Press Review

Global Systemic Crisis

  • zone euro Teaser GEAB 124 – Towards a eurozone managed by intergovernmentalism - The construction of a federal structure for the eurozone got off to a bad start. The vision of the French government to strengthen the structure of the monetary union by creating new eurozone institutions, particularly a Ministry of Finance with its own budget and a convergence of business tax rates[1], already seemed like a somewhat limited ambition given what is at stake. That said, it was a first step towards building the infrastructure needed for the good functioning of the common currency. Germany puts a brake on the eurozone’s federalisation This little ambition appears to have been undermined already. In March, the unblocking of the German political situation, which was a pretext for maintaining the status quo, did not prove to be decisive at all. The European Council of 22nd ... Read
  • imf IMF says China’s complex fiscal system needs ‘crucial’ overhaul - Beijing:China’s sprawling local government financing system needs “crucial” reforms to increase consumption, build prosperity and encourage economic rebalancing, the International Monetary Fund said. Among the IMF’s recommendations is to fund local governments by imposing recurring property taxes and adding local surcharges to national individual income taxes. China’s fiscal system is the world’s most decentralized, with local bodies responsible for 85% of government spending, the fund said in a report, citing the breadth across 31 provincial level governments, 334 prefectures, 2,850 counties, 40,000 townships and 900,000 informal village jurisdictions. Including off-budget spending by local government financing vehicles brings the ratio up to 89 percent of all public expenditures… Read more : Livemint, 16.04.2018
  • foxnews CIA Director Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend - CIA Director Mike Pompeo met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend in an effort to lay the groundwork for a summit between Kim and President Trump, Fox News has confirmed. Pompeo’s trip, which was first reported by The Washington Post, came to light hours after Trump told reporters that the U.S. and North Korea are holding direct talks at “extremely high levels” in preparation for what would be an extraordinary meeting following months of heated rhetoric over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program… Read more : Foxnews, 17.04.2018
  • Drapeaux Berlaymont Revolving doors at the EU commission’s finance unit - The European Commission’s unit for banking and financial regulation has a “revolving door problem”, with a high proportion of top officials joining companies they were overseeing, according to an NGO report. “Out of the five former directors between 2008-2017 who have now quit the Commission, four went to work for companies they once oversaw or lobby firms that represent them,” Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), a transparency organisation, noted in a report published on Thursday(12 April). The research, done with Yiorgos Vassalos, a PhD student and teaching assistant at the French University of Lille, focuses on the years when the commission addressed the financial crisis and was tasked with increasing regulation of the sector. It shows that one of the three heads of unit who worked on financial regulation between 2008 and ... Read
  • multipolar europe Multipolar globalisation: 2018 – EU adopts the pro-trade protectionist model - As we all know, Donald Trump kicked off the reinvention of trade relationships by imposing customs barriers on steel and aluminium.  In addition to the duty of protecting this industry and the jobs connected with it, he was motivated by the strategic nature of this sector which is intrinsically linked to the army. Economy, employment, National Security. This is clearly about national sovereignty. Hence, logic and supranational bodies are again undermined (particularly the WTO and the EU). Customs barriers: the EU on Trump’s radar The Chinese competition is brandished as a red flag in order to sweeten the pill. As it happens, it is not China that is most worried. Although China produces about half of the world’s steel, it only ranks 11th among the countries most affected by the ... Read
  • bloom5 China Adds Flesh to Bones of Plan for Big Bang Financial Opening - China’s plan for an historic opening of its financial sector came into sharper focus as the nation’s top central banker elaborated on pledges from President Xi Jinping that have buoyed global markets and eased trade tensions with the U.S. The daily Shanghai-Hong Kong stock connect quota will quadruple to 52 billion yuan ($8.3 billion) from May 1, People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang said Wednesday at a panel discussion at the Boao Forum for Asia. More financial-sector opening will be realized by June 30, he said, citing a range of items from limits on foreign insurers to easing foreign ownership caps on securities companies… Read more : Bloomberg, 11.04.2018
