All posts by Francisco Marques Pereira

(BBG) Macron Says the Euro Is Not Yet an Alternative to U.S. Dollar

(BBG) French President Emmanuel Macron said that the euro is not “a clear alternative” to the dollar thanks to the U.S. currency’s international “strengths.”

“Until now, we fail to make the euro as strong as the dollar,” Macron, speaking English, said in an interview with CNN broadcast on Sunday. “We made a great job during the past years but it’s not yet sufficient.”

For the French president, European corporations and entities are too dependent upon the U.S. currency. “This is an issue of sovereignty for me. So that’s why I want us to work very closely with our financial institutions, at the European levels and with all the partners, in order to build a capacity to be less dependent from the dollar,” he said.

“It doesn’t mean to be opponents — but I think for the stability of the global order, you’ll need a strong currency like (the) dollar, but you need some alternatives. Euro has to be one of these alternatives, which means we have to better enhance our financial structures and the financing of our players at the euro-zone level,” Macron said.

Macron said the Chinese currency was a de facto alternative to the greenback, “not at the global level but for a certain region.”

(MacauBusiness) Portugal: ‘Golden visa’ resident permit investment doubles in October, to €74m

(MacauBusiness) Investment coming into Portugal connected with the issuing of ‘golden visas’ – fast-track residence permits for major foreign investors – was in October at twice the level of the previous month, at €74 million, according to the latest figures from the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF)

Lisbon – Investment from the granting of permits under the ARI (Residence Authorisation for Investment Activity) programme, as it is officially called, totalled €74,202,048.76 in October, up from €37,042,550.61 in September. That month, the total had been down 19% on August.

In October 125 ‘golden visas’ were issued, 118 of which on the basis of property purchases, totalling €66,807,218.91, and seven on the basis of capital transfer, for investment of €7,394,829.85. Of the permits issued for the purchase of property, 19 of them represented cases of urban rehabilitation, for which the threshold is lower.

In the six years since the ARI programme was launched in October 2012, cumulative investment totals €4,078 billion, with purchases of property accounting for €3.70 billion. Capital transfers brought a total of €380 million in the period.

Since ARIs were created, 6,687 permits have been issued: two in 2012, 494 in 2013 and 1,526 in 2014, then 766 in 2015 and 1,414 in 2016. Last year there were 1,351 issued and so far this year 1,134.

By nationality, China leads with 3,981 permits issued, followed by Brazil with 608, South Africa with 265, Turkey with 264 and Russia with 232.

Since the beginning of the programme, a further 11,370 residence permits have been issued to members of permit-holders’ families, of which 2,055 this year.

(Visão) Portugal tem uma visão “cor-de-rosa” e “falsa” sobre a Primeira Guerra

(VisãoA participação de Portugal na Primeira Guerra resultou de “um projeto político radical” contestado pelo Exército e pela sociedade, defende o historiador António José Telo, criticando a visão histórica “cor-de-rosa” e “falsa” que subsiste sobre este período

“As ideias que existem são bastante erradas. Os manuais escolares continuam a dizer que Portugal entrou na Guerra a pedido da Inglaterra. Não é bem assim. Na realidade, a Guerra provoca uma profunda divisão na sociedade portuguesa […] e a esmagadora maioria, quer do mundo político, quer da opinião pública, alinha com os chamados anti-guerristas”, disse o historiador, em entrevista à agência Lusa.

O professor catedrático de História na Academia Militar trabalha, desde 2014, numa linha de investigação ligada à evocação dos 100 anos da Primeira Guerra Mundial, do Ministério da Defesa, tendo já publicado dois livros: um sobre o Corpo Expedicionário Português (CEP) em França e outro sobre a guerra no Atlântico português.

Ainda em novembro, quando se assinala um século da assinatura do Armistício, deverá ser publicado um volume sobre a Guerra em África, ficando a coleção completa com um livro sobre a parte final do CEP e o pós-guerra em Portugal.

António José Telo sustenta que Portugal entrou na Grande Guerra por causa de “um pequeno grupo radical” de republicanos, o chamado Partido Democrático, que forçou a integração das tropas portuguesas no conflito contra a vontade da Inglaterra.

“É este setor que vai forçar a beligerância portuguesa contra a opinião da Inglaterra”, pensando que “conseguiriam o apoio de Inglaterra”, o surgimento de “um movimento patriótico” que unisse o país à volta destes radicais e a consolidação “do seu poder político”, acrescentou.

Uma vez aceite a participação portuguesa no terreno de batalha, explica o historiador, assiste-se a “uma resistência, passiva e ativa, de toda a sociedade portuguesa e em particular do corpo de oficiais do Exército, que entendem esta beligerância como um projeto não nacional”.

Por outro lado, acrescenta, havia também a resistência da Inglaterra a braços, em França, mas também em África, com um corpo militar “ineficaz”, “indisciplinado” e “minado de clubes”.

