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EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 15/12/2021

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 15/12/2021

Euractiv / EU tries to salvage Eastern Partnership ties under Russian threat

  • EU leaders will try to rescue their outreach to five former Soviet republics of eastern Europe on Wednesday (15 December), all of them would-be partners undermined by Russian meddling and regional strife.
  • The “Eastern Partnership” has already lost a member: Belarus, which broke with the grouping in June after criticism from EU capitals of strongman Alexander Lukashenko’s disputed re-election.
  • The remaining five partners — Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan — will send leaders to Brussels to meet the heads of the 27 member states, one day ahead of a full EU summit.
  • “The timing of this summit has been well chosen, because these countries are going through a complicated spell,” a senior European official explained.
  • Carnegie – Judy Dempsey / Is the EU politically committed to its Eastern partners?

Financial Times – Tom Wilson and Neil Hume / UK and European gas prices rise on Russia-Ukraine concerns

  • European and UK gas prices hit another record high on Tuesday over concerns that a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine could disrupt already stretched energy supplies over the winter.
  • Derivatives linked to TTF, Europe’s wholesale gas price, soared as high as €131 per megawatt hour, up from a record high closing price of €116/MWh on Monday, raising energy bills for millions of households and industries across the continent.
  • The UK equivalent rose to as much as £3.24 a therm, extending its gains over a previous high of £2.94 on October 5 and fuelling concerns about inflation.
  • European prices have now surged nearly 40 per cent since the start of the month, surpassing the record highs set in October when the rebounding global economy drove up demand and European calls for additional gas deliveries from Russia went unanswered.
  • Project Syndicate – Richard Haass / Defusing the Russia-Ukraine crisis

Financial Times – Laura Hughes / China and Russia threaten ‘free and open’ internet, UK warns

  • The UK said on Tuesday that the “free and open internet” was at risk from censorship by China and Russia, with western allies in a race to write the rules governing cyber space.
  • The warning was contained in a document setting out the country’s new cyber strategy, which predicted a “clash of values” between world powers as the UK developed its cyber warfare capabilities.
  • The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the defensive arm of the signals intelligence agency GCHQ which helped develop the strategy, said the new approach would act as a blueprint for countering the increasing number of cyber threats by the UK’s adversaries.
  • “Debates over the rules governing cyber space will increasingly become a site of systemic competition between great powers, with a clash of values between countries that want to preserve a system based on open societies and systemic competitors like China and Russia who are promoting greater state control as the only way to secure cyber space,” the document said.
  • Foreign Affairs – Joseph S. Nye / The end of cyber-anarchy?

Climate Home News – Chloé Farand / As EU seeks to rival China’s infrastructure offer, Africans are sceptical

  • When the EU launched its global gateway initiative earlier this month, it was pitched as a greener and more transparent alternative to China’s belt and road. 
  • Brussels pledged to mobilise up to $340 billion by 2027 to support a green and digital transition around the world. It announced the initiative the day after a major China-Africa summit ended in Dakar, Senegal, highlighting the contrast in approach.
  • Africa could certainly use the investment. The African Development Bank estimates the continent’s infrastructure needs at $130–170 billion a year, with a financing gap of $68–$108 billion. But African experts are sceptical of the EU offer.
  • While China has roads, bridges and dams to show for its 20-year-engagement with Africa, they say, the EU brings red tape and a lecture.
  • Bruegel – Simone Tagliapietra / The Global Gateway: a real step towards a stronger Europe in the world?

Today’s further reads:

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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