EEA minus” final destination. But without freedom of movement and large annual payments to Brussels, EEA membership is a non-starter.
  • Michel Barnier has insisted that the U.K. can take its pick from the different models of EU association available, but it cannot pick and choose elements of several of those options.

Bruegel—S. Tagliapietra & G. Zachmann / Reinforcing the EU energy industry transformation: stronger policies needed

  • The European energy system is going through a profound transformation as two trends reshape it: decarbonisation and digitalisation. The latter can be an important catalyst for the former.
  • Increasing digitalisation also enables the European energy system to become more decentralised, with greater interaction between services (electricity, heat, transport, data) that used to be largely separate.
  • To fully unleash the transformation of oil and gas companies, even stronger policy signals are needed, such as a meaningful carbon pricing. Otherwise, these companies might decide to continue in a business-as-usual mode, at best just refocusing their activities on gas.
  • The ongoing structural transformation of the European energy system requires a parallel structural transformation of the policy framework. This should become a priority of the EU Energy Union initiative.

The Guardian—J. McCurry & J. Borger / Japan braces as North Korea threatens hydrogen bomb test in Pacific

  • North Korea’s foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho, said Pyongyang could respond to Trump’s recent threat of military action by testing a powerful nuclear weapon in the Pacific.
  • “It could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific,” said Ri, who is due to address the UN general assembly at the weekend.
  • An atmospheric nuclear test of the kind that has only ever been conducted by the US and China could pose a risk to aircraft and shipping, even if the North declares a keep-out zone.
  • In a response to Donald Trump’s UNGA speech, Kim called the U.S. President “mentally deranged” and “a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire.” “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire,” added Kim.
  • The North Korea leader is thought to be the first of three generations of the Kim dynasty to publicly read out a statement aimed at the international community in his own name.
  • The statement came just hours after Trump issued a new executive order that expands US sanctions on North Korea’s shipping, banking, ports and manufacturing. Trump also claimed China’s banking system had shut down business with the country.

Foreign Policy—S. Walt / Great powers are defined by their great wars

  • Major wars have powerful and long-lasting effects on a nation’s subsequent foreign or military policy, independent of the country’s relative power, regime type, or the character of particular leaders.
  • For most of the major powers, the last great war is still World War II. Its enormous impact still reverberates in countries like the UK, Japan, Germany, Russia and also the US.
  • World War II reinforced the notion that America was the “indispensable” power that must lead everywhere, even if this notion ignores the far greater role played by the Soviet Union in defeating Germany.
  • In the case of China, however, World War II is not the dominant historical event shaping its behavior today. The Century of Humiliation plays a more important role.
  • If events like Hurricane Harvey become the norm rather than the exception, maybe coping with recurring natural disasters will become how states and societies define themselves and their heroes from now on, instead of wars.

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

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