“O Corpo Expedicionário Português (CEP) em França foi desde o início forçado a um Exército que não o queria. Ninguém entendia o que o Corpo Expedicionário estava a fazer em França. Só o aceitam porque os radicais portugueses conseguem o apoio do Governo francês e encostam Inglaterra à parede”, disse.

Para o historiador, “o que é triste é que esta realidade é apresentada como um projeto nacional, por razões patrióticas, para manter o império, as colonias, a integridade nacional, para nos defender contra a agressão alemã…Não foi nada disso, foi por um projeto partidário de criar uma república radical e que era de facto antidemocrática”.

Por isso, sustenta, é preciso “desmistificar” as ideias sobre a participação de Portugal na Primeira Guerra.

“Continuamos a ser o país europeu que tem a ideia mais errada do que foi a beligerância portuguesa” e existe, tal como naquela altura, uma união “à volta de uma visão de propaganda e falsa” sobre o que se passou, afiança o historiador.

Admitindo que sente a censura a estas ideias, António José Telo afirma não ter “absolutamente qualquer ilusão que esta [sua] visão se imponha a curto prazo”.

“Os que se opõem a [esta visão] estão instalados nas alavancas principais da produção histórica e tentam por todos os meios ocultar a verdade. Vai continuar a vigorar a visão cor-de-rosa, a visão errada, a visão do radicalismo de dinossauros sobre o que foi a beligerância portuguesa”, considerou.

Portugal participou na Primeira Guerra com cerca de 100 mil militares ao lado dos aliados, enviando soldados para a frente de batalha em França (1917 – 1918), Angola (em 1914-1915) e Moçambique (1914-1918).

Para assinalar os 100 anos do fim da Primeira Guerra Mundial mais de 60 chefes de Estado, incluindo o Presidente da República Portuguesa, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, participam domingo, em Paris, no Dia do Armistício.

(OBS) Fascismo e salazarismo – Luís Campos e Cunha

(OBS) Salazar não era revolucionário como o fascismo, era conservador. Era mesmo avesso ao progresso industrial, era reacionário, via a felicidade do povo na ruralidade: cada família com a sua junta de bois

Foi Salazar um fascista? A resposta é, historicamente, não. Mas precisa de qualificativos e muitas justificações. Num momento em que todos falam que o fascismo está de volta, vale a pena pensar, é útil rever o que se entende por tal. Há hoje claros perigos de movimentos racistas, nacionalistas e não democráticos: é o fascismo de novo?

A palavra fascismo pode, para simplificar, ter um significado popular, jornalístico, politiqueiro, ou ter um significado histórico ou académico.

No sentido da luta política de muitos dos comentadores nos jornais, fascista é um tipo de direita com relutância para aceitar o Estado de Direito. Sem necessidade de ir para exemplos do mundo de hoje mais extremados (Maduro, Putin ou Duterte), há exemplos atuais com matizes mais suaves, em todo o caso graves: Trump nos Estados Unidos, Orbán na Hungria, Erdogan na Turquia ou o recém-eleito Presidente do Brasil, apenas para citar alguns.

Estes são todos fascistas para os comentaristas dos jornais ou candidatos a políticos da esquerda menos interessante. Neste sentido popular (e popularucho), também Salazar era um fascista.

Do ponto de vista mais histórico, então a conversa é bem diferente. O fascismo é uma corrente política, de há cerca de 100 anos, que se caracterizava por traços bem claros.

Desde logo, e em primeiro lugar, os fascistas tomaram o poder com base num partido de massas e com ações violentas e bem organizadas. Alguns usaram eleições para chegar ao poder (para logo as desprezar), mas o poder absoluto passou pela brutalidade de um partido com grande base popular: um partido de massas. A violência passava por organizações à margem do Estado e da lei. Neste aspecto, os fascistas dos anos 20 não eram muito diferentes dos comunistas dos anos 40 ou 50.

Ora, Salazar nunca teve um partido de massas, nunca conquistou o poder com ações de violência nas ruas. Desde logo quis (re) construir o Estado acabando com grupos ilegais e perigosos de arruaceiros herdados da I República. Foi tudo ao contrário. O poder foi-lhe proporcionado, em 1928, pelos militares do golpe de 1926. Os militares, não sabendo o que fazer, chamaram Salazar para ministro das finanças porque tinha escrito umas coisas… Daí em diante, Salazar foi construindo o seu poder com paciência para chegar, mais tarde, a Presidente do Conselho. É um trabalho nos bastidores e não na rua, tinha uma ideia para o País e quem tem um olho em terra de cegos pode ir longe. E foi.

A União Nacional, mais tarde criada, era um clube de amigos, caciques locais e bajuladores. Nunca um partido de massas, nem sequer um partido na acepção atual.

Segundo, Salazar abominava os grandes comícios, contrariamente a Mussolini que usava as massas como a fonte do poder. Salazar discursava a contragosto para mais de umas dezenas de pessoas, com base num texto escrito (em excelente português, saliente-se). E, nesses casos, fazia-o para explicar o que fazia, para onde ia o País em contraste com a balbúrdia e a violência da Primeira República.

