Is Europe falling apart? A deliberately provocative question, though grounded in more than trivialities. Our first answer could seem paradoxical, but has the facts on its side: the enormous difficulties faced by the United Kingdom in actually implementing the outcome of the Brexit referendum show that Europe is too strong to fall apart.
With the so-called “Gilets jaunes movement”, France has gone through a political mobilization which is both “déjà vu” and radically new. The “déjà vu” dimension is linked to the historical tradition of protest and political violence in a country where the representative channels and the intermediary groups are and always have been sociologically weak and politically illegitimate since the 1789 revolution. This French peculiarity has little to teach to other democratic systems which are usually better equipped with instruments of mediation both at the societal and political level.
The leaders of the G20 are meeting in Buenos Aires amid growing geopolitical and trade tensions. The Summit is a long shot from 2009, the first time it was held at the leaders' level. Back then, governments of the 19 industrialized nations (plus the EU) managed to avoid a major trade war in the face of the worst economic recession since 1929. Today, the US-China trade war is on, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is flaring up again, and the Khashoggi case continues to haunt Saudi Arabia.
The escalating trade war between the United States and China will be one of the hot issues during the Buenos Aires G20 meeting. This trade conflict, probably the most important since the second world war, started last January with the US introducing safeguard tariffs on imports from the world of solar panels and tariff rate-quotas on imports from the world of washing machines. These tariffs have been introduced in response to requests by US manufacturers.
As G20 leaders arrive in Buenos Aires to start their 13th summit on November 30, 2018, many observers wonder if they will fail, for the first time, to produce a collective communiqué at their summit’s end. Most assume that if they do, it will contain only a collection of watered-down, general platitudes, in sharp contrast to the 529 precise, future-oriented, politically obligatory commitments that they made at their last summit, in Hamburg, Germany, in July 2017.
The twentieth summit between the European Union and China, which ended on 16 July 2018 in Beijing, reinforces the collaboration between the two actors both at the economic-commercial and the geopolitical levels.
In 2011 a now infamous policy paper by the same author labelled the EU-India relationship as “A Loveless Arranged Marriage”. Seven years later, the EU-India strategic partnership has turned into one of the well most functioning of the EU’s strategic partnerships, even far ahead of the faltering EU-US strategic partnership under US President Trump.
The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) stands for 55% of global trade, 60% of global GDP, 60% of the world’s population, 65% of global production, and 75% of global tourism. Figures such as these are published every two years on the occasion of the biennial ASEM summit, but in and of themselves they say very little.
With US President Donald Trump apparently hell bent on upending global rules, can Europe and Asia join forces to shore up a rapidly weakening multilateral order? New initiatives unveiled by the European Commission for revamping the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and setting governance standards for transport, energy and digital connectivity offer opportunities for more joint Europe-Asian action.
The state of relations between Europe and China on the issue of bilateral direct investments has recently become more and more delicate. Precisely since the end of 2017, which marked a milestone in Europe-China economic relations. For the first time ever, Chinese direct investment flows exceeded their German counterparts, traditionally the largest European investors in the Middle Kingdom.