The Guardian – Justin McCurry / North and South Korea to launch joint bid to host 2032 summer Olympics
- Representatives from both Koreas are expected to develop a project to co-host the event on Friday in the already Olympic city of Seoul. The North Korean city of choice is still unknown, although the relatively advanced infrastructure of Pyongyang makes it an obvious choice.
- South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in has favored a rapprochement with Pyongyang, and has also defended the idea that both countries could host the 2030 World Cup. They are already planning to send combined teams to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
- The feasibility of inter-Korean Olympics will truly rest on the fate of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which will be the main topic of the talks between Trump and Kim Jong-un that will take place at the end of the month in Vietnam.
- Sanctions that will practically make cooperation across the Korean border impossible are expected to stay unless Jong-un displays willingness to dismantle its nuclear program.
The New York Times – Carlota Gall / Turkey’s mass trials deepen wound left by attempted coup
- Turkish courts will finish in a few weeks the 300 mass trials intended to put an end to the most traumatic event of the country’s recent history: the failed 2016 coup, where 251 people were killed and 2,000 were wounded.
- The process has also served to widen political divisions in the country and deepen the sense of persecution among opponents of Erdogan. These adversaries have stressed that mass trials are emblematic of an increasingly arbitrary system of justice developed by Erdogan. The main accused of organizing the plot, Fethullah Gullen, currently lives in the United States, and no extradition seems to take place soon.
- Critics to the process say that these mass trials represent collective punishment, which has reached far beyond the leaders of the coup effort. Judge Orhan Gazi Ertekin, co-chairman of the Democratic Judiciary Association, described this trials as focused on political choices, not acts: “It is to turn political conviction into penal conviction”.
- Under this mass trial, even judges are under pressure. Concerning data, some 3,000 judges have been purged in the crackdown since the coup attempt, and some leaders where replace in the medium of the trial, which is itself a violation.
- Al-Monitor – Amberin Zaman /Ankara rounds up more ‘Gulenist’ military pilots
Euractiv – Florence Schulz / CDU discussion workshop on migration and asylum: ‘what have we learnt?’
- The Christian Democratic Union held a discussion on 10 and 11 February in order to fully revise German and communitarian asylum and migration policies. The meeting was organized by the current leader of the party, Annegret Kramp-Karrembauer, in order to establish a pragmatic approach towards the future.
- In order to improve the asylum system, the German cabinet adopted an “immigration law for specialized workers” in December. Among other issues, it gives a two and a half year grace period to rejected asylum seekers who have been in work for 18 months.
- Several experts were invited to discuss future policies. One of the most relevant speeches was given by Gerald Knaus, chair of the Euorpean Stability Initiative, who defended the need to form coalitions among Germany and other communitarian states such as Spain. He also defended the creation of a mass holding center in the Mediterranean.
- The workshop has been seen as an opportunity of AKK to define herself against current chancellor Merkel, who did not participate in the discussions. Despite critics who call her “Mini Merkel”, she is more conservative than the chancellor towards refugee policy.
- POLITICO – Florian Eder, Andre Gray & Stephen Brown / German CDU chief: Europe must adapt to survive
Financial Times – Jim Brunsden & Rochelle Toplensky / France calls for biggest shake up of EU merger rule in 30 years
- Paris has called for the biggest shake-up of EU merger rule in three decades as a response for last week’s decision to block the partnership between German and French train manufacturers Siemens and Alstom.
- The French economy minister, Bruno le Marie has expressed his anger towards Brussels, calling for the creation of “European industrial champions”. Speaking with the German finance minister, Olaf Scholz, he defended a three-point plan of rule changes, one of which gives national leaders to overturn Commission merger decisions.
- Another proposal refers to Brussels being more systematic in the evaluation of competition risks based on companies’ market share at the global level.
- This decision comes as a result of a change in the European political climate due to a growing concern over Chine state-backed companies, especially after the $4.5bn takeover of robot maker Kuka by Chinese appliance maker Midea.