EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 04/12/2019

POLITICO – Kyle Cheney & Andrew Desiderio / Trump abused power of presidency, Dems conclude in impeachment report

  • President Trump abused the power of his office by pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rivals, House Democrats concluded in a highly anticipated 300-page report released on Tuesday. The report, which is expected to form the basis for articles of impeachment, describes a president eager to use his leverage over Ukraine to extract political benefit ahead of the 2020 election.
  • The Intelligence Committee formally adopted the report later on Tuesday on a party-line vote, ahead of the first impeachment hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Republicans offered seven amendments to the report ahead of the vote, according to people familiar with the matter, but all were defeated.
  • The report describes a tangled web of contacts among an array of Trump associates and allies as the Ukraine effort took shape earlier this year. It also includes new details, such as phone logs and records describing a more extensive set of contacts than previously known between Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and the top Intelligence Committee Republican, Rep. Devin Nunes of California.
  • The Washington Post / Democrats should not give up the fight to hear from more witnesses

The New York Times – Brad Plumer / Carbon dioxide emissions hit a record in 2019 even as coal fades

  • The emissions of  carbon dioxide from fossil fuels hit a record high in 2019, researchers said on Tuesday, putting countries farther off course from their goal of halting global warming. Worldwide, industrial emissions are on track to rise 0.6 percent this year, a considerably slower pace than the 1.5 percent increase seen in 2017 and the 2.1 percent rise in 2018. Moreover, global emissions from coal, unexpectedly declined by about 0.9 percent in 2019, although that drop was more than offset by strong growth in the use of oil and natural gas around the world.
  • However, scientists have long warned that it’s not enough for emissions to grow slowly or even just stay flat in the years ahead. In order to avoid many of the most severe consequences of climate change, global carbon dioxide emissions would need to steadily decline each year and reach roughly zero well before the end of the century.
  • A handful of countries account for the majority of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions each year, with China responsible for 26 percent, the United States 14 percent, the European Union 9 percent and India 7 percent.
  • The Guardian – Fiona Harvey / Don’t pursue economic growth at expense of environment – report

Financial Times – Ben Hall & Kerin Hope / Greek PM challenges Macron over move to block EU enlargement

  • Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greece’s conservative prime minister, has called on the EU to open membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania next year, challenging France’s move to block the process of enlargement to the Western Balkans. Mr Mitsotakis took issue with President Emmanuel Macron’s decision in October to veto new accession negotiations calling it an error. “I hope that this mistake is going to be corrected”, he defended.
  • Concerning Mr Macron’s comments on NATO, the Greek PM stated that: “Sometimes the language itself is also important, and it ends up bringing about the opposite results. It’s one thing to say NATO is in need of reform, and it’s completely different to actually say that NATO is brain-dead.”
  • However, Mr Mitsotakis argued that he strongly supported Mr Macron’s push for eurozone reform. The Greek leader said he feared that the new European Commission, which takes office this week, would not attribute enough importance to the subject. 
  • EURACTIV – Sam Morgan / Finland’s PM toppled by postmen

The New York Times – Ivan Krastev / Will Europe ever trust America again?

  • As President Trump has insulted international institutions and abandoned allies from Syria to the Korean Peninsula, policymakers on this side of the Atlantic have found themselves trying to walk a fine line: On the one hand, they want to hedge against Washington turning its back on Europe; on the other, they want to ensure that their hedging doesn’t push the Trump administration even farther away.
  • While Trump-friendly governments in Europe hope that Mr Trump will get four more years, European liberals are giving up. They have  finally started to realize that a proper EU foreign policy cannot be based on who is in the White House. What explains the shift? It is plausible that European liberals are unconvinced by the foreign policy visions of Democratic hopefuls. Europeans are still struggling to understand how it was that Obama, probably the most European-minded American president, was also the one least interested in Europe.
  • But putting that aside, I believe there is a more fundamental change: European liberals have come to understand that American democracy no longer produces a consensual politics with a predictable foreign policy. For the past 70 years, Europeans have known that  America’s foreign policy will be consistent. Today, all bets are off. Could this week’s NATO summit change Europe’s state of mind when it comes to the future of trans-Atlantic relations? It is easier to hope for than to bet on.
  • The Washington Post – Ashley Parker, Philip Rucker & Michael Birnbaum / As impeachment inquiry rages at home, Trump unsettles the world stage at NATO

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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