  • gu What could the US target in Syria and how is Russia likely to react? - What are the potential targets? After the 2017 Khan Sheikhoun attack, Donald Trump ordered a strike on the airfield that launched the Syrian jets involved. The 59 cruise missiles launched from US warships in the Mediterranean damaged runways and hangars at Shayrat but they were quickly repaired. That attack was largely symbolic. If Trump orders a second strike, it will probably be more comprehensive. The US president will be keen to assert himself as a strongman if he feels his own red line has been crossed (comparisons to Barack Obama are too much for him). France too has previously said it would be prepared to act if the use of chemical weapons is proven. Probable targets a second time round would be other Syrian airbases, and perhaps what remains of the ... Read
  • brodin Ikea Prepares for Future of Mega Cities and ‘Thin Wallets - Ikea Group, the world’s largest furniture retailer, is getting ready for a future where people have little to spare: both in their wallets and in terms of space. The Swedish furniture giant is now abandoning its custom of planning five to 10 years ahead, setting a new three-year approach to keep pace with a rapidly transforming society. The strategy will ensure that the company caters to an urbanized world where people “live in small spaces,” have “thin wallets” and “little time,” according to Chief Executive Officer Jesper Brodin. Company research shows that by 2030 about 60 percent of the world’s population will live in large cities, double from now, he said… Read more : Bloomberg, 10.04.2018
  • cyber Cybersecurity and defence for the future of Europe - This is a time of change for the world and a time of opportunities for Europe. The European system of values is being challenged in its resilience by the global megatrends: globalisation, digitisation, migrations, artificial intelligence and rise of global threats. This is the time when the European Union needs to make sure it is taking the right direction, with digitisation and security at the core. Our actions will only be decisive when we create a competitive, prosperous, resilient and secure Europe – for every European citizen. In this respect, Europe has much common ground to come together in digitisation and cybersecurity. Cybersecurity often pops up when we speak about risks and threats. However, cybersecurity – and security in general – is more than that… Read more : EUObserver, 10.04.2018
  • draghi Draghi Nagged by Unwelcome Distraction From Euro Area’s East - Mario Draghi is finding the euro area’s eastern flank to be an unwelcome distraction. The European Central Bank president is likely to find the Governing Council missing both its Latvian and Slovenian representatives this summer, with the former barred because of a bribery investigation and the latter opting to leave his job. The ECB is questioning Latvia’s restrictions on Governor Ilmars Rimsevics at the European Court of Justice. It’s the latest nuisance from the European Union’s east, where countries such as Poland have long dragged their feet over deeper integration and Bulgaria is reluctant to allow ECB scrutiny of its banks. Latvia and neighboring Estonia have also been at the center of money-laundering scandals this year that have shuttered lenders. “It’s very inconvenient for Draghi as they have to monitor ... Read
  • bloom4 How a Remote Iranian Port Could Heighten China-India Tensions - A remote Iranian port could be the next trigger for geopolitical tensions between rivals China and India. India has pledged more than $500 million to develop the strategically located port of Chabahar — roughly 1,800 kilometers (1,110 miles) from the capital Tehran — since it first expressed interest in 2003. Yet repeated delays have prompted Iran to turn to China in the hope of speeding up construction. On a March trip to Islamabad, Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said he’d welcome Chinese and Pakistani investment in Chabahar, according to Dawn newspaper. He cited China’s development of Gwadar, a port down the coast that is a showcase of President Xi Jinping’s Belt-and-Road infrastructure initiative… Read more : Bloomberg, 10.04.2018
  • ECB - Luminale 2016 Euro Tower , MB EU judges to rule on ECB empty chair - EU judges are to rule on Latvia’s handling of a bribery fiasco in a test case for eurozone banking supervision. The European Central Bank (ECB) filed the case at the EU court in Luxembourg on Friday (6 April) after Latvia banned its own central bank chief, Ilmars Rimsevics, from office on bribery allegations last month. The move is to see the ECB’s 25-member governing council meet with an empty chair in Frankfurt in April, but the EU central bank is seeking an injunction to overrule the ban in order to “preserve the normal functioning of its decision-making”. The ECB also asked the EU judges to rule “whether Latvian authorities breached European Union law” in prohibiting Rimsevics from “holding office at the Latvian central bank and exercising his functions as a member of ... Read
  • PM “Euroland at a crossroads” : Philippe Maystadt’s interview (Strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union) - Among the numerous and prestigious contributions of our Special Review “Euroland at a crossroads“, we have the honour of counting one of the last texts by Philippe Maystadt, former Belgian minister, who unfortunately passed away on December 7th last year, during the preparation of the Review. We have wished to pay tribute to this great European by dedicating the entire publication to his memory, and by making public his contribution in full*. This interview is a moment of cleverness and clarity that we invite you to experiment… Read more : LEAP.net