Terceiro, enquanto Mussolini, Hitler ou Franco discursavam e apareciam em público em trajes militares, Salazar nunca o fez. De facto, a desconfiança de Salazar em relação aos militares é de salientar, tanto mais que a sua fonte inicial de poder foi o grupo militar de 1926. Mas Salazar tinha, nas altas patentes militares dos anos 30, oficiais que haviam combatido ao lado dos ingleses na Grande Guerra ou que fizeram demasiados golpes na I República; ou seja, gente imbuída de uma tradição militar e política em que ele não confiava. Talvez por isso, cedo chamou para o Governo o Capitão (ou já seria Major?) Santos Costa que passou a mandar no Exército (hoje seria um escândalo).

Tudo isto era contrário ao que se vivia em Itália ou na Alemanha da época. As relações entre o Nazismo e o Exército alemão davam para muito, mas fiquemos por aqui.

Em quarto lugar, o fascismo era uma força revolucionária, idolatrava as máquinas e o desenvolvimento que elas traziam. Pensava o futuro das economias com base na indústria. Salazar era exatamente o contrário.

Salazar não era revolucionário como o fascismo, era conservador. Era mesmo avesso ao progresso industrial, era reacionário. Salazar via a felicidade do povo na ruralidade: cada família com a sua junta de bois, com um hectare de terra e uma pequena casa. Era avesso ao mudar dos tempos e à liberdade de costumes que despontava, naturalmente.

Em quinto lugar, os fascismos europeus eram expansionistas e queriam criar impérios. Salazar, pelo contrário, bastava-lhe conservar o império que tinha herdado da História. Também aqui a diferença é abissal e com implicações várias na sua política internacional. Não acicatar os alemães nem perder a proteção dos ingleses.

Em sexto lugar, Salazar era religioso. Nunca saberemos quão católico seria, mas era o suficiente. O Fascismo (e o Nazismo bastante pior) era ateu e idolatrava a guerra e o “progresso”. Nada disso encontramos em Salazar.

Por último, o fascismo era racista e o nazismo ainda mais brutalmente o foi. Salazar era um paternalista em relação a África e aos africanos. Não podemos esquecer que o primeiro americano negro a entrar na universidade de brancos nos Estados Unidos data de 1962 e tal causou o caos nalgumas zonas da América. Contrariamente, nos anos 50, já os (mais tarde) líderes dos movimentos de independência tinham estudado em Lisboa. Agostinho Neto e Amílcar Cabral são disso exemplos. Mais ainda, logo no início das leis contra os judeus na Alemanha, Salazar instruiu o seu embaixador em Berlim para avisar, de forma diplomática, mas muito clara, que nas leis portuguesas não havia distinções raciais desse tipo, pelo que a aplicação de certas leis alemãs não poderia contar com a colaboração das autoridades portuguesas. Por outras palavras, judeus não poderiam ser extraditados por esse facto, porque Portugal não saberia distingui-los de outro alemão qualquer. E assim foi durante a II Grande Guerra que se seguiu.

Em conclusão, Salazar sujeitou à repressão do regime quem ativamente se lhe opunha, o que faz dele um ditador. Mas não instituiu a pena de morte; se e quando matou foi um assassínio e não a coberto da lei. A PIDE perseguia os portugueses ativos do reviralho, mas ficou a anos-luz da Gestapo. E também não usou a Mocidade Portuguesa (ou mesmo a Legião) para chacinar os eventuais não apoiantes do regime, nem tão pouco usou a fúria das massas para aniquilar quem não o apoiava. Implantou (lentamente) a censura como forma última de controlar o pensamento. As universidades eram para as elites porque Salazar era um político declaradamente anti-democrático. E era um conservador (diria, reacionário) no sentido próprio do termo. Mas também nisso o salazarismo era o contrário do fascismo.

Hoje, quando falamos de fascismo em relação a movimentos não democráticos, devemos colocar o ênfase na sua ação anti-liberal; o nosso objetivo último não são as eleições, mas deve ser sempre preservar a liberdade, tanto individual como cívica. E aí, infelizmente, estamos a viver um período muito duro.

A liberdade corre risco de ser posta em causa pelo resultado de eleições reconhecidas como livres, em que as próprias eleições são o instrumento para aplicar políticas contra o estado de direito e a liberdade, abrindo caminho a formas de “democracia iliberal” e a novos déspotas.

(CNBC) US crude falls for 11th straight session, its longest losing streak on record

(CNBC)

  • Oil prices turned negative amid a sell-off in the U.S stock market and renewed dollar strength, which makes crude more expensive in emerging markets.
  • U.S. crude fell for an 11th straight day, posting its longest longest losing streak on record.
  • Crude futures fell despite growing signs that OPEC and its allies are moving towards a fresh round of production cuts aimed at preventing oversupply.

