EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 23/06/2020

Participation of Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, at the EU-China summit via video conference

Euractiv – Alexandra Brzozowski and Jorge Valero / No progress on trade, investment, Hong Kong as EU wraps-up tense China summit

  • The talks did not produce a joint statement as summits usually do, and China “did not offer” to hold a joint press point afterwards, a Commission official said.
  • No progress was also made to grant greater access to European companies into the Chinese market as well as addressing specific issues agreed by both sides last year.
  • EU officials said they believe China’s post-pandemic recovery plan would be “dangerous” because the approach would be business-as-usual instead of looking for ways to a more sustainable future.
  • “We expressed our great concern about the proposed national security law for Hong Kong,” Michel said after the talks, adding that the bloc called on Beijing to ensure political pluralism, democratic standards and human rights in Hong Kong.
  • South China Morning Post – Stuart Lau and Wendy Wu / EU-China summit: Beijing puts focus on consensus, while Brussels highlights differences

The New York Times – Thomas Erdbrink / Sweden tries out a new status: pariah state

  • This year, Swedes are forbidden to enter Norway. Denmark and Finland have also closed their borders to Swedes, fearing that they would bring new coronavirus infections with them.
  • While those countries went into strict lockdowns this spring, Sweden famously refused, and now has suffered roughly twice as many infections and five times as many deaths as the other three nations combined.
  • Swedish officials say Swedes have been stigmatized by an international campaign to prove Sweden was wrong and warn their neighbors that they are going to be much more vulnerable if a second wave of the virus hits in the fall.
  • Experts in the other Scandinavian countries say the higher immunity levels have not been proven through rigorous testing, and that such talk misses a major point.
  • Financial Times – Richard Milne / Coronavirus: Sweden starts to debate its public health experiment

The New York Times – David M. Halbfinger and Michael Crowley / Mixed signals on Israeli annexation reflect split among officials

  • Is the prospect of annexation a pressure tactic to get the Palestinians to engage with the administration’s peace plan, or is the peace plan just a smokescreen for annexation?
  • American and Israeli officials are deeply divided on the question. While both American and Israeli officials support annexation in principle, the White House encouragement came in the context of its plan for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • Netanyahu has vowed to annex up to 30 percent of the occupied West Bank — as mapped out in the Trump peace plan — as soon as July 1. And he is counting on the Trump administration’s backing.
  • But the administration has sent mixed signals, initially greenlighting annexation, then putting the brakes on, and now, apparently, reconsidering the move in White House meetings set to begin on Tuesday.
  • Haaretz – Chemi Shalev / With annexation, Netanyahu displays his scorn for the world ‘from the springboard’

The Economist / Covid-19 has led to a pandemic of plastic pollution

  • Whether on the foreshore of the Thames or the deserted beaches of Soko, the planet is awash with pandemic plastic. Data are hard to come by but, for example, consumption of single-use plastic may have grown by 250-300% in America since the coronavirus took hold.
  • Much of that increase is down to demand for products designed to keep covid-19 at bay, including masks, visors and gloves. According to a forecast from Grand View Research, the global disposable-mask market will grow from an estimated $800m in 2019 to $166bn in 2020.
  • Lockdowns have also led to a boom in e-commerce. In March, as parts of America and Europe shut up shop, some 2.5bn customers are reckoned to have visited Amazon’s website, a 65% increase on last year.
  • Much of what is bought online comes wrapped in plastic—and the bad kind at that. Goods are often packaged in plastic comprising several layers. That keeps the contents safe in aeroplane holds and on delivery lorries.
  • Bloomberg – Heesu Lee / An epidemic of contaminated waste is following the coronavirus

Today’s long read:

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.

Política Internacional |