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EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 12/01/2022

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 12/01/2022

Politico – Enrico Letta / David Sassoli’s mark on history

  • In politics, there are those who follow the course of history, and then there are those who change history. David Sassoli, who died Tuesday aged 65, was among the latter. As president of the European Parliament, he left an indelible mark on European history, and he did so by defending and strengthening democracy during the coronavirus pandemic, the Continent’s toughest challenge since the birth of the European Union. 
  • While everything was closing and the whole of Europe was going into lockdown, while international travel and flights stopped and the lights of many institutions went out, David made a courageous and far-sighted choice that would make history. He chose to keep the Parliament open, making the institution a protagonist at a crucial moment, when the most natural thing would have been to go the other way. 
  • Under David’s watch, the Parliament innovated and continued to function remotely, thanks to the application of new technologies. It was a first in history, and a conscious and necessary choice, to continue making the voices of millions of citizens heard within the European institutions.
  • “Democracy cannot be suspended, especially in the midst of such a dramatic crisis,” David said, as he opened the first remote Parliament session. 
  • The Parliament Magazine / MEPs react to the death of European Parliament President David Sassoli

Financial Times – Nastassia Astrasheuskaya / Russian troops to withdraw, says Kazakhstan’s president

  • Russian troops will withdraw from Kazakhstan, the country’s president said, following a week of violent protests in which citizens demanded social and political change in the central Asian republic.
  • Kazakhstan’s president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who requested help from Russia last week after claiming the protests were a “coup d’état”, said on Tuesday that the Moscow-led military mission was complete and the contingent would leave the country within 10 days.
  • His comments came amid signs that the worst unrest in Kazakhstan’s modern history was beginning to calm. Witnesses in Almaty, the country’s largest city, said that cafés were reopening and families were going out for walks, while Tokayev said the situation was stabilising.
  • In his first move to rejig the government he sacked last week, Tokayev named Alikhan Smailov, an official from the previous regime, as the prime minister with the approval of parliament.
  • Foreign Policy – Erica Marat / Kazakhstan’s protests aren’t a color revolution

Financial Times – Donato Paolo Mancini and Daniel Dombey / WHO says too early to treat COVID as endemic, predicts half of Europe could get infected

  • The World Health Organization said countries were “a way off” from treating coronavirus as endemic as a top official warned that more than half of the European population could be infected with Omicron within the next two months.
  • Hans Kluge, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, said that “because of the unprecedented scale of transmission” Europe was now seeing rising rates of hospitalisation.
  • “It is challenging health systems and service delivery in many countries where Omicron has spread at speed and threatens to overwhelm many more,” he said.
  • Many European countries have registered record caseloads in recent weeks, although hospitalisations have been lower than in previous waves because of the impact of vaccines and prior infection.
  • The Atlantic – Sarah Zhang / Omicron is forcing us to rethink mild COVID

Euractiv / Biden administration calls in on Democrat senators ahead of Nord Stream 2 vote

  • Several Democratic US senators said late on Monday, after meeting with Biden administration officials, that they believe sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline backed by Republican Senator Ted Cruz could harm relations with Germany.
  • Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and President Joe Biden’s global energy security adviser Amos Hochstein met on Monday behind closed doors with about 10 Democratic senators who have been undecided on the Cruz bill.
  • The legislation is expected to get a Senate vote this week after both parties struck a deal last month, in which Cruz released his hold on dozens of Biden ambassador nominations. The deal requires the bill to get 60 votes — a high hurdle in the 50-50 Senate. The bill would also have to pass in the House and be signed by President Joe Biden, a Democrat.
  • Several senators told reporters that the administration officials were persuasive. Senator Chris Murphy said they made the case that Cruz’s bill could harm relations with Germany’s new government right when Washington needs its support to pressure Russia against an invasion of Ukraine.
  • The New York Times – Melissa Edy / Germany wants its Russian pipeline. German allies aren’t a sure it’s a good idea

Today’s longer 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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