This weekend, the newly appointed Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang makes his first offical visit to the EU - he travels to Berlin to meet Angela Merkel. This is a meeting of the two economic powerhouses of the East and the West – and a continuation of the ‘special relationship’ between both countries.
Li has inherited a healthy relationship with Germany built on a “technology for markets swap”. China needs German machinery and technology for its next phase of growth; and Germany needs China’s market to absorb a growing part of its exports. Interestingly, Germany represents close to half of EU exports to China dwarfing France, UK and Italy. Last year we showed that China replaced Europe as as the most desired investment destination for German business. That is particularly striking when it comes to the German car industry: If China’s demand for German cars didn’t exist; car
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At a time when the two-state solution is experiencing what could be its last agonising convulsions and with negotiations seemingly unable to achieve anything other than perpetuating the status quo, Palestinians need to shift the current paradigm that has framed the conflict with Israel over the last two decades. This was recently highlighted during an ECFR roundtable with Nadia Hijab, the co-founder and director of the al-Shabaka policy network [see event audio below].
A new strategy is required that either acknowledges a one-state reality and engages in a popular struggle for equal rights within a bi-national state or uses that as a threat in order to challenge Israel and secure broader Palestinian aspirations through the creation of an independent Palestinian state and an end to the occupation. To achieve this, Palestinians are now more than ever in need of a revitalised
No, it is not Eurovision but energy in South Eastern Europe I am talking about. There is a reason why a statue of the late leader Heydar Aliev adorns a square in downtown Belgrade. Balkan governments are all busy courting Baku eager to fuel their crisis-ridden economies with Azeri gas. On average, local energy firms pay more for Gazprom deliveries than their counterparts in the West, with Macedonia reportedly holding the European record.
But quite understandably for Baku, fast-growing Turkey, whose energy needs are rising, remains a top priority in the wider region, and not the tiny and struggling Western Balkan economies. Earlier this week, SOCAR, Azerbaijan’s state-owned oil and gas company, closed a deal for building a $4.3bn refinery close to Izmir, Turkeys’ third largest city. SOCAR Turkey (the local subsidiary set up in 2008) says that once constructed the STAR refinery
A few weeks ago, an important player backed out of Egypt’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Hany Kadry Dimian, former deputy finance minister and the IMF’s “go-to” man during the talks, left the ministry at the end of April, a warning sign for international policy makers and Egyptian officials who insist that they are on the cusp of signing an IMF loan worth $4.8 billion.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Abdallah Shehata replaced Dimian, who had served as the deputy since 2007, weathering a storm of five different finance ministers in the two years since the revolution. Dimian also represented Egypt in his government’s dialogue with the European Union over the economy and co-ordinated the EU-Egypt Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan.
At the outset, his departure was seen as part of a wider cabinet re-shuffle that resulted in the appointment of nine new ministers
At the end of April as Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was flown to France for treatment, in my blog post "The perils of gerontocracy", I warned that these are testing times for the Algerian regime. It does not currently appear to have any alternatives to the current president to act as the public face of the different interest groups that hold up the Algerian regime – known as le pouvoir.
Over the weekend, the government laid bare just how nervous it is about this in a thinly veiled attempt to silence speculation about the health of Bouteflika. On Saturday, the Ministry of Communications pressured Hicham Aboud, editor of My Journal and Djaridati newspapers, to remove an article that suggested (on the basis of what he reported as reliable medical sources) that Bouteflika had fallen into a coma. Aboud has refused to do so and has instead notified the international press
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