  • gu How the heroin trade explains the US-UK failure in Afghanistan - After fighting the longest war in its history, the US stands at the brink of defeat in Afghanistan. How could this be possible? How could the world’s sole superpower have battled continuously for more than 16 years – deploying more than 100,000 troops at the conflict’s peak, sacrificing the lives of nearly 2,300 soldiers, spending more than $1tn (£740bn) on its military operations, lavishing a record $100bn more on “nation-building”, helping fund and train an army of 350,000 Afghan allies – and still not be able to pacify one of the world’s most impoverished nations? So dismal is the prospect of stability in Afghanistan that, in 2016, the Obama White House cancelled a planned withdrawal of its forces, ordering more than 8,000 troops to remain in the country indefinitely. In the American failure ... Read
  • aljazeera Israeli forces kill 9 Palestinians on Land Day - At least nine Palestinians have been killed and hundreds of others wounded by Israeli forces as thousands marched near Gaza’s border with Israel in a major demonstration marking the 42nd anniversary of Land Day. Mohammed Najjar, 25, was shot in the stomach in a clash east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, while Mahmoud Muammar, 38, and Mohammed Abu Omar, 22, were both shot dead in Rafah, the Palestinian health ministry said in a statement on Friday. The other five victims were identified as Ahmed Oudeh, 19, Jihad Freneh, 33, Mahmoud Saadi Rahmi, 33, Abdelfattah Abdelnabi, 22, and Ibrahim AbuShaar, 20. Earlier on Friday, Omar Waheed Abu Samour, a farmer from Gaza, was also killed by Israeli artillery fire while standing on his land near Khan Younis, just hours ahead of ... Read
  • reuters Poland signs $4.75 billion deal for U.S. Patriot missile system facing Russia - Poland signed the largest arms procurement deal in its history on Wednesday, agreeing with the United States to buy Raytheon Co’s (RTN.N) Patriot missile defense system for $4.75 billion in a major step to modernize its forces against a bolder Russia. “It is an extraordinary, historic moment; it is Poland’s introduction into a whole new world of state-of-the-art technology, modern weaponry, and defensive means,” President Andrzej Duda said during the signing ceremony. NATO member Poland has accelerated efforts to overhaul its ageing weaponry following Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014. Two-thirds of Poland’s weaponry dates from the Cold War era when it was in the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact… Read more : Reuters, 28.03.2018
  • trump Trump says US troops to get out of Syria ‘very soon’ - US President Donald Trump has declared that the United States will withdraw from war-torn Syria “very soon”, without offering any other details. “We will be coming out of Syria very soon. Let the other people take care of it now,” Trump said on Thursday in a televised rally in the state of Ohio. Trump complained that the US spends trillions of dollars in the Middle East, but get “nothing” in return. He did not say whether the withdrawal also includes the US halting its air operation against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) fighters, who remain in Syria. He told the Ohio workers that the American troops have “knocked the hell out of ISIS”.  “We’re going to have 100 percent of the caliphate, as they call it. Sometimes ... Read
  • qz Confirmation of a US government probe pushes Facebook’s market loss to $90 billion - The US Federal Trade Commission has confirmed that it is investigating Facebook over its privacy practices, following recent revelations that data firm Cambridge Analytica harvested and exploited tens of millions of users’ data without their permission. Facebook’s stock renewed its downward slide, bringing the company’s total loss of market value to around $90 billion since the scandal broke 10 days ago. “The FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook. Today, the FTC is confirming that it has an open non-public investigation into these practices,” said Tom Pahl, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement… Read more : QZ.com, 26.03.2018
  • Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk, Boiko Borissov,Tayyip Erdogan, EU-Turkey summit ends with ‘no solutions’ - EU relations with Turkey remain tense following a meeting in Bulgaria where leaders from both sides outlined differences. Speaking to reporters in the Black Sea resort of Varna on Monday (26 March), European Council president Donald Tusk said no solutions or compromises had been found between Ankara and the EU. “If you are asking me if we achieved some solutions or compromises, my answer is no. What I can say that is that I raised all our concerns, as you know it was a long list,” he said. Tusk, along with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Bulgaria’s prime minister Boyko Borissov, had met with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan as part of a broader effort to improve fraught relations. The two sides found common ground on migration, an area ... Read
