ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 16/04/2018

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Financial Times – Tom Mitchell / China’s Xi Jinping says he is opposed to life-long rule

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping has said that he is “personally opposed” to life-long rule, , adding that foreign observers have “misinterpreted” the recent constitutional amendment.
  • Xi justified the decision in terms of needing to align the country’s three top government and Communist party jobs. Xi’s two more powerful posts — party general secretary and chairmanship of the party’s Central Military Commission — are not subject to term limits.
  • Mao’s successor, Deng Xiaoping, had term limits written into China’s constitution in an effort to bring more predictability to leadership transitions.
  • Yanmei Xie, analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics in Beijing: “Foreigners don’t understand that China needs a strong ruler … Xi isn’t Putin, he’s Peter the Great.”
  • The New York Times – Alexandra Stevenson / China’s communists rewrite the rules for foreign businesses

Euractiv – Fréderic Simon / Brussels hails UN deal to halve shipping emissions by 2050

  • At an International Maritime Organization session last week in London, over 170 countries reached an agreement to reduce CO2 emissions from shipping by “at least” 50% on 2008 levels by 2050.
  • The compromise plan to halve shipping emissions by 2050 leaves the door open to deeper cuts in the future, placing a strong emphasis on scaling up action to 100% by mid-century.
  • The more ambitious targets of the EU were met with opposition from some countries — including the United States, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Panama. Nonetheless, the European Commission hailed the deal as “a significant step forward” in the global effort to tackle climate change.
  • Shipping currently represents 2-3% of global CO2 emissions and could reach 10% by 2050 if no action is taken, the Commission reminded.
  • The initial strategy will not be legally binding for member states, and a final IMO plan is not expected until 2023.

Politico – Pierre Briançon / France wants more ambitious, tougher EU budget

  • French President Emmanuel Macron has, in his own words, “ambitious” aims for the next European budget covering the years 2021 to 2027, and will push for the financing of what he sees as the EU’s new priorities — such as innovation and digitization, security and border protection, and defense.
  • The European Commission is expected to unveil its proposal for the budget early next month. Shortly thereafter, Macron has said, France and Germany will try to come up with a common view on the Brussels draft.
  • From its current 1 percent of the EU’s gross domestic product, the budget might end up amounting to 1.1 percent of the bloc’s GDP, according to a senior European Commission official.
  •  “A big discussion [between France and Germany] will be on the Common Agricultural Policy,” the senior Commission official said. Although Macron has promised change, so far he has never hinted that his reform ideas could lead to cutting CAP spending.
  • The most contentious element of Macron’s approach is that he wants part of the spending to be made conditional on member countries’ policies. That proposal would put Poland and Hungary in the crosshairs, although Macron has refrained from naming them explicitly.

The Atlantic – Martin Indyk / A Trump doctrine for the Middle East

  • The real message of President Trump’s address regarding Syria on Friday was far more restrained than National Security Advisor John Bolton or Trump himself reportedly desired. Still, Trump could have easily insisted on a more substantial attack, but he did not.
  • “We cannot purge the world of evil or act everywhere there is tyranny,” Trump said. “No amount of American blood or treasure can produce lasting peace and security in the Middle East. It’s a troubled place.”
  • In other words, there will be no US effort to overthrow Bashar al-Assad, or any other Middle Eastern tyrant. Trump has in effect now declared that in the Middle East he will, just like his predecessor and archrival Barack Obama, lead from behind.
  • We should not imagine that John Bolton is going to change the basic elements that make up the Trump doctrine for the Middle East.

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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