Al-Monitor – Bryant Harris / Trump has threatened to blow up the Iran deal — here are his options
- US President Donald Trump is likely to reinstate a first batch of congressional sanctions lifted under the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) when his waiver authority expires on May 12.
- Reinstating sanctions on May 12 would inhibit Tehran’s ability to export oil by threatening so-called secondary sanctions on countries that engage in transactions with Iran’s Central Bank. If a country imports Iranian oil, any banks facilitating the transaction risk being cut off from the US financial system.
- But the law also allows the US president to exempt a country from financial isolation if he certifies that a bank has “significantly reduced” Iranian oil purchases. The EU could also impose so-called “blocking regulations”, but US sanctions may still manage to scare risk-averse firms out of the Iranian market.
- After the looming May 12 deadline, Trump faces three more waiver deadlines in July. If he does not renew them, he would have to reimpose a host of other sanctions.
- The JCPOA has no formal exit mechanism. However, under its dispute resolution mechanism, any party may treat an “unresolved issue” as grounds to “cease performing its commitments under the JCPOA” while the issue moves to the UN Security Council for review. The council then has a month to resolve the issue. If it can’t, all the multilateral sanctions lifted under the JCPOA resume, in effect killing the deal.
Bloomberg – Andre Tartar, et al. / How China is buying its way into Europe
- Bloomberg has compiled the most comprehensive audit to date of China’s presence in Europe. It shows that China has bought or invested in assets amounting to at least $318 billion over the past 10 years. The continent saw roughly 45 percent more China-related activity than the U.S. during this period.
- Since 2008, approximately 360 EU firms have been taken over by Chinese private or state-owned corporations. There have also been 355 mergers, investments and joint ventures for which terms were not disclosed, and greenfield developments or stock-market operations totaling at least $40 billion.
- More than half of the known investment total is concentrated in Europe’s five largest economies. The Chinese have participated in deals worth $70 billion in the UK alone. But it is at the periphery where China has made some of its biggest infrastructure plays, such as purchasing Greece’s Piraeus port.
- While Germany, France and Italy are pushing for an EU-wide investment screening mechanism, governments in Greece, Portugal and Cyprus are skeptical of such a move.
The Guardian – Julian Borger / US and North Korea expectations over denuclearization appear to collide
- In the same report on Friday to the Workers Party of Korea in which he declared a halt to nuclear and ICBM testing, Kim Jong-un made clear that such steps were possible because his regime had completed work on building a viable nuclear deterrent.
- Kim said the North Korean arsenal was a “powerful treasured sword for defending peace” and an insurance policy for future generations: “a firm guarantee by which our descendants can enjoy the most dignified and happiest life.”
- Joshua Pollack, editor of the Nonproliferation Review: “For the North Koreans, the principle of denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula does not mean unilateral disarmament … They couch it in terms of global disarmament.”
- The Trump administration has previously rejected a “freeze-for-freeze” deal (testing moratorium in return for sanctions relief), but in its desire to claim a diplomatic victory, it might have to settle for far less than it had hoped from the summit with Kim.
Politico – Arnau Busquets Guàrdia & Lili Bayer / Breaking down the EU budget
- EU Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger will present his proposal for the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) on May 2.
- The current seven-year budget amounted to some €1 trillion, and if the European Commission gets its way, the next one will be at least as big despite Britain leaving.
- 18 out of the 28 EU countries were net beneficiaries of EU funds in 2016. With the exception of Spain, the EU’s biggest economies contributed more than they got in return.
- (Check out the article’s graphic guide to some of the key issues in the budget battle.)
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.