ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 23/07/2019

Politico – Hans von der Burchard / Europe braces for Trump trade war

  • EU trade chief Cecilia Malmström has warned that the US is likely to soon impose retaliatory tariffs on up to $25 billion of European products, as part of a dispute over airline subsidies. Washington has also launched a trade investigation into France’s digital services tax.
  • It could get even worse. Seven Commission officials and EU diplomats said they fear Trump will carry out a long-standing threat to impose painful auto tariffs as early as November. The EU has said it is ready to retaliate with its own tariffs targeting €20 billion of US exports.
  • There is no indication that trade talks will move forward before then. The two sides have published conflicting negotiating directives, with the US demanding the inclusion of agriculture in the talks and the EU categorically excluding any farm products.
  • “My forecast is that by this November, the threats will get more tangible,” said Gary Hufbauer, of the Peterson Institute. “For example, a 10 percent auto tariff starting in February, and then threatening to increase it over the course of the year. That keeps the drum going ahead of the elections.”

European Council on Foreign Relations / Prominent Europeans call for change in approach to EU foreign policy

  • As the world descends into geopolitical competition, Europeans are in danger of becoming hapless playthings in a tussle for pre-eminence between China, Russia, and the US. But this can be avoided if Europeans take their destiny into their own hands.
  • We therefore call on the new EU leadership team, who will take over in late 2019, to understand the challenge that confronts them and receive the tools they need from EU governments to change Europe’s approach to foreign policy.
  • First, they must set out on a quest for strategic sovereignty for Europe. This should have economic and financial elements, security and defense elements, and political diplomatic ones.
  • Second, they must re-operationalize European security and defense. Europeans should take more responsibility for their security and become a better partner for the US by strengthening the European pillar in NATO. They must also consider innovations such as a European Security Council.
  • Third, they must build a stronger link between EU institutions in Brussels and national governments on foreign policy. If EU foreign policy is to be effective, it cannot just rely on the High Representative and Vice President to carry the political burden.

Turkish Minute / Readmission agreement with EU suspended, Turkish FM says

  • Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has announced that Turkey’s readmission agreement with the EU has been suspended.
  • Çavuşoğlu said the readmission agreement should have gone into effect simultaneously with a visa liberalization for Turkish citizens that has not been implemented despite being a part of the wider deal Turkey signed with the EU in March 2016.
  • Turkey refused to revise its anti-terror laws, which Brussels insisted were not compatible with European standards, thus deadlocking the visa liberalization part of the deal.
  • Çavuşoğlu’s announcement came soon after the EU adopted several sanctions for Turkey over its hydrocarbon drilling activities off Cyprus, which have led to tensions with Greece. “The EU only takes decisions to satisfy the Greek Cypriots and Greece. Their sanctions have no value,” said Çavuşoğlu.

Al-Monitor – Bruce Riedel / US troops return to Saudi Arabia after 16 years

  • American troops are coming back 16 years after they left Saudi Arabia. According to press reports, hundreds of American troops are deploying to Prince Sultan Air Base outside Riyadh as tensions with Iran spike.
  • Considering the deployment of American troops in the kingdom has never been popular with Saudis, the move underscores how concerned King Salman is about the regional situation. The government-controlled Saudi press has openly called for American military action in response to Iranian attacks on oil tankers.
  • The US Congress has made it clear that it wants the administration to fundamentally review American policy toward the kingdom and especially the crown prince. By sending American troops back to the air base, the Trump administration is acting in the opposite direction.
  • The new deployment makes the US a direct combatant in the Yemen war if Patriot missiles there are used to defend against Houthi attacks. The risk of miscalculation and escalating violence is growing. The crown prince may even believe that he can escape from the toxic consequences of his reckless behavior through a bigger crisis, even a regional conflict.
  • The Guardian – Mohammad Khatami / By punishing Iran, Trump risks a full-scale war between our two countries

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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