Agreement

Why the EU must support the African Continental Free Trade Area

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The signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) by 44 African countries at a summit of the African Union (AU) in Kigali, Rwanda last month marked an historic moment. Emmanuel Dupuy EUtoday The AfCFTA has the potential to bring over 1.2bn people together into the same market, worth trillions of dollars in GDP. The bloc would be the largest in the world by member states, eclipsing the European Single Market, writes Emmanuel Dupuy, President of the Institute for Prospective ... Read More »

Less Than Meets the Eye

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The Russia-Turkish-Iran Axis If an alliance is forming between Ankara, Moscow, and Tehran, it’s a flimsy one at best. Dimitar Bechev The American Interest While the U.S. mulls how to calibrate its policy in response to the use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad last week, a set of leaders are hoping that President Trump stays the course and decides to withdraw from Syria. The past week saw Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Vladimir Putin sharing the stage in Ankara ... Read More »

Israel cancels UN deal to resettle African migrants

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Embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu caves to pressure from right wing parties over UN offer to rehome 16,000 Africans in Western countries and allow 16,000 to remain in Israel Bethan McKernan Independent Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is cancelling yesterday’s agreement with the UN to relocate thousands of African asylum seekers to Western countries. “I have listened carefully to the many comments on the agreement. As a result, and after I again weighed the advantages and disadvantages, I decided to cancel ... Read More »

Gas, pipeline dreams and gunboat diplomacy in Mediterranean

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A spate of recent deals and gas finds in the eastern Mediterranean Sea has positioned Egypt to be a major energy hub. Chase Winter DW Turkey, which is flexing its military muscles, may be left out. For years, there was hope that gas fields under the eastern Mediterranean Sea would usher in peace and prosperity in a volatile region. But a string of recent deals and gas finds have revealed deep geopolitical fault lines. Since 2009, Israel, Egypt and Cyprus ... Read More »

Big coal no more

JACKERATH, GERMANY - JANUARY 09: Mining machines operate in the open-strip coal mine in Garzweiler, in Jackerath, Germany, on January 9, 2018. The village of Immerath will be completely razed in order to make way for the expansion of the nearby Garzweiler open-pit coal mine. RWE, the utility that operates the mine, is moving Immerath's approximately 1,400 residents to a new settlement about 8km west. Protesters decry the expansion of Garzweiler as unnecessary as Germany has committed itself to heavy investment in renewable energy sources.  (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

The industry once ruled Europe. Now it’s struggling to survive. Sara Stefanini Politico The coal lobby used to be a Brussels power player. No more. Euracoal’s staff peaked in the 1970s. The 60-year-old industry association was a force to be reckoned with as it lobbied hard for the fuel that had powered Europe’s industrial revolution and was still a crucial part of its energy mix. Today, Euracoal has just three staffers, and this year the organization left its old spacious offices ... Read More »

Brexit: A managed surrender

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London talks tough but gives Brussels what it wants. Forget red lines, bellicose declarations and rhetoric about the United Kingdom taking back control — Brexit so far has been a process of managed surrender. Paul Taylor Politico British officials acknowledge that Prime Minister Theresa May has mostly had to accept the European Union’s terms for the divorce and a transition period to avoid a cliff-edge rupture in economic ties that could have crippled business. However, the Brits insist, the real negotiation starts now and ... Read More »

Refugees out of sight, out of mind two years on from EU-Turkey deal

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An agreement between the European Union and Turkey that came into force two years ago on March 20 2016, has reduced the number of migrants arriving on the shores of Greek islands and, however precariously, salvaged the integrity of the… Katy Budge The Conversation But while the EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan was justified as a measure that would reduce deaths at sea and protect human dignity, the dramatic increase in the death rate of those crossing the Mediterranean in 2016 ... Read More »

Somalia clans secure peace with death sentences and hefty fines

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Two rival Somali clans have signed up to a groundbreaking peace deal which aims to end the cycle of revenge killings. Will Ross BBC Following three weeks of mediation, the rival Sa’ad Yoonis and Ba’iido clans in the disputed Sanaag region reached an agreement on harsh new rules. Now, anyone found guilty of carrying out a revenge killing or vendetta will face a death sentence. The family of the perpetrator will also have to pay fine a $100,000 (£72,000). There ... Read More »

