ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 26/07/2019

Financial Times – Kim Darrah / EU and Canada agree on interim alternative to WTO appeal court

  • The EU and Canada have agreed a new trade dispute resolution system as a temporary substitute to the WTO’s appeal court. The Trump administration has blocked replacements for retiring judges, and the body is just months away from being unable to take on new cases — a minimum of three judges are needed.
  • The agreement will be based on existing WTO rules but will only apply to disputes between Canada and the EU. Once the official WTO court collapses, appeals will instead be heard by retired appellate body judges. Individual judges for each case will be chosen by the WTO’s director-general from a pool of available former judges. 
  • As it stands, the court is still processing appeals, but its diminished roster of judges face a growing pile of delayed cases. According to WTO rules, appeals must take no longer than 90 days and judges must submit an explanation in writing if they cannot keep within this timeframe. Over the past two years, the average ruling has taken more than a year to complete, far exceeding this official deadline. 

Project Syndicate – Kemal Derviş / Which way now for the EU?

  • Several commentators say the EU’s new leaders should seek to strengthen Europe’s “strategic sovereignty” through greater pooling of member states’ resources and much closer policy coordination. This is certainly much needed, not least on eurozone matters.
  • But calls for increased strategic sovereignty often imply that a more integrated EU should become the third pillar of a “G3” world alongside the US and China. The EU should not aim for a world of constant G3 geostrategic rivalry, but rather one that upholds the values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Europe should use its hard and soft power to cooperate with all actors seeking to promote a rules-based global order. If, on the other hand, the EU’s new strategy makes it sound as if Europe just wants to become a pure power player in a transactional game of realpolitik, Europe’s soft power will weaken.
  • If the bloc is unable to enforce its values within its own borders – as is currently the case, for example, with Hungary – then it will not be able to promote them convincingly on the world stage.

Washington Post – David Ignatius / Instead of thanks, a critical US ally faces only more threats

  • The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces made enormous sacrifices in the obliteration of ISIS in Syria: it is estimated that 11,000 fighters were killed, 24,000 were wounded, and many thousands of civilians perished or were driven from their homes. US dead in the ISIS fight were fewer than 10.
  • And yet, President Trump announced last December that he wanted to quickly withdraw US troops from their support of the SDF and turn security in the area over to Turkey. Fortunately, Trump was talked out of that profoundly unwise move by his military and civilian advisers.
  • A new danger for the SDF is emerging because of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s threat this month to invade the Kurdish area in Syria, to crush what he claims is the Kurdish terrorist threat.
  • According to Gen. Mazloum Abdi (the commander of the SDF), if Turkey invades his fighters won’t be able to guard the prisons — which means that thousands of ISIS terrorists could be loosed on the world. Mazloum said he’s ready to support a US proposal for joint US-Turkish patrols in northeast Syria — if it will forestall the Turkish attack.
  • Foreign Policy – Keith Johnson / Turkey’s big energy grab

The Economist / Greenhouse-gas emissions are increasing the frequency of heatwaves

  • When, in 2003, tens of thousands of people in Europe died prematurely as a result of a two-week heatwave, it was deemed to be a once-in-1,000-years event. Twelve years later, a study led by Nikolaos Christidis of the Hadley Centre found that heatwaves of this severity had become once-in-100-years events, and would be commonplace by the 2040s.
  • For years, the semi-official line was that no single weather event could be blamed on climate change, only trends. That began to change in 2004, with the publication of the first “attribution” study. By comparing simulations of a world with and without greenhouse-gas emissions, Peter Stott at the Met Office and his colleagues found that climate change had made the 2003 record-breaking heatwave at least twice as likely as it would otherwise have been.
  • Floods, storms and cold spells also carry a climatic fingerprint. Since 2012, the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society has published an annual compendium of attribution studies. Roughly 70% of events scrutinized show some influence from climate change.
  • Brookings – John Podesta / The climate crisis, migration, and refugees

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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