The Guardian / Joe Biden and Xi Jinping to hold virtual meeting this year
- The US president, Joe Biden, and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, are planning to meet by video link before the end of the year, a senior US official said on Wednesday.
- There is an “agreement in principle” for the “virtual bilateral”, the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
- The virtual meeting was announced after the US national security adviser Jake Sullivan met China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, in the Swiss city of Zurich in six-hour talks aimed at improving communication between the two countries.
- US officials had suggested the meeting was a follow-on from Biden’s 9 September call with Xi, prior to which the world’s top two economies appeared to have been locked in a stalemate.
- South China Morning Post – Teddy Ng / China welcomes ‘positive statements’ by US as talks hint at change of mood
The New York Times – Jonathan Weisman and Emily Cochrane / Senate nears agreement to stave off debt crisis until December
- Senate Democrats and Republicans neared agreement as they met into the early morning hours Thursday to temporarily pull the nation from the brink of a debt default.
- The deal would punt their showdown on raising the federal borrowing limit to December after Republicans bowed to pressure to stave off immediate fiscal calamity.
- McConnell did not lift his blockade of a longer-term increase in the debt cap, demanding anew that Democrats eventually use a complicated and time-consuming budget procedure known as reconciliation to lift it into next year or beyond.
- Democrats declared the offer at least a temporary victory, even as they said they would never capitulate to Mr. McConnell’s longer-term demand.
- The Washington Post – Adam Taylor / The world is questioning Washington´s competence, fearing prospect of US default
Politico – David M. Herszenhorn and Lili Bayer / EU leaders back ‘enlargement’ for Balkans – just not anytime soon
- EU leaders proclaimed their support for six Western Balkans nations to join their club, while simultaneously admitting that the entry process was effectively stalled.
- EU leaders and national officials from the Western Balkans all managed to leave feeling relatively upbeat despite making almost no progress, and numerous media accounts citing how Brussels was failing to keep its promises.
- The final declaration included just a single mention of “enlargement” — a word that opponents of increasing the EU’s size had fought fiercely to prevent from making an appearance in the text.
- The start of accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania — which have already received a green light from Brussels — are being blocked primarily by Bulgaria, a country that hosted its own Western Balkans summit in 2018 and claimed credit for putting enlargement back on track.
- Euractiv – Julia Dahm / German small parties pick social democrats over conservatives for coalition talks
Financial Times – Mehreen Khan / EU energy chief says gas price surge has no quick fixes
- Brussels is powerless to prevent the gas price surge that is hitting consumers across Europe, the EU’s energy commissioner has admitted as she rebuffed demands from member states to act now to address the crisis.
- Kadri Simson told the Financial Times that Brussels had no powers to provide short-term fixes but would encourage governments to offer “targeted” national support, including cutting energy taxes.
- She also stepped away from promising sweeping regulatory changes to the bloc’s internal energy market, which some member states have blamed for exacerbating the crisis.
- “The reasons behind high global energy prices are not created here in Europe,” said Simson. “Several of our proposals will be addressing long-term solutions,” she added, referring to options including joint EU gas procurement and better storage facilities to act as a buffer against further supply shocks.
- Bloomberg – Olga Tanas and Elena Mazneva / Russia offers to ease Europe’s gas crisis, with strings attached
Today’s further reads:
- Foreign Affairs – Kevin Rudd / Why the Quad alarms China
- Financial Times – Rouala Khalaf et al. / Scotland’s first minister on independence: ‘I’ve got time on my side’