Trump ‘keeping people guessing’ when it comes to oil, BP’s Dudley says

BP CEO: Looks like oil demand is starting to come off a bit  

Oil prices turned negative amid a sell-off in the U.S stock market on Monday, with U.S. crude posting an 11th straight day of losses, its longest longest losing streak on record.

Crude futures looked set to break the streak earlier on Monday after Saudi energy minister Khalid al Falih said OPEC and its allies may need to cut crude production by about 1 million barrels per day to prevent the market from swinging into oversupply. On Sunday, Falih said the kingdom’s shipments would fall by 500,000 bpd in December.

But the recent strong correlation between stocks and crude futures reasserted itself on Monday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 500 points.

“The stock market was pulling at the oil complex all day. We should have gotten more of rally at that Saudi commentary over the weekend,” said John Kilduff, founding partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude settled 26 cents lower at $59.93 on Monday, falling deeper into bear market territory. The contract has never fallen for 11 straight days since it began trading in New York more than three decades ago.

The losses continued after the settlement, with WTI falling more than 2 percent and dipping below $59 a barrel for the first time since February.

Brent crude was down $1.13, or 1.6 percent, to $69.05 a barrel by 3:37 p.m. ET on Monday. The international benchmark for oil prices settled at $70.18 on Friday, its weakest closing price in seven months.

Crude futures have pulled back sharply during the last five weeks, as oil got swept up in a broader market sell-off that saw investors shed risk assets in October. Rising oil supplies from the United States, OPEC and Russia and forecasts for weaker-than-expected demand growth have kept pressure on the market.

“It does look like demand is starting to come off a bit,” BP CEO Bob Dudley told CNBC at the ADIPEC oil and gas conference in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

The world’s appetite for oil now looks set to grow by about 1.3 million bpd, compared with BP’s earlier expectations for 1.4 million to 1.5 million bpd of growth, Dudley said.

Compounding concerns about demand, the U.S. dollar hit a 16-month peak on Monday. Currency weakness in emerging markets, including India, has significantly increased the cost of crude in those countries. A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated oil more expensive to holders of other currencies.

Oil oversupply a ‘double-edged sword’ for OPEC, analyst says

Oil oversupply a ‘double-edged sword’ for OPEC, analyst says  

Those factors are now forcing OPEC, Russia and several other exporting nations to consider a fresh round of supply cuts.

The alliance of roughly two dozen producers has cut its output since January 2017 in order to drain a global crude glut. The group agreed in June to restore some of that production to rein in rising commodity prices.

However, a committee tasked with monitoring the group’s production agreement concluded on Sunday that oil supplies are growing faster than demand requires, threatening to leave the market oversupplied.The Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee said the current oil market situation “may require new strategies to balance the market,” after warning last month that the group may have to reverse course and begin cutting output once again.

Falih put a number to the potential scale of cuts on Monday.

“If all things remain equal, and they almost certainly will not as things will change — it is a dynamic market — then the technical analysis we saw yesterday … tells us that there will need to be a reduction of supply from October levels approaching a million barrels,” Falih told the crowd at ADIPEC on Monday.

President Donald Trump on Monday afternoon sought to dissuade OPEC from taking supply off the market in his latest tweet at the cartel.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Hopefully, Saudi Arabia and OPEC will not be cutting oil production. Oil prices should be much lower based on supply!

16.4K people are talking about this

“Hopefully, Saudi Arabia and OPEC will not be cutting oil production. Oil prices should be much lower based on supply!” he wrote on Twitter.

But Russia, the world’s second biggest producer and an influential voice inside the alliance, is signaling some opposition to supply cuts. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Sunday he wasn’t sure the oil market would be oversupplied next year. He told CNBC crude prices remains volatile.

“Therefore, right now we shouldn’t be making any hasty decisions,” Novak said. “We need to look at the situation very carefully to see how it will develop so that we don’t end up changing our course by 180 degrees every month.”

OPEC is scheduled to release its monthly production report on Tuesday, which will detail the group’s October output. In September, the 15-member cartel pumped nearly 32.8 million barrels per day.

Russian energy min: Early to talk about oil supply cuts

Russian energy min: Early to talk about oil supply cuts  

The oil market does not appear to be headed for another bull run, said Daniel Lacalle, chief economist at wealth management firm Tressis Gestion. Lacalle notes that indicators of global economic growth are softening as U.S. production growth ramps up faster than previously anticipated.

“The forces behind the slowdown in demand are stronger than what we are already discounting in the price, which is that OPEC will do whatever they can do in order to reduce the oversupply,” he told CNBC on Monday.

The United States recently topped Russia as the world’s biggest oil producer. The country is now producing about 11.6 million barrels per day, more than 10 percent of global demand, according to the latest preliminary weekly figures.

(WSJ) Watch Out—Cash Is Deserting China Again

(WSJPolitical numbers in the U.S. have dominated headlines this week. Another important set of figures has received far less attention.