  • bloom2 Global Trading Giants Dip Toes in China Oil Futures on Debut Day - Two of the world’s biggest oil traders gave China’s crude futures contract a go on its long-anticipated trading debut. Commodity giants Glencore Plc and Trafigura Group were among foreign participants as the yuan-denominated futures started on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange Monday. After an initial surge in volume that outpaced overnight transactions in global benchmark Brent crude in London, trading tapered off toward the end of the session and the contract closed at 429.9 yuan a barrel ($68.22)… Read more : Bloomberg, 26.03.2018
  • armytimes Army to base new Futures Command in major city, blend tech and academic cultures - The Army is weeks away from unveiling the next phase in its plans to centralize and streamline modernization under one Army Futures Command, including moves to lease office space in a major city where leaders will have access to civilian experts. The service will start with a list of 30 options due this week to the Army secretary and chief of staff, Undersecretary Ryan McCarthy told Army Times on Tuesday. And once a headquarters is established, he added, it will be up to commanders to make decisions about military formalities and how those will mesh with partners from different backgrounds. “This isn’t like a standard basing decision, where we’re moving a brigade combat team somewhere,” McCarthy said. “We needed access to academia and business, and those two kind of key characteristics. Where the systems engineers, ... Read
  • Platinum Mines in the World’s Top Producer Are Shrinking - “Ramaphoria” boosted the rand and revived investor sentiment on South Africa. But deep underground in the country’s platinum mines, there’s very little cause for optimism. Producers in South Africa, which accounts for about 70 percent of the world’s mined platinum, are closing shafts and cutting thousands of jobs as a stronger rand combines with stagnating prices for the metal in squeezing profit margins. The future looks equally bleak, as reduced demand for diesel engines and the rise of electric cars threatens to erode the need for the metal used to cut pollution. “The industry is going to shrink in size until there is a new source of demand,” said Natixis SA senior commodities analyst Bernard Dahdah. “We are likely to see more operations close.” … Read more : Bloomberg, 26.03.2018
  • bloom There’s a New Center of Power in Germany - To gauge the balance of power in Angela Merkel’s new government, look at where she’s placed her top political fixer. The German chancellor has entrusted Peter Altmaier with a key mission: bulking up the Economy Ministry, traditionally a relative backwater in policy terms, and turning it into a counterweight to the powerful finance post. As Merkel embarks on her hard-won fourth term, critics in her own party bloc still bemoan her decision to cede the Finance Ministry to the Social Democrats in a deal which helped seal their coalition. Yet it’s beginning to look like a reality she can turn to her advantage. The debt crisis that marked the peak of the Finance Ministry’s dominance over euro policy has faded. Wolfgang Schaeuble, whose decades of experience contributed to the ministry’s ... Read
  • boyo African free trade agreement: Matters arising - The African Continental Free Trade Area agreement was endorsed on Wednesday, March  21, 2018, by 44 African countries in Kigali, Rwanda. Nine other African Union member-countries, including Nigeria and South Africa, have delayed their assent to the treaty. Hereafter, matters arising from the AU’s vision of establishing free trade and a single currency amongst member-nations will be examined in the following interrogative prose. Please read on… Read more : Punch, 26.03.2018
  • dw Les barrières douanières vont tomber en Afrique - Le plus dur commence désormais et la prochaine étape sera la ratification par les pays de l’accord de libre-échange continentale et le protocole de libre circulation. Quels avantages ou conséquences pour les pays ? Une quarantaine de dirigeants africains ont signé mercredi à Kigali lors du sommet extraordinaire de l’Union africaine, l’accord qui prévoit l’instauration d’une zone de libre-échange continentale (ZLEC) et le protocole de libre circulation des personnes sur le continent. Afrique, un réservoir commercial Avec un milliard deux cinquante millions de consommateurs, l’Afrique constitue un véritable réservoir commercial. Mais le continent africain représente seulement 17% du commerce mondial. Ce qui est trop faible pour son potentiel… Read more : Deutsche Welle, 22.03.2018
  • dw2 Ukraine detains ex-POW Nadiya Savchenko over alleged terror plot - Ukrainian authorities have detained Nadiya Savchenko, an ex-combat pilot in Ukraine’s air force, on suspicion of planning an armed attack against the parliament. Savchenko had gained notoriety after her trial in Russia. Independent Ukrainian lawmaker Nadiya Savchenko was detained by the SBU state security agency on Thursday after the Ukrainian parliament voted to strip her of immunity. The authorities accuse the 36-year-old former pilot of plotting an armed assault on the chamber. Savchenko planned “a large-scale terrorist act” in downtown Kyiv, Ukraine’s General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko told lawmakers ahead of the immunity vote. According to the prosecutor, Savchenko was working with the Russian-backed separatists to obtain arms for attacking the parliament, including mortar rounds, sniper rifles and grenades. The attack would bring a “sea of blood, chaos” to Kyiv, Lutsenko said. ... Read
