ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 04/12/2018

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The Guardian – Steven Carrell / UK can stop article 50 without EU approval, top ECJ adviser says

  • Manuel Campos Sánchez-Bordona, an advocate general for the European Court of Justice, said he believed EU law allowed the UK to revoke article 50 without requiring the formal agreement of the European commission or other EU member states.
  • The UK government and European commission had insisted that the Brexit process could only be stopped by unanimous agreement.
  • While the opinion from Campos Sánchez-Bordona is not binding on the judges, it is unusual for the ECJ to reach a decision which contradicts the advice of an advocate general.
  • If the court endorses his opinion, anti-Brexit campaigners will seize on the ruling as proof that Brexit can be reversed by MPs more smoothly than the UK government has argued.

Financial Times – Guy Chazan & Henry Foy / Frontrunners to succeed Merkel raise questions over Russian pipeline

  • The frontrunners to succeed Angela Merkel as leader of the German Christian Democrats have questioned the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, saying Russia’s recent actions in the Sea of Azov should prompt a reappraisal of the project.
  • Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is Merkel’s favored successor, said Russia’s actions in recent weeks had shown how Nord Stream 2 “is not just an economic project but a political one”, although she rejected a call to pull out of the project.
  • Friedrich Merz, who is predicted by polls to be Kramp-Karrenbauer’s main rival, also weighed in to the Nord Stream 2 debate, saying that the “more the conflict in Ukraine escalates, the more the question arises: is it really right to build this pipeline?”
  • Despite mounting concerns, Nord Stream 2 is going ahead according to plan. Last week, Russia’s state-owned Gazprom, which controls the project, said 300km of pipeline had been built, and work was ongoing in Finnish and German waters.
  • Brookings / Around the halls: Brookings experts on what to watch at the COP 24 climate summit

The New York Times – Cade Metz & Raymond Zhong / Race is on to protect data from next leap in computers. And China has the lead.

  • The world’s leading technology companies, from Google to Alibaba in China, are racing to build the first quantum computer, a machine that would be far more powerful than today’s computers.
  • This device could break the encryption that protects digital information, putting at risk everything from the billions of dollars spent on e-commerce to national secrets stored in government databases.
  • While building quantum computers is still anyone’s game, China has a clear lead in quantum encryption. In the US, researchers have instead focused on using ordinary mathematics to build new forms of encryption that can stand up to a quantum computer. This technology would not require new infrastructure.
  • But now, spurred by activity in China, some in the US are playing catch-up. While small start-ups are unlikely to match the millions of dollars in infrastructure already created in China for quantum encryption, the US Department of Energy is funding a test network in Chicago that could eclipse the kind of systems deployed in China.

Project Syndicate – Joseph E. Stiglitz / Beyond GDP

  • GDP is not a good measure of wellbeing. What we measure affects what we do, and if we measure the wrong thing, we will do the wrong thing.
  • Better indicators would have revealed the highly negative and possibly long-lasting effects of the deep post-2008 downturn on productivity and wellbeing, in which case policymakers might not have been so enamored of austerity.
  • The OECD has constructed a Better Life Index, containing a range of metrics that better reflect what constitutes and leads to wellbeing. It also supported the High Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, which last week issued its report, Beyond GDP: Measuring What Counts for Economic and Social Performance.
  • The new report explores several wellbeing-related topics like trust, insecurity, inequality and sustainability. And it explains how inadequate metrics have led to deficient policies in many areas.

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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