Chinese foreign-exchange reserves have just had their biggest monthly fall since late 2016.
Chinese foreign-exchange reserves have just had their biggest monthly fall since late 2016. PHOTO: JASON LEE/REUTERS

The Trump administration has spent much of the past year arguing that capital leaving China was a sign of flagging confidence, which would enhance the U.S.’s leverage in trade talks. Until recently, there wasn’t much evidence that was true. Now there is: investors should sit up and take notice.

Lost in the flurry of election coverage this week was a pair of important numbers from China. The country’s third-quarter balance-of-payments data showed the first net investment outflow since 2016. Data released Wednesday showed Chinese foreign-exchange reserves dropping $34 billion in October, the biggest monthly fall since late 2016.

China is still far from the sort of sustained outflow pressure that drove its reserves down by nearly $1 trillion in 2015 and 2016. But this latest data shows the investment environment has deteriorated markedly in China in the past four months. And since China’s earnings from trade are also flatlining, that means more pressure on the yuan—and even less spacefor big monetary stimulus at home.

Precarious BalanceChina balance of payments dataSource: CEICNote: Third quarter 2018 figures are preliminary.

China’s net trade earnings have been weak all year. But until very recently, big investment inflows had offset this. As recently as June, foreign holdings of Chinese treasurys were rising at nearly 80 billion yuan ($11 billion) a month as fund managers eyed China’s inclusion in a key global bond benchmark. Foreigners are still buying Chinese government debt, but the pace has slowed dramatically. They added just 20 billion yuan in October according to Wind. Net foreign direct investment was also close to zero in the third quarter, after strong net inflows in the first half.

The third-quarter figures are preliminary. And a stronger dollar, which reduces the value of nondollar reserves, did make October’s FX reserves figure look worse. But slowing bond market inflows are harder to dismiss—and weakening foreign investment overall wouldn’t be surprising given rebounding inflation, slowing growth, and a stock market in full retreat. Price gains in China’s red-hot real-estate market, a key factor keeping investment capital at home, also slowed in September.

Foreign interest in Chinese assets has been a key—and an underappreciated—factor that had slowed the yuan’s decline this year and permitted modest monetary easing by Beijing without triggering big net capital outflows. If foreigners are now having second thoughts, it portends a much tougher period ahead for China’s currency and policy makers.

(P-S) The Global Impact of a Chinese Recession – Kenneth Rogoff

(P-S) Most economic forecasts suggest that a recession in China will hurt everyone, but that the pain would be more regionally confined than would be the case for a deep recession in the United States. Unfortunately, that may be wishful thinking.

CAMBRIDGE – When China finally has its inevitable growth recession – which will almost surely be amplified by a financial crisis, given the economy’s massive leverage – how will the rest of world be affected? With US President Donald Trump’s trade war hitting China just as growth was already slowing, this is no idle question.

Typical estimates, for example those embodied in the International Monetary Fund’s assessments of country risk, suggest that an economic slowdown in China will hurt everyone. But the acute pain, according to the IMF, will be more regionally concentrated and confined than would be the case for a deep recession in the United States. Unfortunately, this might be wishful thinking.

First, the effect on international capital markets could be vastly greater than Chinese capital market linkages would suggest. However jittery global investors may be about prospects for profit growth, a hit to Chinese growth would make things a lot worse. Although it is true that the US is still by far the biggest importer of final consumption goods (a large share of Chinese manufacturing imports are intermediate goods that end up being embodied in exports to the US and Europe), foreign firms nonetheless still enjoy huge profits on sales in China.

Investors today are also concerned about rising interest rates, which not only put a damper on consumption and investment, but also reduce the market value of companies (particularly tech firms) whose valuations depend heavily on profit growth far in the future. A Chinese recession could again make the situation worse.

I appreciate the usual Keynesian thinking that if any economy anywhere slows, this lowers world aggregate demand, and therefore puts downward pressure on global interest rates. But modern thinking is more nuanced. High Asian saving rates over the past two decades have been a significant factor in the low overall level of real (inflation-adjusted) interest rates in both the United States and Europe, thanks to the fact that underdeveloped Asian capital markets simply cannot constructively absorb the surplus savings.

Former US Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke famously characterized this much-studied phenomenon as a key component of the “global savings glut.” Thus, instead of leading to lower global real interest rates, a Chinese slowdown that spreads across Asia could paradoxically lead to higher interest rates elsewhere – especially if a second Asian financial crisis leads to a sharp draw-down of central bank reserves. Thus, for global capital markets, a Chinese recession could easily prove to be a double whammy.

As bad as a slowdown in exports to China would be for many countries, a significant rise in global interest rates would be much worse. Eurozone leaders, particularly German Chancellor Angela Merkel, get less credit than they deserve for holding together the politically and economically fragile single currency against steep economic and political odds. But their task would have been well-nigh impossible but for the ultra-low global interest rates that have allowed politically paralyzed eurozone officials to skirt needed debt write-downs and restructurings in the periphery.

When the advanced countries had their financial crisis a decade ago, emerging markets recovered relatively quickly, thanks to low debt levels and strong commodity prices. Today, however, debt levels have risen significantly, and a sharp rise in global real interest rates would almost certainly extend today’s brewing crises beyond the handful of countries (including Argentina and Turkey) that have already been hit.