  • soybean U.S. soybeans would be China’s biggest weapon in a trade war - Import tariffs announced by the Trump administration threaten to spark a global trade war that could put a dent in the U.S. agricultural market—and domestic soybean prices could suffer the most. U.S. trading partners world-wide have threatened to retaliate against tariffs on steel and aluminum and have voiced similar sentiments about previously announced import tariffs on residential washing machines, as well as solar cells and modules, earlier this year. While China could pose the biggest threat to soybean prices, Canada and Mexico could target a broader array of agricultural products with tariffs. The two nations are exempt from the U.S. aluminum and steel tariffs, but U.S. threats to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement have shaken its relationship with its neighbors, two of the U.S.’s biggest agricultural trading ... Read
  • peru Peru president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski resigns amid corruption scandal - Peru’s president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has offered his resignation after secret video recordings entangled him in a new corruption scandal on the eve of an impeachment vote, plunging one of Latin America’s steadiest economies into a political crisis. It was unclear if the opposition-controlled Congress would accept his resignation or proceed with a vote on Thursday to force him from office. In a televised message to the nation Kuczynski said he would offer his resignation to avoid being an “obstacle” to the country but continued to deny any wrongdoing. Just 19 months into his five-year mandate Kuczynski is the first sitting president in Latin America to be forced out due to links to the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, which has been at the centre of continent’s biggest corruption scandal… Read more ... Read
  • dw Denmark to build fence on German border to keep out deadly swine - Denmark will build a 70-kilometer (44-mile) fence along its southern border with Germany to keep out wild boars infected with a deadly African swine fever, the government said on Thursday. The virus that causes the fever is harmless to humans and other animals, but it is fatal to farm pigs. There is no vaccine against the disease. Read more: Germany announces new hunting rules to combat African swine flu Securing Scandinavian swine An outbreak in Denmark would force the country to temporarily stop all pork exports to non-EU countries and halt exports from the affected area to other EU countries, the government said. “I don’t want to take any chances. We face a risk to exports that are annually worth 11 billion kroner ($1.8 billion, €1.5 billion),” said Minister for Environment ... Read
  • shoes 14K Empty Shoes Near US Capitol Honor Child Gun Violence Victims - Thousands of children’s shoes were on display outside the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday as a temporary memorial to children killed by gun violence. The Monument for Our Kids, made up for 7,000 pairs of shoes, represents every child killed with a gun since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, organizers said. The silent protest is intended to put pressure on lawmakers, Oscar Soria, spokesman for the online activist network Avaaz, told News4 last week. The group coordinated the display. “Before so many of us march in our capital and across the nation, we want to call attention to all those who can’t and remind Congress that part of why we march is because [gun violence victims] can’t,” he said… Read more : NBC Washington, 13.03.2018
  • reuters ‘Terrible’ to tell people to move city to find work – BoE chief economist - LONDON (Reuters) – British people should not be expected to move city to find work, and instead the government should find a way to revive depressed towns that have lost their original economic purpose, Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane said on Friday. Haldane, in an interview with the Financial Times, said finding a way to reinvigorate depressed towns was probably the biggest economic challenge facing Britain. Regional economic policy is not the BoE’s job – which is to ensure financial stability and control inflation across the United Kingdom as a whole – but Haldane said understanding less prosperous corners of Britain was important for building a picture of the economy as a whole. “I’ve not found a better way of tapping into a bit of a window on ... Read
  • alj Antarctica tourism growing steadily, posing potential ecological threat - Life in the islands fringing the Antarctic Peninsula is abundant, a place of seemingly endless variety. The whole region is richly biodiverse, a living example of how things can be, when free from the influence of man. We made a landing on the small cobble beach at Hannah Point, named after the British sealing vessel Hannah that was wrecked here in 1820 while operating in the South Shetland Islands. Vertical cliff edges soar up to 50 metres above sea level where several prehistoric-looking giant southern petrel raise enormous young, fluffed up in self-grown downy duvets. On the beach a welcoming colony of hundreds of Gentoo penguins stumble about across the stones, sometimes falling flat on their fronts. Others are swimming in the shallows, dipping and gliding underwater… Read more : ... Read
