Weekly Report 15-21 June 2020

The European Union and its political and economic constraints

After three months of lockdown, EU countries are facing an unprecedented economic and social crisis. Last Friday, heads of state and government in the Union have once again been unable to reach and agreement in regards to the economic recovery plan which was announced by the European Commission.

As lockdown winds down, the ECB forecast that EU GDP would fall between 8 to 12% and inflation would increase, reaching 1,3% in 2022. Taking into account the ECB forecasts and the socio-economic crisis which Europe is facing, the Commission announced on May 27 a strategy of economic revovery, which took shape in a financing package of 750 billion euros to be distributed mainly in the form of subsidies.

The Union finds itself split around the way this package will be put into force, distributed, and which conditions will be imposed to member-states. Countries typically seen as “frugal”, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands don’t support this program and prefer loans instead of subsidies. On the other hand, the four largest economies in the EU support this program, with Merkel calling for solidarity and stating that it is a “historical project that may guide the old continent towards the future”. Despite the disagreement between member-states, it is recognized that it is essential to continue the conversations to safeguard the future of the European Union.

John Bolton and the threat to national security

Royce Lamberth, US federal judge, has rejected Donald Trump’s request to block the publishing of The Room Where It Happened, the book by John Bolton, former National Security Advisor of the USA. Bolton reveals in the book that Trump was obsessed with his reelection and the Ukranian case is not the only one liable to lead the president to removal from office.

It’s mentioned that Donald Trump will have attempted to convince Xi Jinping to help him get reelected, noting the importance that soy and wheat purchases from China could have in terms of their impact on the US election. Other statements by the president are also revealed such as praising the construction of concentration camps for the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang.

The Department of Justice had requested to courts to block the publishing of the book, justifying this request with the fact that it contains classified information and the threat that disclosing them would represent to US national security. According to the judge, although the book “raises serious security concerns”, the publishing of many excerpts in it makes the request pointless.

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