ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 03/10/2019

The Guardian– Daniel Boffey & Heather Stewart/ Brexit: dismay in Brussels as Boris Johnson finally reveals plan

  • Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan involves  Northern Ireland leaving the European Union’s customs union at the end of transition along with the rest of the United Kingdom, necessitating checks and controls on the island of Ireland. However, Northern Ireland would stay aligned with EU standards on goods if Stormont agreed by December 2020, the end of the transition period, and then in a vote every four years. However, the UK has requested that both sides commit at treaty level “never to conduct checks at the border”
  • Michel Barnier has stated that  this commitment would prevent Brussels from protecting its internal market if the Northern Ireland assembly blocked the arrangement in 2020 or at a later date. Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taoiseach, warned Boris Johnson that  the legal texts tabled “do not fully meet the agreed objectives of the backstop”.
  • The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, dismissed Johnson’s proposals. He said: “It’s worse than May’s deal. I can’t see it getting the support that he thinks it will get.” He also added that “It will also undermine the Good Friday agreement.”
  • The Economist / Boris Johnson makes the EU an offer it can refuse

The New York Times – The Editorial Board / The U.N. can’t ignore Kashmir anymore

  • Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Kahn, was at the United Nations imploring member states to persuade India in order for the siege of Kashmir to be lifted. He also warned before the General Assembly that if Kashmiris push back against the Indian troops, there could be a war between the neighbor states. 
  • Since Narendra Modi, the Hindu nationalist prime minister of India, revoked the semiautonomous status of the Muslim-majority state on Aug. 5, his government has imposed a curfew and detained nearly 4,000 people, including lawyers and journalists. Moreover, there have been serious allegations of Human Rights violations, including torture.
  • The United Nations’ lack of resolve is a sad sign of the dysfunction in international diplomacy as American leadership declines and divisions among powers grow. President Trump has offered to mediate, but his warm relations with the increasingly autocratic President Modi do not make him an honest broker. Different countries are unwilling to risk crossing Mr. Modi and losing access to India’s huge internal market, and Pakistan is economically weak.
  • President Modi claims his clampdown would resolve that conflict and bring normality and development to Kashmir. But it seems more likely that it will only heighten tensions. The Security Council should make clear that it opposes Mr. Modi’s brutal tightening of India’s control on Kashmir. While President Modi may think he can control this volatile conflict on his own, he almost certainly cannot.

Bloomberg – Bryce Baschuk / U.S. to put tariffs on Europe planes, whiskey after WTO ruling

  • The price of different goods such as Scotch, French wine or Spanish olive oil, among other European exports, is about to go up in the United States after the Trump administration announced new tariffs on billions of dollars of EU products, that will start in October 18.
  • President Donald Trump got the go-ahead from the World Trade Organization to impose tariffs on as much as $7.5 billion worth of European exports annually in retaliation for illegal government aid to the Airbus company. The award is the largest in WTO history. The goal of the Trump administration in imposing retaliatory duties is to persuade the European Union to reach a negotiated settlement, according to a senior U.S. trade official.
  • The U.S. is already in a trade war with China, and any wider flareup of tit-for-tat tariffs with Europe could threaten a fragile global economy. The WTO on Tuesday cut its trade growth forecast for this year to the weakest level in a decade. The Trump administration had been considering a particularly damaging trade weapon known as “carousel” retaliation, which would enable the U.S. to regularly shift around the targeted goods, which would increase trade uncertainty and pain for European business.
  • Financial Times – James Politi & Peggy Hollinger / US tariffs to hit aircraft, French wine and cheese, Spanish olive oil

The Economist / Peru’s political crisis has taken a farcical turn

  • Martín Vizcarra, the Peruvian president,  has been at war with Peru’s congress from the start of his presidency in March 2018. This week, on September 30th, their difficult relationship came to a farcical turning point when President Vizcarra dissolved congress. The legislature struck back by suspending him from office and choosing the vice-president, Mercedes Aráoz, to replace him. She soon quit to avoid assuming the presidency, but the constitutional clash has done serious damage to the country’s relatively young democracy.
  • Peruvians surely remember the last time their congress was closed down, in 1992. The president then was Alberto Fujimori, and his “self-coup” led to more than eight years of authoritarian and often brutal rule. He is now serving a 25-year sentence in a Peruvian jail for human-rights abuses. However, President Vizcarra has not carried out a coup, but his grounds for dissolving congress are questioned by many constitutional lawyers, as well as the actions of congress.
  • The confrontation is the latest sign of dysfunction in a governing class compromised by corruption and riven by faction, which started in the general election of 2016. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski became president defeating Keiko Fujimori, Alberto’s daughter, but her Popular Force party won a majority in congress. Ms Fujimori vowed that her party would use its position in the legislature to enact its own governing programme, paralyzing president Kuczynski’s government. A second threat of impeachment led to his resignation in March 2018 and to President Vizcarra’s promotion to the presidency.
  • No one knows how the standoff will end, but new leaders have not emerged to take the place of today’s discredited politicians. The long-running crisis is taking a toll on investors’ confidence, and thus the economy. The dark days of 1992 have not returned, but the future is looking cloudy.
  • BBC / Peru’s ‘interim leader’ Aráoz resigns amid power dispute

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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