On the past 8th, Saturday, the EU-India Summit took place in Porto. The meeting strengthened the strategic partnership, which focused on eight main points: sharing interests and values; trade agreement; scientific and technological cooperation; migration and mobility; security council reform; contributing to a more “open, inclusive and governed by international laws and standards” Indo-Pacific space; climate crisis and connectivity. Thus, the EU and India committed to promote global health security by strengthening preparedness and response of the WHO. Regarding trade, leaders agreed to: resume negotiations on a balanced, comprehensive and mutually beneficial free trade agreement; find quick solutions to market access problems; negotiate a stand-alone investment protection agreement and another on geographic indicators.
Suspension of the “China-Australia Economic and Strategic Dialogue” initiative
Last Thursday, China announced the suspension of activities under the “China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue” initiative for an “indefinite period.” The PRC also criticized G7 countries for their support towards Taiwan. The Chinese decision comes just weeks after Australia vetoed two agreements between Beijing and the Victorian state executive due to incompatibilities on “national interest.” The two agreements were related to the BRI. The Chinese government was not pleased with the joint statement by the ministers, who also accused China of human rights violations and the use of “coercive and arbitrary economic policies and practices” on international level. However, it was not only the People’s Republic of China that was criticized. The ministers also noted that Russia was trying to undermine democracies and continues to threaten Ukraine. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Wenbin defended his country and accused the others of trying to interfere in China’s internal order.
- The leading figure of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, Joshua Wong, was sentenced to another ten months in prison for taking part in an unauthorised vigil in Summer last year commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.
- The Pentagon has increased its military resources in the Middle East. The reason, it said, is the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO coalition forces from Afghanistan. Last Wednesday, Pentagon spokesman Kirby said sending those reinforcements was a priority.
- French fishermen have protested post-Brexit fishing rights on the British island of Jersey. Tensions rose as France sent two maritime patrol boats into the waters after the British navy dispatched two of its vessels on Wednesday. On Thursday, the European Union accused the United Kingdom of violating the terms of the post-Brexit trade deal, forcing the British Royal Navy boats to withdraw.
- This Monday, a subway line in Mexico City collapsed and killed 25 people. Although concerns about the line’s structure have been voiced since its inauguration in 2012, few expected such an outcome.
- The Iran nuclear deal negotiations resumed on Friday. For now, the parties admit that the negotiations may end without a deal, partly due to the domestic political pressures on negotiators. The White House announced that sanctions against Iran could only be lifted if the country returned to compliance with the nuclear agreement. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said there had been progress in the dealings.
- More than a week of protests in Colombia have left at least 25 dead and hundreds injured. Colombians first took to the streets in April to protest a tax reform introduced by President Duque.
- This Wednesday, the Facebook Oversight Board announced that Donald Trump’s accounts would remain suspended. At the same time, Rebel News co-founder Ezra Levant also announced that PayPal had cancelled his account without explanation. The cause of the ban may be related to Levants criticism of the Trudeau government and its applied Covid-19 restrictions. In addition to the Rebel News account, Paypal also blocked Ezra’s and the non-profit organization For Canada’s accounts.
- The European Commission has postponed efforts to ratify the investment agreement with China, Valdis Dombrovskis said Tuesday. The situation is due to the current climate between the EU and China, specifically due to the sanctions imposed on both.
- On Wednesday, EU foreign affairs spokesman Peter Stano warned Israel against constructions that would “cut off” Bethlehem from East Jerusalem. It is an area that the international community recognizes as Palestinian territory, which has been occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War in 1967. The governments of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom have also called on Israel to abandon its construction plans.
- Last Thursday, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, announced that the EU would be willing to consider proposals to waive patents on the Covid 19 vaccine. The day before, the U.S. government had already voiced its support for the proposal. The aim will be to speed up vaccination against the virus.
- NASA Administrator Bill Nelson criticized China’s approach to safety standards and transparency, due to the rocket debris falling into the Indian Ocean. The rocket went out of control after entering orbit, which sparked fears that the debris could hit a populated area.
This article was translated by Rafael Lopes dos Reis