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.
- After new cases surfaced in the Chinese capital of Beijing, at Xinfadi food market, 10 new residential blocks were placed in quarantine.
- A leader of the Sudanese militia has appeared before the International Criminal Court on Monday, after 13 years on the run, having been accursed of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Darfur conflict, between 2003 and 2004, although rejecting all the accusations put forth by the court.
- António Guterres, UN Secretary General, has removed a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia from the annual United Nations black list after several years of it having been included for killing and wounding children in Yemen.
- US marine Paul Whelan was accused by a Russian court of espionage for the United States, having been sentenced to 16 years in prison.
- Africa is feared to be on the verge of becoming the new epicenter for Covid-19, since the number of cases doubled on the continent in 18 days, according to the World Health Organization, reaching 200 thousand infected, whereas it took 98 days to reach 100 thousand.
- Hundreds of Rohingya refugees are being kept at sea by human traffickers, demanding ransom from their families to released them from the boats on the shores of southeast Asia.
- The Indian army stated last Tuesday that at least 20 Indian soldiers died during confrontations with China on the Himalaya mountain range, at the disputed border between the two powers.
- The North Korean Chief of Staff has promised to send soldiers back to demilitarized zones, at a time when tensions with its southern neighbor rekindles.
- A committee was formed in Sudan to investigate the discovery of a mass grave with dead recruits in 1998, in a district southeast of the capital, Khartoum.
- Kenya, Norway, Ireland, India and Mexico were elected non-permanent members of the UN Security Council on a 2 year term, starting on the January 1, 2021.
- Sergei Lavrov, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, will visit Serbia a few days before elections take place, while the White House invited Serbian and Kosovo leaders to discuss the peace process, stepping up the fight for influence in the Balkans.
- According to the United Nations, the number of refugees globally has doubled in the last decade, representing now 80 million people.
- The officer who killed African-american Rayshard Brooks was accused of 11 crimes, including homicide.
- In Belarus, leader of the opposition Viktor Babariko was detained under suspicion of conspiracy, although president Lukashenko rejects that a revolution was taking place.
- The main legislative organ in China began to prepare a new national security law for Hong Kong this week, which, according to critics, will negatively impact its political and judicial institutions.
- Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi stated that his country may intervene in Libya in case its regional rival Turkey and its allies go through with the threats of taking the strategic city of Sirte through the use of force.
- Russia begins to unwind lockdown, at a time when the country is preparing to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of the 2nd World War in Europe, which will include a military parade and a vote on constitutional ammendments.