Nor is the US immune. For the moment, the US can finance its trillion-dollar deficits at relatively low cost. But the relatively short-term duration of its borrowing – under  if one integrates the Treasury and Federal Reserve balance sheets – means that a rise in interest rates would soon cause debt service to crowd out needed expenditures in other areas. At the same time, Trump’s trade war also threatens to undermine the US economy’s dynamism. Its somewhat arbitrary and politically driven nature makes it at least as harmful to US growth as the regulations Trump has so proudly eliminated. Those who assumed that Trump’s stance on trade was mostly campaign bluster should be worried.

The good news is that trade negotiations often seem intractable until the eleventh hour. The US and China could reach an agreement before Trump’s punitive tariffs go into effect on January 1. Such an agreement, one hopes, would reflect a maturing of China’s attitude toward intellectual property rights – akin to what occurred in the US during the late nineteenth century. (In America’s high growth years, US entrepreneurs often thought little of pilfering patented inventions from the United Kingdom.)

A recession in China, amplified by a financial crisis, would constitute the third leg of the debt supercycle that began in the US in 2008 and moved to Europe in 2010. Up to this point, the Chinese authorities have done a remarkable job in postponing the inevitable slowdown. Unfortunately, when the downturn arrives, the world is likely to discover that China’s economy matters even more than most people thought.

(OBS) BE: Quando o populismo denuncia a ameaça populista

(OBS) O Bloco de Esquerda que está a alertar para a ameaça populista é, também, um partido populista autoritário. Tal como o seu irmão e vizinho Podemos de Pablo Iglésias ou o outrora amigo Syriza.

Na sessão internacional que antecedeu a abertura da XI Convenção do Bloco de Esquerda, algumas das principais figuras do partido insistiram no perigo que representa a “emergência rompante de populismos de extrema-direita”. Um perigo pluricontinental prontamente exemplificado como a subida ao Poder de Trump e Bolsonaro na América e de Salvini na Europa.

Para estes pensadores blocotrotskistas, o fenómeno atual representa uma antecâmara para o regresso do fascismo se a esquerda repetir as desuniões do passado. Um perigo iminente, pois “já tocaram os sinos”. Uma imagem que não deixa de ser curiosa pela inclusão de um elemento com evidentes conotações religiosas.

Na visão do Bloco de Esquerda, face à veemência da denúncia e do apelo, a esquerda – e, logicamente, o povo – só cairá no logro se quiser. A solução bloquista até justificaria uma revisitação do slogan marxista. Uma mensagem adaptada à conjuntura presente – esquerdas de todo o mundo uni-vos.

Há, no entanto, alguns «pormaiores» nesta posição do Bloco de Esquerda que justificam reflexão.

Assim, em primeiro lugar, convirá dizer que o Bloco de Esquerda que está a alertar para a ameaça populista é, também, um partido populista autoritário. Tal como o seu irmão e vizinho Podemos de Pablo Iglésias ou o outrora amigo Syriza.

Uma situação que explica o facto de os intervenientes na sessão apenas terem identificado os perigos do populismo de direita. Omitiram – há esquecimentos muito bem lembrados – que o populismo é uma moeda de duas faces. Esqueceram-se de indicar os perigos decorrentes do exercício do Poder por parte do populismo de esquerda. Um esquecimento no mínimo esquisito tal a panóplia de exemplos – também pluricontinentais – que a História já documentou.

Uma omissão que traz à memória as palavras de Chantal Mouffe que, depois da morte do seu marido, Ernesto Laclau, passou a constituir a principal ideóloga dos partidos populistas de esquerda. Mouffe afirmou, em Lisboa, que a solução para travar os avanços do populismo de direita passava por apostar no crescimento do populismo de esquerda.

Como esta Convenção ocorre numa fase em que o Bloco de Esquerda sonha com a entrada, ainda que pela mão do PS, no Palácio do Poder, talvez convenha chamar à colação dois exemplos da História recente e que se prendem com os dois partidos populistas atrás mencionados.

O primeiro tem a ver com o Podemos e aconteceu quando o então número dois do partido, Iñigo Errejón, defendeu que o partido procurasse “compromisos y respetabilidad desde su trabajo institucional”. O líder, Pablo Iglésias, foi célere na recusa e insistiu que o Podemos deveria continuar com “una pata en las instituciones pero la cabeza, los brazos y la otra pierna en la calle”. Mais frisou que essa seria a estratégia a seguir até à chegada ao Poder. Palavras que apontam para a alteração de postura uma vez no Governo.

Ora, o segundo exemplo prende-se com isso mesmo e tem o Syriza como personagem central. De facto, depois do ufanismo desafiador e bacoco e das alterações semânticas de Varoufakis, Alexis Tsipras foi obrigado a render-se à realidade e a aceitar um terceiro resgate. Uma alteração que, como foi amplamente provado, a esquerda portuguesa não aceitou.