  • diplomat China Commits to Arctic Protections But Development Threats Loom - China has long been involved in Arctic affairs and has become an important player in the region in recent years. But without a clearly articulated Arctic policy, China’s frontline diplomacy has lacked guidance, leading other countries to be suspicious of its intentions on key issues. China’s publication of an Arctic Policy White Paper on January 26 will do a lot to resolve these problems. It was welcomed by polar scientists, countries involved in Arctic governance, and interested organizations that have long called for China to stake out a clear position.   An Important Stakeholder China defines itself in the white paper as an “important stakeholder” in Arctic affairs, noting that geographically it is close to the Arctic although not an Arctic nation… Read more : The Diplomat, 03.03.2018
  • alj Is it time the US apologised for invading Iraq? - Fifteen years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, the consequences of the subsequent war continue to be debated. According to the UN refugee agency, more than four million people have been displaced. There is no widely accepted figure for civilian deaths, but estimates run from the hundreds of thousands into the millions. “Would we like a do-over, of course we would,” says Mark Kimmitt, retired US Brigadier General who served as deputy director of operations and chief military spokesman in Iraq from 2003 to 2004. While Kimmitt accepts the US “did get some things wrong” in Iraq, he says his country’s military has nothing to apologise for. Actions taken by the US at the beginning of the war continue to have reverberating consequences, including allegations that US detention centres such as Camp Buccabecame breeding grounds for armed ... Read
  • euobs2 Eco-cooperation with Russia vital for Baltics despite sanctions - Ministers of all nine Baltic Sea states and the European Union meet in Brussels (6 March) for the Helsinki Commission’s, HELCOM, ministerial meeting. This meeting is of utmost importance. From 1997 to 2017 about €1bn, of which approximately one-third comprise international loans and grants and two-thirds domestic Russian resources, have been designated to environmental projects in St Petersburg. The results are visible in the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland, where the ecological state of the sea has improved as the discharge of pollution from St Petersburg has significantly decreased. But the long era of positive development ended abruptly in 2014 with the political conflict that emerged when Russia invaded Ukraine. The political tension in the region has continued since then, and it has had serious negative consequences for environmental ... Read
  • koreea2 North Korea will denuclearise if security guaranteed, says South - Throughout years of tension and tough talk over North Korea’s nuclear programme, Pyongyang has always insisted its “treasured sword” is not up for negotiation. But now it says it is willing to abandon nuclear weapons if the security of its government is guaranteed, Seoul’s envoy said on Tuesday after meeting the North’s leader Kim Jong-un. “The North made clear its willingness for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, and made clear that there is no reason to own nuclear [programmes] if military threats towards the North are cleared and the security of its government is guaranteed,” said Chung Eui-yong, national security adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in… Read more : SCMP, 06.03.2018
  • koreea South and North Korea agree to hold joint summit - The two Koreas have agreed to hold a joint summit and set up a telephone hotline between their respective leaders. The North said it was willing to abandon its nuclear arsenal if its security is guaranteed. South Korea on Tuesday said it has agreed with North Korea to hold a joint summit in late April and to set up a telephone hotline between their leaders. South Korea’s presidential national security director, Chung Eui-yong, also said the North had agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons if military threats against the country were resolved and if it received a credible security guarantee. The talks will take place at the Joint Security Area (JSA) in the Panmunjom border village and will be the first North-South summit in more than a decade… Read more : Deutsche Welle, 06.03.2018
  • euobs Northern EU states to minimise euro reform - Eight northern EU states have gone against France on euro reforms after the German coalition deal cleared the way for talks. The EU should avoid “far-reaching transfers of competence to the European level” as it sought to “regain public trust” in the wake of the financial crisis, the finance ministers of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Sweden said in a joint paper published on Monday (5 March). “Decision making should remain firmly in the hands of member states,” on issues such as the use of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), a bailout fund, or the creation of a European Monetary Fund (EMF) to handle future bailouts, they said. They said the strength of the euro depended, above all, on “decisive actions at the national level” to comply with ... Read
