ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 09/04/2018

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Politico – Lili Bayer / Orbán wins landslide to secure third straight term

  • Viktor Orbán’s right-wing Fidesz party won a landslide victory in Hungary’s general election on Sunday.
  • Fidesz is expected to take 133 of the Hungarian parliament’s 199 seats. Such a two-thirds “super-majority” would allow the party to change the constitution on its own.
  • Joseph Daul, the European People’s Party president, tweeted his support for Fidesz ahead of the election, saying Orbán and his allies would “continue to bring stability and prosperity” to Hungary.
  • A senior Fidesz official said the anti-migrant message was key. “It is simply the fear of migrants. Fidesz did a single-issue campaign and it was successful.”
  • The second-largest party will be the far-right Jobbik, with 26 seats. Its leader Gábor Vona, who had tried to give the party a more centrist image, said he would resign.

The New York Times – Ben Hubbard & Julie Hirschfeld Davis / As Trump seeks way out of Syria, new attack pulls him back in

  • Days after President Trump said he wanted to pull the US out of Syria, Syrian forces hit a suburb of Damascus with bombs that rescue workers said unleashed toxic gas.
  • Trump blamed Iran and Russia — even singling out President Putin by name — for their support of the Syrian government.
  • Trump’s homeland security adviser, Thomas P. Bossert, said the White House had been discussing possible responses and would not rule out a missile strike.
  • Foes of the US have cheered the prospect of an American withdrawal. But America’s regional allies, including Israel, Saudi Arabia and its partners in Syria, dread it.
  • Senator John McCain even argued that Trump’s talk of a rapid withdrawal had emboldened Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to use chemical weapons, and called for a response to the attack.

Financial Times – Lawrence Summers / Donald Trump trade threats lack credibility

  • Globalisation and trade have caused significant disruption to the US economy but this has had little to do with trade agreements of the last generation. Moreover, too much conventional analysis fails to recognise job gains from exports.
  • The reality is that the US economy was largely open by the 1980s and that every major trade agreement has reduced other nations’ trade barriers by far more than it altered any American trade barriers.
  • The real reason for economic disruption was not trade agreements but the fact that emerging markets have become major participants in the global economy.
  • Bilateral trade bluster is not an effective strategy for the US. Causing most of the world to rally to China’s side makes it easier for Beijing to resist Washington, and it also undercuts the effectiveness of US sanctions.
  • “I return from a recent meeting with senior Chinese officials with the clear sense that they are more bemused than alarmed by what they see as a boomeranging US approach.”

European Council on Foreign Relations – Andrew Lebovich / Blocked arteries: The EU’s problem with African integration

  • As it currently stands, African countries conduct 84% of their trade with states outside Africa, with the result that many of their industries are designed around exports to European and other markets, or around extractive industries.
  • Last month, representatives and heads of state from 44 African countries launched the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA). However, there is still a lot of work to be done on African integration, and European policies continue to inadvertently hamper such initiatives.
  • The European Union is currently inhibiting freedom of movement within Africa. Since 2015, the EU’s focus has been on tamping down migration at all costs.
  • Developing a more holistic EU migration policy – one that moves away from the current security focus by allowing for some legal migration, as well as investment in Africa and improved legal protection for migrants – would help alleviate Europe’s concerns about migration and spur economic growth in Africa.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces. 

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