ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 04/06/2018

EurActiv / Merkel offers Macron concessions on eurozone reforms

  • Merkel told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung ahead of a crunch EU summit this month that Germany as the eurozone’s top economy would support an investment budget whose total would be “at the lower end of the double-digit billions of euros range”.
  • “If the whole eurozone is in danger, the EMF [European Monetary Fund] must be able to grant long-term credit in order to help countries,” Merkel told the paper. “Such loans would be spread over 30 years and be conditioned on sweeping structural reforms.”
  • Germany and France, traditionally seen as the twin engines of European integration, plan to hold talks before the EU summit at the end of the month to coordinate their positions on reform of the bloc after Britain’s exit next year.
  • On Italy, Merkel sounded a conciliatory note despite the anti-German rhetoric of the governing parties, which have argued that Berlin’s austerity policies have helped bring many indebted countries in southern Europe to their knees.
  • However, Merkel said: “Solidarity between partners should never lead to a union of debt — it must be about helping others to help themselves,” she said.

Financial Times – Sam Fleming and Kadhim Shubber / G7 countries condemn US in rebuke over tariffs

  • Donald Trump will receive a cool reception from the G7 this week after US allies condemned his tariffs on steel and aluminium in a remarkable public rebuke of the group’s most powerful member.
  • It is rare to see such a public split in the G7, a group of democracies that traces its roots back to the 1970s, much less open criticism by its membership of the US, which normally is a leading force in guiding its agenda.
  • “It is hard to think of other instances in the postwar era where the US has stood so isolated from its traditional allies,” said Eswar Prasad, former head of the International Monetary Fund’s China division. “The era of US leadership of the G7 and of the broader international community is apparently coming to an end.”
  • Brussels has said it will enact retaliatory tariffs on US exports and bring a case to the World Trade Organization, while Canada said it would impose tariffs on up to $12.8bn worth of US imports.
  • Bruegel – Francesco Chiacchio & Konstantinos Efstathiou / Trade wars: Just how exposed are EU Member States and industries to the US market?

The New York Times – Motoko Rich / North Korea Says Syria’s Assad Will Visit With Kim

  • President Bashar al-Assad of Syria plans to visit North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, suggesting that Mr. Kim is continuing his outreach to American adversaries even as he courts President Trump.
  • Mr. Assad and Mr. Kim have much in common. Both are heirs to family dynasties in countries that have long thumbed their noses at the international system, and have a shared interest in developing powerful weapons.
  • “Assad’s trip could again derail the newly resurrected summit or, at the least, cast a dark shadow,” said Bruce Klingner, a Korea specialist at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. “Of all the dictators in the world to meet, Kim had to pick the one that the U.S. has recently attacked and for which Trump has particular disdain.”
  • Although Mr. Trump and officials from the North seemed to have smoothed things over, analysts said in announcing a visit from Mr. Assad North Korea could be maneuvering for another tactical advantage in advance of the summit.

South China Morning Post – Liu Zhen / France, Britain to sail warships in contested South China Sea to challenge Beijing

  • France and Britain will sail warships through the South China Sea to challenge Beijing’s expanding military presence in the disputed waters, their defence ministers said on Sunday.
  • French armed forces minister Florence Parly said although France was not a claimant in the South China Sea disputes, by conducting such exercises “on a regular basis with allies and friends” it was contributing to a rule-based order.
  • The Pentagon is reportedly considering a more assertive approach in the region which, compared to their previous freedom of navigation operations, could involve longer patrols, more ships and closer surveillance of Chinese facilities such as electronic jamming equipment and advanced military radars.
  • Beijing’s representatives responded to the French and British plans by saying the South China Sea is free and open for all to travel through, and there would be no restrictions on normal freedom of navigation. “But violation of China’s sovereignty will not be allowed,” said Lieutenant General He Lei.
  • Last week, two US warships came within 12 nautical miles of the Paracel Islands – which are claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan – and carried out manoeuvring operations.

The Atlantic – Ben Rhodes / Inside the White House During the Syrian ‘Red Line’ Crisis

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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