EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 15/11/2019

Euractiv – Sam Morgan / EU bank brokers late-night deal to phase out fossil fuels

  • The European Investment Bank decided on November 14th to  scrap financial support for fossil fuels from 2021, after marathon talks ended in a compromise that has been hailed as “a significant victory” for green policies. It took an entire day of negotiations for skeptical countries like Germany and Italy to sign up to the EIB’s ambitious review of its energy lending policy, which is set to transform the EU lender into a fully-fledged ‘climate bank’.
  • Under a compromise fleshed out during the talks, the EIB’s initial proposal to scrub its loan books of fossil fuel projects by 2020 is extended to the next year in order to placate countries that wanted more flexibility for gas projects.
  • Vice-President Andrew McDowell, whose compromise tabled last week laid the groundwork for yesterday’s deal, confirmed that “we have reached a compromise to end financing of unabated fossil fuel projects, including gas, from the end of 2021”.
  • The Guardian – Jillian Ambrose / Methane emissions from coalmines could stoke climate crisis – study

The New York Times – The Associated Press / Key facts on Sri Lanka as it prepares to elect new president

  • The island nation of Sri Lanka, which will elect a new president on Saturday, has had a turbulent history. As it prepares to elect its seventh president, Sri Lanka remains a divided country, with ethnic, political and economic issues left unresolved.
  • The largest ethnic group is Sinhala, who make up roughly 75% of the population, most of whom are Buddhists. Tamils, who are mostly Hindus, are about 15%, while 9% are Muslims. The first serious ethnic discord in Sri Lanka emerged in 1956, when the government declared Sinhala the only official language. Tamils protested the move as an act of discrimination. The tensions led to the first racial riots in the post-independent nation, which killed dozens of people.
  • In 1972, the government declared Sri Lanka a republic by enacting a new constitution, but the Tamils said their status and welfare were largely ignored. The same year, an armed insurgency by the Tamil youth began on a small scale, demanding an independent state in the country’s north and east. The Civil War had started. Hundreds were killed and their homes and shops looted and burned. Many fled the country.
  • Financial Times – Amy Kazmin / Sri Lanka: how Easter attacks shaped presidential election

South China Morning Post – Bhavan Jaipragas / Beijing’s South China Sea stance and US ‘truancy’ set to headline Asean defence meeting

  • Fears about China’s increasingly bellicose actions in the South China Sea and the “truancy” of senior US leaders from recent Southeast Asian diplomatic events will be among the key talking points at this weekend’s meeting of regional defence chiefs. The Asean Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus in Bangkok will feature the defence chiefs from the 10 member states and 8 global partners, including US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper and his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe.
  • Although ADMM Plus participants have often taken a conciliatory approach to intractable issues such as the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, tensions have become increasingly heightened between Vietnam and China, creating a potential flashpoint. Vietnam will assume next year the rotating chairmanship of the Asean – and of ADMM – and has signalled it could elevate the South China Sea dispute to the top of the bloc’s agenda as the two countries square off over energy exploration activities.
  • Vietnam has – alongside other claimants such as Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei or Taiwan – complained that China’s militarisation and building of artificial islands not only challenges its sovereignty but raises questions about freedom of navigation and overflight in the area.

Al-Monitor – Shlomi Eldar / Can Arab parties oust Netanyahu without empowering Liberman?

  • The events of the past two days — the killing of Islamic Jihad senior Bahaa Abu al-Ata and the ensuing rocket fire from Gaza — only worsened the dilemma Arab-Israeli Knesset members are facing. Just a few hours before Abu al-Ata was killed, knowing that this action would provoke a conflict with Gaza and generate rocket fire, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a warning to Blue and White leader Benny Gantz over coalition talks. Netanyahu warned Gantz against considering a minority government supported by the Joint List.
  • The prevailing atmosphere in Israel would surely make it difficult on Gantz, and more so on Liberman, to establish such a government. But also within the Joint List, which was considering to offer support to Gantz’s government from the outside. Putting aside his latest declarations on the Gaza escalation, Liberman is currently acting like the responsible adult in the political arena. Nevertheless, he is the same politician who has incited against the country’s Arab citizens and their elected representatives.
  • In the final analysis, if no candidate can form a government, an inevitable third round of elections could be the most normal way in the abnormal situation of asking Israel’s Arab citizens what is to be done when faced with what for them are two horrible alternatives.

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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