EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 26/06/2020

Euro Sign | Photo taken by Alex Guibord outside the European… | Flickr

Financial Times – Arthur Beesley, Sam Fleming and Mehreen Khan / Eurogroup candidates pitch rival visions for pandemic recovery

  • Three candidates have made pitches to lead the eurogroup of finance ministers following the announced departure of Portugal’s Mário Centeno, as the currency bloc’s economies reel from the coronavirus crisis.
  • Ms Calviño made her case on Twitter, saying she would work for a “strong and prosperous euro area to the benefit of all European citizens”. Olaf Scholz, Germany’s Social Democratic finance minister, is among her supporters.
  • Mr Donohoe is also a supporter of the borrowing effort, but he pitched Dublin as a “bridge builder” in the bloc. His party is aligned with centre-right European People’s party (EPP), which should tee up support from over half a dozen EPP finance ministers.
  • In a letter to fellow ministers, Mr Gramegna sought to portray himself as a consensus builder on fiscal policy, pledging to strike the right balance between responsible budget policy and supporting the economy.
  • Euractiv – Jorge Valero / Calviño, Donohoe and Gramegna compete for Eurogroup helm

Foreign Policy – Keith Johnson / How Europe fell out of love with China

  • The European Union is ratcheting up its rhetoric against Beijing’s heavy-handed approach to the economy and human rights, with many officials describing what they once saw hopefully as a partnership as more of a rivalry.
  • For years, much as the United States did in the past, Europe has sought to nudge China to make reforms in how it trades and does business but has nothing to show for it. Now, European officials openly talk of China as a rival that needs to start making changes.
  • Last week, the EU unveiled a new scheme meant to fight back against China’s use of state subsidies to its firms. This fall, a long-planned investment screening mechanism meant to shield key European firms and industries from predatory acquisitions will finally be implemented. 
  • Both, while nominally directed at all non-EU countries, aim squarely at China. The key to the future EU-China relationship could come from what happens in the U.S. election in November.
  • Politico – David M. Herszenhorn / Pompeo says US ready to team up on China, but EU eyes a post-Trump world

The Washington Post – Danielle Paquette / The coronavirus is jeopardizing a ‘very, very finite’ workforce: Africa’s doctors and nurses

  • The coronavirus pandemic has tightened its grip on much of Africa, where reported cases have more than tripled over the last month, jeopardizing overstretched medical teams as the need for care soars.
  • African health officials and medical professionals are raising concerns about cracks in a crucial armor: Infections among health-care workers have shot up 203 percent since May, following a spike in community transmission and a drop in access to protective gear.
  • Travel and export restrictions have cut off a key flow of medical supplies, health officials said, further exposing doctors and nurses. Africa carries a disproportionately small fraction of the world’s caseload, though testing remains limited in some areas.
  • But with infections on the rise, health leaders say medical staffs are up against growing obstacles to fend off worst-case scenarios — particularly in West Africa. Funds are often tight.
  • The Economist / Latin America opens up before it’s ready

Bloomberg – Will Mathis and Akshat Rathi / Big oil’s long bet on hydrogen offers a climate lifeline

  • Hydrogen burns cleanly, leaving only water behind. That’s made it an attractive alternative fuel source—not just for governments looking to satisfy climate mandates, but also for oil companies trying to ensure their continued relevance.
  • Oil-and-gas majors have spent tens of millions of dollars on pilot projects. Now in the face of record-low oil prices, frozen international travel, and growing shareholder unease over greenhouse gas emissions, investing in hydrogen has taken on a new urgency.
  • Hydrogen also burns very hot, making it useful for high-polluting heavy industries such as cement- and steel-making. These sectors have long relied on coal, and established renewables such as wind and solar can’t deliver the necessary heat. 
  • Supplying hydrogen could potentially become a huge new market that oil companies could dominate quickly thanks to their existing expertise in transporting and selling gas. But major obstacles remain before hydrogen can fully replace fossil fuels in any sector.
  • Project Syndicate – Jacob Duer / The plastic pandemic

Further reading for the weekend:

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 |