  • bloom3 Merkel’s Real Work Starts Now With Fourth Term Set - German Chancellor Angela Merkel has her work cut out now that she’s on track to begin her fourth term. President Donald Trump’s threat of tariffs on European cars, China’s global investment push and Emmanuel Macron’s calls for a closer-knit euro area all demand a German response after more than five months of political stalemate. Merkel, 63, said her new government must begin work quickly after the Social Democratic Party’s vote to join her for another coalition. “We’re seeing from what we hear every day very clearly that Europe is needed — and for that a strong German voice, together with France and other member states, is needed,” Merkel told reporters on Monday. She cited global trade and competitiveness with China as urgent issues facing a new government. Merkel is scheduled to ... Read
  • dw2 Slovak president urges sweeping changes over journalist Jan Kuciak’s murder - Slovak President Andrej Kiska has said a “serious political crisis” has resulted from Jan Kuciak’s murder. Kuciak is thought to have been killed for investigating the Italian mafia’s political influence in Slovakia. Slovakia’s president, Andrej Kiska, has said there was no way back for the government following the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee. “There’s a huge public distrust of the state,” he said during Sunday’s televised tribute to Kuciak. “And many don’t trust law enforcement authorities … This distrust is justified. We crossed the line, things went too far and there’s no way back.” Read more: Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak’s murder sparks EU reactions The president said he would host talks with the leaders of Slovakia’s political parties to discuss his proposed government shake-up. “I can see two solutions: a ... Read
  • scmp2 How has Xiconomics changed China? Beijing gives a review - President Xi Jinping’s hallmark economic policy focusing on supply-side structural reforms has achieved “solid progress” as fewer plants were idle and the debt ratio fell in 2017, according to a report from the National Bureau of Statistics. While not all economists are convinced that Xi’s administrative measures can solve the country’s overcapacity and debt problems, the statistics agency said in its annual economic and social report that hard evidence shows the approach is working. Among China’s coal mining facilities, 68.2 per cent were in operation at the end of the year, up 8.7 percentage points from a year earlier. As 2017 drew to a close, 75.8 per cent of steel plants were running, up 4.1 percentage points, according to the statistics agency… Read more : SCMP, 01.03.2018
  • dw Italy election to result in hung parliament - Former PM Matteo Renzi will reportedly resign as head of the ruling center-left Democratic Party after a crushing election defeat. Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing coalition took the lead but may face a hung parliament. A right-wing alliance led by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia took the lead in Italy’s general election, according to preliminary results published Monday morning, but the country now faces a hung parliament. Forza Italia, the far-right Northern League and Brothers of Italy together took about 37 percent of the vote, followed by the euroskeptic 5-Star Movement (M5S) with about 32 percent. Read more: Luigi Di Maio: The populist leader eyeing victory in Rome Matteo Salvini’s right-wing, anti-immigrant Northern League took 18 percent, surpassing Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, which took less than 14 percent, according to the partial results. Berlusconi had ... Read
  • bloom Major Says U.K. Voters Have Right to ‘Reconsider’: Brexit Update - The European Union on Wednesday published the draft legal text that will form the basis for the Brexit divorce treaty. It’s explosive, and includes a fallback option for Northern Ireland to remain in the customs union with a border between the province and the rest of the U.K. That was swiftly rejected by Prime Minister Theresa May. “No U.K. prime minister could ever agree to it,” she said of the EU text, which she argued “would, if implemented, undermine the U.K. common market and threaten the constitutional integrity of the U.K. by creating a customs and regulatory border down the Irish Sea.” We will be following developments here in real time, including a speech by former Prime Minister John Major. Time stamps are London… Read more : Bloomberg, 28.02.2018
  • scmp1 China’s banking, insurance watchdogs likely to merge in massive financial regulatory overhaul - Regulators likely to be consolidated as part of President Xi Jinping’s plans to reduce financial risk. China is considering plans to merge its banking and insurance watchdogs to bring more order to a fragmented regulatory system and to heed President Xi Jinping’s calls to reduce financial risk. Sources with knowledge of the matter told the South China Morning Post that proposals were being considered to amalgamate the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), which has been headless since its chairman was put under investigation for corruption in April, and the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), which is chaired by veteran financial official Guo Shuqing… Read more SCMP,