Uma demonstração da diferença que separa o discurso dos populistas – de esquerda e de direita – enquanto na oposição e a sua praxis governativa.

Quanto à denúncia de uma hipotética concertação global das forças populistas de direita para governarem o Mundo não passa de mais uma invenção do populismo de esquerda. Uma teoria da conspiração. Um novo mito global.

Professor de Ciência Política

(NYT) At China’s Internet Conference, a Darker Side of Tech Emerges

(NYT)

Facial recognition is a hot area in Chinese tech, furthering the development of both funny video selfies and smart surveillance cameras.CreditCreditJonathan Browning for The New York Times

WUZHEN, China — Every year at the World Internet Conference, held since 2014 in the photogenic canal town of Wuzhen near Shanghai, companies and government officials have convened to send a message: China is a high-tech force to be reckoned with.

With that message now settled beyond much doubt, this year’s conference showcased something different. China’s tech industry is becoming more serious about grappling with its products’ unintended consequences — and about helping the government.

Discussions of technology’s promise were leavened with contemplation of its darker side effects, such as fraud and data breaches. A forum on protecting personal information featured representatives from China’s highest prosecutor and its powerful internet regulator. And several tech companies pledged their support for Beijing’s counterterrorism efforts, even as China faces international criticism for detaining and indoctrinating Muslims in the name of fighting terrorism in the western region of Xinjiang.

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“Tencent has been dedicated to dealing with terrorist information online and other internet crimes, in line with the government’s crackdown,” Chen Yong, an executive in Tencent’s security management department, said at the event.

Image
A robot that senses your hand movement and matches it on the screen was on display at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, China, this week.CreditJonathan Browning for The New York Times

The conference, which ends Friday, also reflected some new challenges facing China. It was held at the same time as another big event: a six-day import expo in Shanghai aimed at showing China as a big buyer of foreign goods. With American tariffs threatening to slow a weakening Chinese economy, the country’s leader, Xi Jinping, spoke at the expo on Monday to proclaim that China could be a positive force in global trade.

At Wuzhen, by contrast, Mr. Xi appeared only by proxy. The head of the Communist Party’s propaganda department, Huang Kunming, conveyed a message of thanks from Mr. Xi and then delivered an opening address that extolled the world-changing power of internet access.

Emissaries from Silicon Valley were also in short supply. Last year, the speakers at Wuzhen included Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, as well as Sundar Pichai of Google. This year, the sole Western tech executive to give a keynote address was Steve Mollenkopf, the chief executive of the chip maker Qualcomm.

His appearance served as a reminder of American companies’ continuing travails in China, which could deepen as the two powers wrestle over high-tech supremacy. Qualcomm scrapped a $44 billion deal to buy a Dutch chip manufacturer this year after China’s antitrust authorities declined to approve it, a move widely viewed as retaliation in the trade war.

China’s technology industry is becoming more serious about grappling with its products’ unintended consequences — and about helping the government.CreditJonathan Browning for The New York Times

Among Chinese companies this week, private enterprises showed off the ways in which they increasingly support and work with the government, while state-backed companies demonstrated they were not doomed to be tech laggards.

The Tencent executive, Mr. Chen, described in an interview the company’s relationship with law enforcement.

Political activists have reported being followed based on what they have said on WeChat. Chat records have turned up as evidence in court, fueling speculation about whether Tencent, the app’s developer, may be the source.

Mr. Chen said Tencent reports illegal activity discovered on its platforms to the government, after which the authorities can request specific user information. Metadata describing when and where users logged into a Tencent app can be stored for up to six months, he said. But Mr. Chen denied that the company gave law enforcement officials a back door through which they could freely peruse chat records and user data.

The company IrisKing, which has significant government support, makes tools that are helping to recover trafficked children in China. It is also working with authorities in Xinjiang to compile a database of all its residents’ irises.CreditJonathan Browning for The New York Times

“We only store the content that the law prescribes,” he said. “However long the law says to store it, that’s how long we store it. Whatever the law says to store, that’s what we store.”

In the conference’s exhibition halls, there were lighter touches to be found. A company called Utry let loose several eager, if herky-jerky, robots that followed people around on wheels, offering to carry their bags. Kuaishou, the maker of a popular video app, demonstrated its facial-recognition prowess by scanning visitors’ faces and then, within seconds, displaying who in its vast video library most resembled them. (The results varied.)

Facial recognition is a hot area in Chinese tech, providing the technology behind both funny video selfies and smart surveillance cameras. One company attending the conference is taking things a step further.

IrisKing, which is based in Beijing and has substantial state backing, started out by making iris-recognition software for coal mines. With their faces and fingertips covered in soot, miners needed another technology for clocking in and out of work.

Now, IrisKing’s tools also help identify refugees in Syria and recover trafficked children in China, said Wang Xintao, a marketing manager for the company.

The company has also started working with the authorities in Xinjiang, Mr. Wang said. The goal? To have a database of the irises of all Xinjiang residents within two years, he said.

