On Thursday 27th April 2023, our second Participatory TV News meeting took place. This format is the embodiment of a pluralistic, multinational and multilingual information system, thanks to the active participation of our readers. It therefore allows us to appreciate a diversity of points of view on a generous number of current affairs, an essential prerequisite for a serene vision of the future. For those who were unable to attend, here is a summary of the main points discussed.
Focus on the European Union
The parliamentary elections in Finland in early April resulted in a victory for the ultra-conservative, anti-Russian party known as Kokoomus, or the National Coalition Party. They also saw the election of many generals to the Finnish Parliament, and preceded discussions about a right-wing coalition with the Party of (True) Finns (Perussuomalaiset). All this is in line with Finland’s NATO membership, which became official on 4 April. The country is determined to stand up to Russia, particularly through far-right anti-Russian parties. This is why the Finnish party decided to leave the European Parliament’s political group, Identity and Democracy (ID), which is made up of pro-Russian parties such as the German AfD and the Austrian FPÖ. Instead, it joined the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group. However, the victory of the National Coalition Party, closely followed by the Finns Party, reflects the current trend of a real rise of the far right in Europe. This trend should be monitored in the run-up to the European Parliament elections scheduled for May 2024.
Many decisions have recently been taken at European level, but often go unnoticed by citizens. The Participatory TV Journal has therefore provided an opportunity to review the recent decisions and gather the impressions of our readers. First, we looked at the “zero deforestation” goal, which has recently taken another step forward with the European Union Regulation on Zero Deforestation Products (EUDR), which was voted by the European Parliament on 19 April. It will ban the import of products from deforested areas into the EU. However, this may cause some disruption to free trade agreements, especially in the EU-Mercosur negotiations.
The Digital Services Act (DSA) was then discussed, the aim of which is to regulate the activities of digital platforms. The list of the main platforms targeted by the DSA was published on 25 April. They include Google, TikTok and Amazon. They will have to comply with the European legislation by August 2023 at the latest, which requires more transparency and a real effort to fight illegal content.
Important decisions have also been taken recently in the field of asylum and migration. With the adoption of several texts on 20 April, negotiations can now begin. Many believe that the European Union lacks common legislation on asylum and migration, which would promote greater solidarity between Member States. The start of negotiations is therefore a first step towards this goal, which the Commission hopes to achieve before the 2024 elections.
In other European news, Spain is experiencing an early and severe drought. It has therefore asked for help from the European Union to deal with this major problem. But apart from subsidies, there is little the EU can do. As we pointed out in our April issue, which featured an article on water, the supranational institutions are unable to reach a consensus on a challenge that transcends borders and requires solid collective cooperation. It should be noted that in July Spain will take over the presidency of the European Union in a context of drought that is likely to worsen. Perhaps it will take advantage of this opportunity to initiate talks in the hope of reaching a common agreement.
Focus on space innovation
This Participatory TV News was an opportunity to look at space innovations through a presentation by Daniel Chrétien, space journalist and author of the Spacekiwi blog. We looked at the Japanese HAKUTO-R mission, which was due to land on the surface of the Moon on 25 April. Although this attempt failed, it is still important as it is the first private mission to attempt this feat. The XPrize challenge, sponsored by Google and launched in the early 2010s, led to the creation of several start-ups, some of which are now becoming major players in space exploration. The fact that it is becoming commonplace to subcontract the exploration of the solar system to private companies shows real progress in the field and helps to keep the skills dynamic. This type of private mission helps to recover essential data in order to install a redundancy of the best way to land on the Moon or to operate there, for example. The lack of redundancy will soon make Europe dependent on the United States for an indefinite period of time when its only rocket (Ariane 5) becomes obsolete.
Focus on the elections
The first round of the Turkish presidential election will take place on 14 May. The two candidates currently in the running are Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu. Even in the event of a change of government, with Kilicdaroglu playing an even more nationalistic tune than Erdogan (anti-refugee demonstrations, the return of Syrians to their homes, a redistribution post-earthquake aid reserved for Turks …), Turkey’s policy towards Russia should remain similar to what we know today. Indeed, it is not expected to join the Western sanctions against Moscow, nor to declare itself openly pro-Russian. Similarly, it is unlikely to take a different stance on Cyprus or Syria in the international arena. Domestically, however, the Kurds are pinning their hopes on Kilicdaroglu.
With the American presidential election scheduled for November 2024, the candidates are beginning to emerge: seven candidates are currently being considered on the Republican side, and three on the Democratic side. Joe Biden is the latest to announce his candidacy, on 25 April 2023. However, there is a lack of enthusiasm among American voters for a new Biden-Trump duel.
Focus on the international economy
As shown in our April issue, which focused mainly on the de-dollarisation phenomenon, the dollar money supply has been declining for several months. The latest news confirms this trend and, moreover, shows an acceleration. Argentina, a country heavily dependent on the dollar, is in the throes of its disappearance as an international currency, between the increase in its value and the scarcity of banknotes. Moreover, the decision has been taken to use the yuan as the currency of exchange between Argentina and China. The Argentine government therefore has the firm intention of abandoning the dollar, which further reinforces the end of its hegemony.
Figure 1 – Evolution of the dollar money supply. Source: Trading Economics/FED
Jerome Powell, chairman of the US Federal Reserve (FED), and Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), have both been the victims of pranks by Russian comedians. Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov, who are not new to the business, managed to impersonate politicians and obtain video conference calls in order to extract confidential information. In particular, Christine Lagarde admitted that the ECB’s work on a digital euro is progressing and would be unveiled in October. Although this news is welcome, the digital euro is controversial, with the main argument of the opponents being the loss of fundamental freedoms for European citizens and the emergence of increased control.
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