  • scmp2 North Korea ‘ready’ for talks with US, says South’s president’s office - The North Korean delegation to the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics said Pyongyang was “willing to have talks” with the United States, South Korea’s Blue House said on Sunday night. North Korea agreed that inter-Korean relations should “improve together” with relations between North Korea and the US, the Blue House said after an hour-long meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korea’s chief representative, Kim Yong-chol, in Pyeongchang, on the sidelines on the Games… Read more : SCMP, 25.02.2018
  • Delta and United Join Companies Dumping the NRA - Delta Air Lines Inc. and United Continental Holdings Inc. became the latest companies to cut ties with the National Rifle Association after a call to boycott the lobbying group became a top trend on Twitter Friday. The online furor continued into the weekend after the NRA’s leaders attacked the media and Democrats, claiming the fallout from last week’s Florida high school massacre was being politicized. One user, with almost a quarter of a million followers, tagged a slew of brands in his post, including NRA partners Hertz Corp. and LifeLock Inc. “There are only 5 million NRA members but over 300 million of us! Businesses have a choice whose business they prefer,” tweeted another. Delta and United, two of America’s largest passenger carriers, said Saturday they would back away from the group. Delta said in a statement it was “ending its contract for discounted ... Read
  • scmp Change to Chinese presidency term limits could signal overhaul of role - The decision to remove the ­constitutional restriction on China’s presidential term limits suggests Chinese President Xi Jinping may want to turn what is essentially a ceremonial position into a role carrying much greater political heft, an observer familiar with party ideology says. The party’s Central Committee on Sunday announced a plan to remove language from the charter saying the president and vice-president “shall serve no more than two consecutive terms”. The move is the strongest indication yet Xi plans to stay in power beyond the end of his second term as general secretary in 2022. While most China experts have long expected he would find a way to remain in power, it is surprising the amendments have come so early in the second term… Read more : SCMP, 26.02.2018
  • eupbs EU divided over Western Balkan enlargement - EU foreign ministers disagreed over the integration of the Western Balkan on Thursday (15 February), after the European Commission had suggested last week that Serbia and Montenegro join the bloc by 2025. Ministers meeting in Sofia discussed for the first time the EU executive’s strategyon the region, one which Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign relations chief, called a “top priority” for the bloc. It its new policy, the commission warned that unresolved border issues need to be resolved before the countries could join the bloc. But the institution is determined to pull the region closer to the EU’s orbit, with fears over increasing Russian, Turkish and Chinese influence at Europe’s doorstep. The front runners according to commission’s assessment are Serbia and Montenegro, while Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia could join later… ... Read
  • zuma Jacob Zuma resigns as South Africa’s president, ending standoff with ruling party - South Africa’s embattled president, Jacob Zuma, resigned on Wednesday, putting an end to a period of scandal and mismanagement that threatened to undermine the party of Nelson Mandela. Zuma’s resignation leaves his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, as the country’s acting leader, and the person now charged with salvaging the legacy of Africa’s most famous liberation movement. Zuma, who was once revered as a hero of that movement, served time as a political prisoner alongside Mandela in his youth. But Zuma’s nine years in office, marred by a string of corruption allegations, drove even party ­loyalists away from the once-invincible African National Congress (ANC). To many here, the most destructive aspect of Zuma’s legacy was his failure to deliver on the promises of post-apartheid South Africa. Twenty-four years after Mandela rose to ... Read
  • libe Commission: comment un eurocrate s’est emparé du pouvoir - Faut-il parler de « Commission Juncker » ou de « Commission Selmayr » ? Après la nomination, hier, du tout puissant chef de cabinet de Jean-Claude Juncker, Martin Selmayr, au poste clef de secrétaire général, on peut se poser la question. Etre à la tête de cette véritable tour de contrôle de l’administration communautaire va permettre à cet Allemand de 47 ans, inconnu du grand public, d’avoir la haute main non seulement sur les affaires internes de l’exécutif européen, mais aussi sur sa politique (toutes les décisions transitent par le secrétariat général). Mieux : il s’est assuré de garder le contrôle total du cabinet de Juncker en nommant des affidés qui ne prendront pas le risque de lui déplaire. Le fait que Juncker soit descendu en salle de presse, en ... Read