The ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 25/09/2017

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Politico—M. Karnitschnig / Angela’s ashes: 5 takeaways from the German election

  • Merkel won, but support for her party fell by more than 20 percent compared to 2013. As a response to that, look for the chancellor to inch to the right on migration and questions related to “German identity.”
  • German patience over Europe’s lack of solidarity on the refugee front was already wearing thin. After Sunday’s result, look for outright confrontation with countries like Poland and Hungary.
  • The inclusion of the far right in parliament will make German politics louder and nastier. The coming years won’t be pretty, but Germany’s democratic foundations are robust enough to withstand the populist onslaught.
  • With the option of a grand coalition now off the table, France and Germany may agree to establish some form of budget and an oversight position for the eurozone with the title of finance minister, but the reforms will not have the scope the French had been hoping for.

France 24 / French conservatives retain Senate majority as Macron’s party suffers setback

  • French President Emmanuel Macron’s La République en marche (LREM) suffered a setback in Senate elections on Sunday.
  • Initial results from the vote to renew 171 of 348 Senate seats were expected to leave LREM with only 20-30 senators.
  • Les Républicains, on the other hand, were looking at holding around 150 seats after the election, up from 142 presently.
  • French senators are elected by local and national lawmakers, not the general public, which put LREM at a significant disadvantage because the party is not yet present nationwide.
  • Despite the poor showing, Sunday’s election outcome is not expected to undercut Macron’s ability to push through his economic reform agenda since it is the lower house that has the final say on legislation. The outcome will however make it harder for Macron to reform the French Constitution.

Financial Times—T. Mitchell & D. Sevastopulo / Wang Qishan’s Bannon ties fuel talk of second term

  • The recent “secret” meeting between Wang Qishan –the Chinese anti-graft tsar—and Steve Bannon was consistent with Beijing’s rapidly growing interest in US economic nationalism.
  • Although people familiar with the arrangements for this month’s encounter –initiated by Wang—said Bannon travelled to Beijing as a private citizen and not as an unofficial envoy for President Trump, it echoed earlier instances of secret diplomacy between the US and China.
  • Some observers have questioned why the party would allow its anti-graft tsar to speak to Bannon rather than another senior official, such as premier Li Keqiang or vice-premier Wang Yang, who are officially responsible for economic and trade issues with the US.
  • This has also stoked speculation that Wang, though at 69 already past the assumed retirement age for senior Communist officials, may be tapped by President Xi Jinping for a second five-year term at the Politburo Standing Committee, or even be appointed Premier.

Al-Monitor—M. Gurcan / As EU ties chill, UK-Turkey defense cooperation thrives

  • “Just as in 1580s, when England and the Ottoman Empire entered into economic and security cooperation against the Catholic bloc in continental Europe, today the same dynamics stimulated the cooperation between Turkey and England,” said a senior British diplomat in January 2017.
  • Defense, the aerospace industry and security are the most visible fields of cooperation between Turkey and the UK, especially after relations between Turkey and Germany in these fields deteriorated.
  • Turkey has never before developed and manufactured a warplane. Lacking the experience and human resources for such a monumental project, Turkey needs an experienced partner such as the UK.
  • London has been closely monitoring the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt and expressing solidarity with Turkey while other European countries remained aloof. Turkey’s Deputy Defense Minister recently emphasized Britain’s support for Turkey’s efforts against terror and the Fethullah Gulen movement.

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

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