ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 21/06/2018

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The New York Times – Patrick Kingsley / Hungary criminalizes aiding illegal immigrants

  • Yesterday, on World Refugee Day, the Hungarian Parliament approved a package of laws that criminalizes the act of helping undocumented migrants and creates a parallel court system.
  • The government named the legislation the “Stop Soros” bill. The laws are the first major measures to be passed since Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban led his far-right party, Fidesz, to an increased parliamentary majority in April.
  • Under the terms of a new law, helping migrants legalize their status in Hungary by distributing information about the asylum process or providing them with financial assistance could result in a 12-month jail term.
  • In a separate measure, the Hungarian Constitution was amended to make it illegal to “settle foreign populations” in Hungary.
  • Parliament also altered the Constitution to provide for a parallel court system to deal with cases related to public administration. Critics worry the new courts could be stacked with Orban loyalists and used to try politically sensitive cases.
  • CNN – Stephen Collinson, et al. / Trump reverses course, signs order to keep families together

Washington Post – Ishaan Tharoor / Spain comes to the defense of Europe

  • While the thorny debate over migration roils across Europe, Spain stands somewhat apart. Over the past couple of decades, few countries in the West have taken in more immigrants than Spain.
  • Although former Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was a somewhat subdued actor on the European stage, his successor Pedro Sánchez is set to play a bigger role. Sánchez’s party has little room to pass significant legislation, but the executive has freer rein over foreign policy.
  • Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell supported the efforts taken by some countries, including Spain, to hash out deals with African nations as well as boost development there. “This is not a matter of charity,” he said, but of economic interest and humanitarian duty.
  • Borrell also recognizes the broader challenges of the political moment. “We are living what can be called the counter-shock of globalization,” he said. “Social democracy once represented 40 percent of the voters everywhere, from Sweden to Spain, from United Kingdom to Greece. And now it’s the party of 20 percent in the best of the cases everywhere … We have the opportunity of proving again that we can provide solutions in the way we did in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Bruegel – Andrei Marcu & Georg Zachmann / Europe needs a fresh approach to climate strategy

  • The current EU climate strategy – the 2050 Low-Carbon Roadmap of 2011 – needs to be replaced. Its level of ambition is not any more in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, which calls for net-zero emissions by the middle of the century.
  • The EU must: (1) develop guidance on EU climate policy and related EU member state policy; (2) deliver a strategy to the UNFCCC; (3) ensure coherence with the proposed Governance of the Energy Union regulation; (4) guide industry investment decisions; and (5) provide a vehicle for engaging EU citizens and stakeholders in decisions.
  • A sequence of climate strategies, addressing different EU needs and obligations, should be developed, and build on one another. Therefore, the European Commission should publish three distinct climate strategy documents.
  • The process of developing the new climate strategy can generate the necessary broad discussion on the nature of the upcoming challenges, and how to address the inevitable trade-offs. Such a discussion is necessary to generate long-term buy-in from all stakeholder

South China Morning Post – Frank Tang / China’s rust-belt region has a new hope for revival: North Korea

  • The Chinese province of Liaoning, which shares a long border with North Korea, is looking to woo foreign and private investment inflows along with eased geopolitical tensions in the Korean peninsula.
  • China’s vast northeastern region, which covers Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces, is home to about 120 million people and is about the size of France and the UK combined.
  • However, the region has become the sick man of the Chinese economy. Liaoning, for instance, registered a rare 2.5 per cent contraction of its gross domestic product in 2016.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping told North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that China was very pleased to see “the significant decision by Pyongyang to shift priority to economic development” and China will support North Korea’s efforts in developing its economy.

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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