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EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 17/09/2021

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 17/09/2021

Bloomberg – Chiara Albanese / Italy introduces sweeping Covid pass mandate in EU first

  • Italy will require all workers to have a valid Covid passport, as the government led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi moves to set the toughest vaccination requirements in Europe.
  • The measure applies to all public and private-sector workers and will come into force Oct. 15. Workers faces fines of as much as 1,500 euros for noncompliance, while employers who fail to check their workers may have to pay as much as 1,000 euros.
  • The new Green Pass mandate will affect about 18 million workers in the country. Covid tests will be free for those who cannot be vaccinated and available at low cost for everyone else.
  • Almost 75% of eligible people in Italy have already received two shots of a Covid-19 vaccine, including about 46% of those between 12 and 19 years of age.
  • Financial Times – Tim Harford / How to tackle vaccine hesitancy

The New York Times – Roger Cohen / In submarine deal with Australia, U.S. counters China but enrages France

  • President Biden’s announcement of a deal to help Australia deploy nuclear-powered submarines has strained the Western alliance, infuriating France and foreshadowing how the conflicting American and European responses to confrontation with China may redraw the global strategic map.
  • In announcing the deal on Wednesday, Mr. Biden said it was meant to reinforce alliances and update them as strategic priorities shift. But in drawing a Pacific ally closer to meet the China challenge, he appears to have alienated an important European one and aggravated already tense relations with Beijing.
  • France on Thursday reacted with outrage to the announcements that the United States and Britain would help Australia develop submarines, and that Australia was withdrawing from a $66 billion deal to buy French-built submarines. 
  • France and the rest of the European Union are intent on avoiding a direct confrontation with China, as they underscored on Thursday in a policy paper titled the “E.U. Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific,” whose release was planned before the fracas.
  • The Guardian – Patrick Wintour / Aukus deal showing France and EU that Biden not all he seems

Financial Times – Erika Solomon / Climate anxiety fails to translate into votes as German election looms

  • For many in Europe, this summer seemed like a moment for climate action. Fires blazed across southern Europe and Siberia, the continent’s highest ever temperature was recorded in Italy and flooding swept Germany as well as Belgium, France and the Netherlands.
  • Yet the floods that killed 181 people have had surprisingly little electoral impact. In surveys, most Germans name climate as a priority, but just 15-17 per cent say they would vote for the Greens, for whom the issue is a raison d’être.
  • Politically, the floods most badly affected Armin Laschet, chancellor candidate for Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democrats, who was caught laughing on camera during a memorial ceremony in Erftstadt.
  • Nicole Kloster, head of the Greens in Erftstadt, called it a tricky balancing act. “For a lot of people, it just feels like too much change,” she said. “But for the kids, we [the Greens] are too slow. There’s this fault line, and we’re stuck in the middle.”
  • The Economist / The warring parties’ plans for Germany’s economy are full of holes

Euractiv – Jorge Valero / EU warns of deep divisions at WTO, urges reform

  • The EU pressed the US Administration to agree on the reform of the World Trade Organisation’s dispute settlement system amid deep divisions running through the institution.
  • European Commission vice-president responsible for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, met with WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in Geneva on Thursday (16 September), ahead of the organisation’s ministerial conference starting on 30 November.
  • For the EU, the WTO is at a low point, with its negotiating powers paralysed, its dispute settlement system frozen and its members “deeply divided” over how the organisation should evolve. 
  • The US refused to nominate new members to the WTO appellate body because it considered that judges were overstepping their powers in their rulings. Europeans are now aiming to reach an agreement no later than the WTO’s ministerial conference due by 2023. 
  • Foreign Affairs – Thomas Wright / The center cannot hold

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.


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