Foreign Policy

Will there be a Brexit breakthrough?

Here is today's foreign policy mandate: no-deal Brexit When negotiation teams try to save talks, the threat threatens US Congress enter "Hell Week" and the world this week.

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EU and UK teams take part in the Brexit talks in the last ditch

Death, taxes – and disagreements on a level playing field, governance and fisheries. The list of inevitables in life for negotiators in the EU and the UK has grown over months of unsolved talks. Just 26 days before the UK left its 11-month transition period from the European Union, these three sticking points have kept talks stalemated.

A glimmer of hope was seen on Sunday when the Guardian reported an agreement had been reached on access to EU fishing boats in UK waters (UK officials were quick to dampen any optimism, saying "nothing new" had been achieved ).

Move slowly and break things. In a strategy dubbed a "negotiating tactic" by Irish Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney, the UK government intends to reintroduce its single market law in the House of Commons with clauses that would break an earlier Brexit deal and that the UK government has admitted to international breaches, right. An earlier version of the bill was amended by the House of Lords and the controversial clauses removed.

All eyes will be on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as their call scheduled for this afternoon in Washington will give the best update on whether talks will continue or a no- Deal result is imminent.

Good deal? Joseph de Weck wrote in Foreign Policy on October 14th that Britain would remain on the retreat in Europe regardless of how the negotiations go. "Deal or no deal, on January 1, 2021, Great Britain will become the European country with the weakest trade relations with the 27 EU member states," wrote de Weck. "The free trade agreement under negotiation does not even come close to the agreements that Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and even Ukraine made with Brussels."

The COVID boundaries built. It's not just a Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic has helped build a sense of internal cohesion among EU members on a philosophical level not seen since the days of the Habsburg and Ottoman empires. Caroline de Gruyter writes: “A clear difference between us and us. others are slowly emerging. "

The world this week

On Monday November 7thMark Lowcock, United Nations Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, discusses the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on humanitarian action at the Brookings Institution.

Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya speaks at a forum of the Atlantic Council.

French President Emmanuel Macron receives Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for talks.

Voters in Ghana vote in presidential and parliamentary elections.

Tuesday, December 8thA trade agreement between the USA and Ecuador is signed in Quito, in which the US sales representative Robert Lighthizer participates.

The White House is holding a COVID-19 vaccine summit with governors and pharmaceutical company representatives to approve the use of Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna vaccines ahead of a Food and Drug Administration meeting.

Liberians vote in Senate elections. The vote includes referendums on shortening the term of office of the President and the Senate and on the question of whether dual citizenship should be allowed.

Alexander Gauland from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is coming to Moscow at the invitation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Wednesday December 9thTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan begins a two-day visit to Azerbaijan.

On Thursday December 10thThe summit of the heads of state or government of the European Council begins.

EU-mediated negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia are taking place.

On Friday December 11ththe US House of Representatives adjourned. The state funds are also running out.

The Nobel Peace Prize Forum begins in Oslo.

On Saturday December 12th The United Kingdom and the United Nations host the Climate Ambition Summit and urge members of the United States to step up their commitment to climate action to mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement.

What we are following today

Crunch time in Congress. The US Congress begins what Politico has dubbed "Hell Week" as lawmakers attempt to pass a coronavirus relief bill, a defense bill and a state funding agreement before the December 11 deadline. A $ 908 billion coronavirus relief bill negotiated over the weekend by a non-partisan group will include $ 300 weekly unemployment benefits but will no longer write $ 1,200 checks, which were last issued in May were. Congress is expected to pass a defense spending bill on Tuesday. However, since it does not repeal Section 230 of the Communications Act, as President Trump has requested, the President may veto it.

COVID roars back in South Korea. South Korea, one of the first companies to stop the spread of COVID-19, is grappling with the largest outbreak of the virus in nine months. 631 new cases were reported on Saturday. Park Neung-hoo, a health department official, said the current number of infections is "higher than what we can control in our hospital system." With cases rising, South Korea is introducing new restrictions for the next three weeks, including banning gatherings of more than 50 people and closing gyms and places of worship.

Romania's Orban faces tough elections.
Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban is fighting for a coalition after his ruling National Liberal Party slipped behind the rival Social Democratic Party due to the early election results. Turnout was hampered by a turnout of just 32 percent, the lowest since the end of communism in the country. Despite the results, Orban has declared his party the "moral winner and the winner at the end of the counting process". Partly official election results are expected today.

Rules of engagement. A new report from Brown University's Costs of War project finds that a loosening of the rules of engagement in Afghanistan by the US Department of Defense in 2017 resulted in an increase in the number of civilian deaths from US and allied air strikes compared to the last ten Years coincided by 95 percent. According to the report, 700 Afghan civilians were killed in air strikes in 2019, most since the war began in 2001.

Iranian tankers to Venezuela. Around ten Iranian fuel tankers are traveling to Venezuela in the last delivery to defy the US sanctions against the country. Bloomberg reports that the tankers will also collect fuel in Venezuela for export. The fleet is roughly twice the size of one that traveled from Iran to Venezuela in May. In September, Esfandyar Batmanghelidj and Francisco Rodríguez argued in foreign policy that the two isolated and sanctioned states are increasingly helping each other.

"The simple fact that Iran, which has been subject to widespread sanctions campaigns for more than a decade, recently came to the aid of Venezuela, which has only been under concerted sanctions pressure for a few years, suggests a remarkable level of economic resilience," she said wrote, "When comparing the two economies, the most important question is not whether Iran will become like Venezuela, but whether Venezuela will become more like Iran."

Turkey sanctions. The Foreign Ministers of the European Union will discuss whether to impose sanctions on Turkey for gas exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean. The European Union claims that Turkey operated exploration and drilling vessels in waters disputed by Greece and Cyprus. Greece has offered to negotiate with Turkey on this issue but has refused to do so while Turkish ships are still operating in the region. A Turkish seismic reconnaissance ship returned to port on November 29 after a 111-day mission that collected 10,995 km of 2D seismic data, according to the Turkish Ministry of Energy.

Israeli-Saudi relations. The Saudi Arabian Prince Turki bin Faisal al-Saud, a former ambassador to the United States and the United Kingdom, made fiery remarks at an international security conference just before Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi came in, criticizing Israel's treatment of the Palestinians . The comments come as hopes for a normalization agreement between the two countries are high. Prince Turki accused Israel of hypocrisy and lamented the incarceration of Palestinians "in concentration camps under the weakest security charges – young and old, women and men rotting there without recourse to justice," he said. "They destroy houses however they want and murder whoever they want," he added.

After Prince Turki's speech, Ashkenazi tried to defuse the situation. “I want to regret the comments made by the Saudi representative. I don't think they reflect the spirit and changes in the Middle East, ”he said.

At a time when government programs to improve people's lives are inevitably linked to bureaucracy, a political candidate in the southwestern state of Goa has made a simple proposal: compulsory siestas for everyone. Vijai Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party has suggested the policy both as a symbol of Goa's laid-back "Susegad" lifestyle and as a response to outsiders who do not show the same respect for culture. “The siesta is part of Susegad and Susegad is the cool, casual identity of Goa. Since outsiders do not respect the ritual, I want to make it a law. For us Goans, it's the quality of life, not the amount of money, that matters. We love what we have, ”said Sardesai.

Sardesai claims science is on his side, and having an afternoon nap helps keep energy levels stable. “The siesta relaxes you. I find when I skip it I feel tired and I can't function. And then I can't enjoy my evening. So what is it about? " he added.

That's it for today.

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Photo credit: Julien Warnand / AFP

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