Hero’s welcome for East Timor border negotiator Xanana Gusmao

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Dili: Thousands of East Timorese have lined the road to the capital’s international airport to cheer independence hero Xanana Gusmao after he led negotiations that settled the sea border with Australia. Oki Raimundos The Canberra Times Gusmao, whose party lost power in parliamentary elections last year, was greeted at Dili’s tiny airport on Sunday with cries of “Viva Xanana Gusmao”. He’d been abroad for the previous eight months leading the final stretch of maritime border talks. Australia and East Timor, one of ... Read More »

Trump tariffs: EU wants clarity on exemption

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The EU’s trade commissioner says there is “no immediate clarity” from the US on how the bloc can gain exemption from new tariffs on imported steel and aluminium imposed by President Trump. BBC Cecilia Malmstrom met with the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japan’s Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko in Brussels. She said discussions would continue next week. Mr Seko called for calm-headed behaviour in the dispute. The EU says that its exports should be excluded from the… Trump tariffs: ... Read More »

Asia-Pacific trade deal signed by 11 nations

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Eleven Asia-Pacific countries have just signed the trade pact formerly known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Tim McDonald BBC Although the US pulled out last year, the deal was salvaged by the remaining members, who signed it at a ceremony in the Chilean city of Santiago. Chilean foreign minister Heraldo Munoz said the agreement was a strong signal “against protectionist pressures, in favour of a world open to trade”. The deal covers a market of nearly 500 million people, despite the ... Read More »

‘Give Scotland seat at Brexit talks or risk indyref2’

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Calls have been made for Scotland to get a seat at the table in post-Brexit trade talks with the European Union and other countries to avoid “awkward” legal disputes over implementation of agreements. Paris Gourtsoyiannis The Scotsman David Martin, a Scottish Labour MEP who sits on the European Parliament international trade committee, warned that deals touching on devolved responsibilities would have “room for interpretation” and should have devolved… And a Canadian trade expert who was involved in the CETA deal ... Read More »

The Iran Nuclear Deal at Two: A Status Report

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The 2015 Iran nuclear accord is working, but is at risk from longstanding U.S.-Iran rivalry, Trump administration policies and Tehran’s upsurge of activism in the Middle East. ICG The deal’s other signatories should encourage the U.S. not to withdraw and consider ways to sustain the deal, regardless of U.S. actions and as long as Iran remains committed to it. What’s the issue? The 2015 Iran nuclear accord is as successful as it remains fragile. President Trump has warned he will ... Read More »

UK minister expects closer defense ties with Cyprus military

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NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Britain’s defense minister says authorities want to ensure that British armed forces “work closer and more supportively” with Cyprus’ military in tackling common challenges. The Associated Press Herald-Whig Britain has two military bases on Cyprus, which was a British colony until 1960. It continues to carry out air strikes against Islamic State group targets in Iraq and Syria from the Mediterranean island nation. Defense Minister Gavin Williamson said after talks with Cypriot counterpart Christoforos Fokaides on ... Read More »

For richer or poorer: 4 economists ponder what 2018 has in store

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Editor’s note: We asked four economists to offer their thoughts and insights on what they expect to be a key theme or issue in 2018. Greg Wright, assistant professor of economics, University of California, Merced Patricia Smith, professor of economics, University of Michigan Christos Makridis, Ph.D. candidate in labor and public economics, Stanford University William Hauk, associate professor of economics, University of South Carolina The Conversation Income and wealth inequality are currently at levels last seen during the Gilded Age ... Read More »

Turkey, Russia finalize deal on anti-missile defense system

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ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey has finalized a deal with Moscow for the purchase of Russia’s S-400 anti-missile system, Turkish defense officials announced Friday, despite concerns voiced by some of the NATO member’s allies. By Suzan Fraser, Associated Press Suzan Fraser, Associated Press PBS NewsHour Associated Press Writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed The deal, which would make Turkey the first member of the military alliance to own Russia’s most advanced air defense system, comes amid strengthening ties between Turkey and ... Read More »