EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 22/11/2019

POLITICO – Cristina Gallardo & Eleni Courea / UK Labour’s manifesto explained

  • At the last election, the publication of Labour’s manifesto was a major turning point in the campaign, with a number of popular policies boosting the party’s performance. Labour will be hoping for a similar bounce.
  • Concerning Brexit, Labour would offer the voters “the final say.” The party would seek to secure “a sensible deal” to leave the EU, and then to put that deal to a public vote alongside the option of remaining.
  • Focusing on migration, Labour is pledging to retain freedom of movement with the EU whether or not Brexit goes ahead. Labour would grant all EU nationals the automatic right to continue living and working; for non-EU migration, the party is pledging to introduce a “humane” migration system
  • In the economy, Labour says it intends to “rewrite the rules” of the U.K. economy and make it “low in carbon, rich in good jobs, radically fairer and more democratic.” Moreover, it will increase income tax for anyone earning over £80,000 per year.
  • The party also offers policies in the fields of: mobility, technology and R&D, financial services, health, agriculture and fishing, climate and sustainability, education, defense, housing and others.
  • The Guardian – Fiona Harvey / Climate crisis topping UK election agenda is ‘unprecedented’ change
  • Euractiv – Reuters / Why UK’s refusal to name new commissioner is headache for EU

The Economist / Binyamin Netanyahu vows to fight on despite charges of bribery and fraud

  • On November 21st, state prosecutors took their biggest challenge yet, charging Binyamin Netanyahu, current prime minister and Israel’s longest-serving leader, with the crimes of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
  • Mr Netanyahu is the first sitting prime minister to be indicted, which explains the long investigation, that lasted four years and involved the police and the justice ministry. The charges stem from three cases. The most serious is Case 4000, in which Mr Netanyahu is accused of having intervened in media regulation on behalf of Bezeq, Israel’s largest telecoms company.
  • The second case, known as Case 2000, is similar and highlights Mr Netanyahu’s obsession with the press. He is accused of conspiring with a newspaper publisher who promised glowing coverage if the prime minister pushed through a law that would have hurt a competing rag.
  • In the third case, Case 1000, Mr Netanyahu is accused of receiving gifts worth $200,000 from two businessmen in return for various political favours.
  • Haaretz / Netanyahu decries ‘attempted coup´against him after corruption charges

Financial Times – Philip Stephens / The rights and wrongs of Emmanuel Macron’s vision for Europe

  • Macron’s interview with The Economist revealed a leader locating his views within a coherent, and mostly convincing, global framework. There are precious few western leaders willing to venture a strategic — even just a longish — view of where the world is heading. 
  • Mr Macron’s assertion that Europe should rediscover this purpose by taking responsibility for the security of its own neighbourhood is uncontestable. The migration crisis of 2015 was a first warning. Since then, the US has retreated further from the Middle East as its current Syrian policy portrays.
  • However, the president is, indeed, pessimistic about the demise of Nato, at least concerning the short to medium term. 
  • Democratic Europe should also seek a modus vivendi with its angry eastern neighbour. We need assurance that Mr Macron is not confusing engagement with appeasement of Russian revisionism.

Bloomberg – Amr Adly / No, corruption is not the root of the Arab world’s problems

  • There is probably no doubt that corruption is a principal motive behind the wave of protests sweeping through the Middle East and North Africa. In diverse contexts ranging from Lebanon and Iraq to Algeria and beyond, demonstrators have blamed rampant corruption. Western commentators have contributed to the anti-corruption discourse, claiming that corruption and other practices of state capture have been the most powerful factors behind the MENA region’s dismal. I am skeptical. Corruption is a big problem, but not the root.  
  • MENA countries have problems in producing economic value for distribution. Most have rentier economic structures, with little ability to develop productive sectors that can compete globally while creating high-quality jobs. This rentierism is by no means confined to those rich in natural resources, it extends well into secondary-rentier economies that have historically received recycled rents.
  • Another dimension that is almost forgotten with the corruption approach is the problematic trajectories of state formation in many MENA countries. Iraq and Lebanon, for instance, face big problems in nation-building that have historically led to weak states devoured by ethno-sectarian groups.
  • The Washington Post – Anthony Faiola & Rachelle Krygier / With nationwide strike, Colombia joins South America’s season of protest

Foreign Policy – Aman Thakker & Elliot Silverberg / India and Japan eye the dragon in the room  

  • India and Japan are set to hold their inaugural defense and foreign ministerial dialogue on Nov. 30. The new talks is expected to advance cooperation around a range of bilateral issues ahead of next month’s annual summit between Shinzo Abe and Narendra Modi.  
  • India-Japan relations have been marked by growing long-term strategic, economic, and political convergence. The relationship now stands as a “special strategic and global partnership” bolstered by a flurry of joint prime ministerial declarations.
  • However, there is incredible scope to expand bilateral cooperation, particularly by moving forward on key deliverables on military sales, agreements, and exercises. But while military ties are relatively advanced, technological cooperation between the two countries remains underdeveloped.
  • The India-Japan relationship today has the makings of a truly special relationship. Since the world’s economic center of gravity shifts to Asia, it increasingly falls to these two countries to take up the baton to champion freedom, inclusivity, trade, and other liberal values.

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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