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EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 07/04/2021

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 07/04/2021

The Washington Post – Michael Birnbaum / Turkey’s leader met two E.U. presidents. The woman among them didn’t get a chair.

  • A video of the leaders assembled in an ornate meeting room in Ankara showed Erdogan and European Council President Charles Michel settling themselves into gilded chairs, while European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen appeared unsure of where she was expected to sit.
  • Von der Leyen stood staring at them, gestured with her right hand and appeared to say “um” or “ehm.” She was ultimately offered a beige couch about 12 feet away, opposite Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who occupies a lower-status rank in typical diplomatic protocol.
  • Another member of the European Parliament, Dutch lawmaker Sophie in ‘t Veld, noted that at meetings between Erdogan and the prior pair of E.U. presidents, who were both men, the three leaders were seated next to one another, in equivalent chairs.
  • Critics had already been taking aim at the visit, which came two weeks after Erdogan pulled Turkey out of an international treaty aimed at preventing violence against women known as the Istanbul Convention. Erdogan allies said the move didn’t mean women’s rights were being downgraded.
  • Politico – Jacopo Barigazzi / EU leaders tell Erdogan: We’ll cooperate – if you do, too

Financial Times – Donato Paolo Mancini and Henry Foy / EU regulator to probe ethical standards of Sputnik vaccine trials

  • The EU drug regulator will launch an investigation next week into whether clinical trials of Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine contravened ethical and scientific standards.
  • The European Medicines Agency’s probe into whether Sputnik V trials met “good clinical practice” standards comes as people familiar with the regulator’s approval process told the Financial Times of their concerns that they had not been ethically run.
  • Russia has said military servicemen and state employees were involved in trials of the jab developed by a state-run laboratory and funded by the Russian Direct Investment Fund, the Kremlin’s sovereign wealth fund.
  • The Reuters news agency has reported that some who took part described being pressured to do so by their superiors. The EMA is conducting a review of Sputnik V but has yet to make a ruling on whether it can be used in the EU.
  • The Guardian – Sarah Boseley / Oxford/AstraZeneca jab could have causal link to rare blood clots, say UK experts

Foreign Affairs – Henry Farrell and Abraham Newman / The new age of protectionism

  • “Zero” doses will move across the English Channel until supplies increase or the United Kingdom changes its stance on vaccine exports, European Commissioner Thierry Breton has said, adding that there is “nothing to negotiate.” 
  • The EU’s proposed export restrictions represent a sudden about-face for the bloc. Until recently, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, was one of the strongest international voices backing the open trading system. 
  • Europe’s sudden retreat from international markets follows a broader global shift brought on by the pandemic. The United Kingdom and the United States were the first to adopt a new and ruthless trade policy: citizens wanted vaccines, and their governments set out to provide them by whatever means necessary.
  • With vaccine access and national security at stake, wealthy democratic governments have pushed liberal market principles aside in favor of aggressive restrictions aimed at meeting new internal political demands. Their self-interested behavior is fraying alliances and normalizing open state intervention in global markets to a degree not seen in recent memory.
  • Foreign Policy – James K. Galbraith / The death of neoliberalism is greatly exaggerated

The Economist / Global supply chains are still a source of strength, not weakness

  • Since the early 1990s supply chains have been run to maximise efficiency. Firms have sought to specialise and to concentrate particular tasks in places that offer economies of scale. Now, however, there are growing worries that, like a ship which is too big to steer, supply chains have become a source of vulnerability.
  • A semiconductor shortage is forcing car firms to idle plants all over the world. China has imposed a digital boycott of H&M, a Western retailer that appears unwilling to source cotton from Xinjiang, where the Communist Party is locking up Uyghurs and pressing them into forced labour.
  • The European Union and India have clamped down on vaccine exports, disrupting the world’s efforts to get jabs into arms. As they battle the pandemic and face up to rising geopolitical tensions, governments everywhere are switching from the pursuit of efficiency to a new mantra of resilience and self-reliance.
  • Such a lurch towards autarky would not be justified. One reason is that government-administered, domestic supply chains are even less resilient than global ones. The call for self-reliance also misconstrues the balance between the costs of interdependence, which are brief and visible, and its benefits, which trickle in month after month unheralded.
  • Foreign Policy – Elisabeth Braw / Without shipping, the global economy sinks

Today’s report:

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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