In a pointed declaration aimed at China, British foreign secretary Johnson declared on Thursday (27 July) that Britain’s new aircraft carries would be sent to the Asia-Pacific region, commonly interpreted as the South China Sea (SCS), next year. French President Macron stirred things in the ongoing migration debate, when he announced plans to create “hotspots” in Libya in order to stem the flow of migrants coming from North Africa to the European Union (EU), mainly Italy. With the Association of Southeast Asian Nation’s (ASEAN) 50th anniversary (8 August) coming closer, several Southeast Asian newspapers published articles reflecting on the same. With the 40th anniversary approaching of formal EU-ASEAN relations, the Bangkok post ran an article by Kavi Chongkittavorn, who suggested that the US under the Trump administration is strengthening the difficult relationship between the EU and ASEAN. Click on the image to read more.
As the UK came to realize the complexity of the Brexit negotiations after the first full round of negotiations last week, it has become more receptive to having a transitional deal with the EU post-Brexit. The EU and US had a spat over the US House bill passed on Tuesday that would impose new sanctions on Russia. The EU’s strained relations with Turkey are also put on display this week during a political dialogue between EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and their Turkish counterparts. The ECJ ruling that the EU’s refugee relocation scheme was legal is unlikely to make Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic any more willing to participate in the scheme. Click on the image to read more on News and View on Europe this week.
The second round of Brexit kicked off on Monday. Brussels was frustrated over the UK’s apparent lack of preparedness for serious negotiations, especially with regards to Britain’s financial obligations to the EU budget. The EU showed strong concerns over Poland’s rule of law this week. With the recent adoption of laws putting the judiciary under political control, the European Commission is considering to trigger Article 7, which could lead to the suspension of a member state’s voting rights. Migration issues continue to dog the European Union. Italy, the main gate of entry for migrants, has accused other EU member states for not sharing the burden and therefore threatened to issue temporary visas for migrants, which would allow them to move freely within the Schengen zone. Click on the image to read more.
Issues around Brexit and migration/refugee were once again a “hot topic” this week. Formal Brexit negotiations which began on 19 Jun is in the news as the negotiators prepared for the 2nd round of negotiations. On the migrant/refugee crisis in Europe, the French government this week pledged to do more for refugees, while at the same time vow to take a tougher stance on economic migrants by deporting them “systematically. Click on the image to read more.
July marks the start of the Estonian Presidency of the Council. The Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas on Wednesday outlined the Presidency’s priorities to the European Parliament, urging EU member states to do more on defence. This week world leaders flocked to Hamburg to attend the 2017 G20 Summit. Ahead of the Summit, two Asian giants, China and Japan, tightened their ties with Europe in different ways. China and Germany engaged in an eye-catching “Panda Diplomacy” whereas Japan reached agreement with the EU on a bilateral trade accord. The perennial issue of migrants arriving on European shores reached a peak early this week as the number of arrivals in Italy hit new heights. About 12,000 refugees/migrants reached Italy in the past few days. Click on the image to read more on this week News on Views on Europe.
With issues around citizens’ rights at the top of agenda during the Brexit talks, Theresa May presented her policy plan for the 3 million EU nationals currently residing in the UK to the Parliament on Monday (26 June). On Tuesday (27 June) American tech giant Google was slapped with a record-breaking fine of €2.4 billion by the European Commission. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday (27 June) she wanted to resume talks between the EU and the United States on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Click on the image to read more on this week’s News and Views on Europe.
EU leaders met on 22-23 Jun a few days after the opening of Brexit negotiations. A sense of unity and confidence appeared to have set in with the leaders agreeing on historic step towards permanent structured cooperation in defence, and stepping up cooperation to counter terrorism on all fronts. In the first round of Brexit negotiations which started on 19 June, negotiators discussed the organisation and priorities for the negotiations ahead. The second round of the French Parliamentary elections took place on Sunday (18 June). As predicted, President Emmanuel Macron’s party La République En Marche won a majority with 308 seats in the 577-strong National Assembly. Greece blocked an EU statement criticising China’s human rights record at the UN last week. Click on the image to read more on this week’s News and Views on Europe.
In a dramatic snap election called by Theresa May, the Conservative Party lost its majority in the British Parliament, and is negotiating with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to form a coalition government. Unlike the divisive British election, the first round of French legislative election yielded rather clear-cut results with Macron’s party La République En Marche coming first winning 32% of the votes, ahead of the conservative Républicains (21%) and the far-right National Front (14%). This week toxic issues surrounding refugee/migrant crisis re-surfaced in Europe. European Commission on Tuesday opened legal proceedings against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for failing to comply with the bloc’s legally binding refugee relocation scheme. Click on the image to read more on this week’s News and Views on Europe.
This week, we bring you stories about EU to mobilise €40 billion to beef up defence cooperation, EU Hopes for Western Balkan Common Market by Mid-2018, and Asian papers condemn London attack, call for consistent anti-terrorism strategies. Click on the image to read more.
In News and Views on Europe this week, we bring you stories about Merkel’s “pivot” to Asia?, Macron sets his red lines during meeting with Putin, and Strengthening Eurozone governance. Click on the image to read more on these stories.