 

(ZH) Britain Opens Army To Foreign Nationals As Youth Increasingly Refuse To Sign Up

(ZH) Amidst the British Army’s worst troop shortage since 2010, foreign nationals will now be allowed to enter military ranks according to a policy change by the Ministry of Defence announced Monday. What essentially amounts to a mercenary recruitment drive is meant to stem the tide of a worsening recruitment crisis in the armed forces as local youths increasingly refuse to sign up.

“Foreign and Commonwealth troops have historically been important and valued sources of recruitment for the British army and I welcome the recruitment limit increase,” Mark Francois, a member of the defence select committee, told the Daily Telegraph.

The army is hoping its openness to foreign nationals — which also includes the Royal Navy and RAF  will bolster total troop numbers by an extra 1,350 joining each year.

The policy will apply to Commonwealth countries only, which includes Australia, India, Canada, Kenya and Fiji. Previously citizens of these countries had to demonstrate British residency for the prior five years, a restriction that’s now been lifted.

It’s also an expansion of a current policy which under special rules allows citizens of Ireland and Gurkhas from Nepal to join. The Royal Navy and RAF will open up their admissions effectively immediately, while the army will begin early next year.

Defence select committee member Mark Francois said further after spending a year studying the recruitment crisis: “The army is disappearing before our eyes and will continue to do so until Capita are sacked.” He was taking aim at the business service provider that the UK government contracts with to run the army’s recruitment campaign.

Via the BBC/data from British Ministry of Defenc

A recent National Audit Office report (an independent government watchdog group) from this year found the armed forces are short of 8,200 soldiers, sailors and air personnel, out of a total combined forces number approaching 150,000. The NAO said that it found the army was undergoing the worst shortage since 2010.

The shortage comes as both Russia and the West are increasingly ramping up military exercises and mutual “shows of force” in the northern European region, though we can only imagine what the pundits would say if it were Russia engaging in a public campaign to recruit foreign nationals from outside its borders.

(Economist) Lessons from history 100 years after the Armistice

(Economist) The guns fell silent a century ago

Shortly after 2am on November 11th 1918 a train came to a halt in a wood in Compiègne, near Paris. A second train pulled up on a nearby track. After four years of fighting, delegates of the German government sought an armistice from Ferdinand Foch, the commander of the French forces. Rare photos of the scene, hazy as a memory, show engine smoke twisting between the twiggy trees, makeshift boardwalks across the leaf-strewn ground and clusters of soldiers by the rails. At 5.15am the Germans signed the peace in the light of brass lamps in a teak-lined dining car. At 11am the guns fell silent along the 400km (250 mile) front, their thunder replaced by the pealing of church bells.

This peace ended a collective nightmare of hitherto unrivalled intensity and volume. The first world war was not just a grand tragedy. For the 67m who fought, it was a sordid hellscape. Few of the 10m killed in combat died from a “bullet, straight to the heart”, as pro forma telegrams to relatives put it. Many more bled to death in no-man’s land, their wails lingering for days like “moist fingers being dragged down an enormous windowpane”, as a British lieutenant wrote of the Battle of the Somme. Traumatised survivors sometimes slept in open sewers, and begged for their mothers as superiors ordered them over the top.

They guarded what slivers of humanity and dignity they could. At Compiègne today visitors can view silver rings from the trenches bearing initials (LV, MJ, SH or G) or four-leaf clovers; pipes with marks worn where teeth once clenched; a tube of insect-bite cream; letter-openers fashioned from shell casings, the names of yearned-for correspondents etched into their blades (“Marguerite”, “Mlle Rose-Marie”). A certain stoic humour also played its part. “I was hit. I looked round and saw that my leg had shot out and hit the fellow behind me (who got rather annoyed about [it])” wrote Charlemagne’s great-grandfather in his diary in 1915, just outside Ypres.

The memorial at Compiègne focuses on the leaders, the “switchmen of history” as Geert Mak, a Dutch historian, calls them. A replica carriage is the star artefact, name cards marking where the German and French delegates sat. Outside, a statue of Foch keeps vigil over the clearing. On November 10th Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel will visit the site. As they enter the room where the carriage stands they will pass under a quote by Winston Churchill: “Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

Pondering the exhibits, that apophthegm seems at once true and yet hopelessly hubristic. The first world war happened because a generation of Victorian leaders took for granted the stable order that had prevailed in most of Europe for decades. They should have read their history books. Yet the war was also a tale of forces beyond the power of any leader, however well-read; of nations and continents not as trains on history’s railway lines, run by drivers and switchmen, but as rafts tossed about on history’s ocean, dipping at most an occasional oar into the waves. Fate was the real grand homme of the “Great War”. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 would not have happened had his driver not taken a wrong turning in Sarajevo. The German army’s initial advance was halted at Nieuwpoort by a Belgian lock-keeper who flooded the surrounding marshlands. Political twists in Berlin, not crushing defeat on the battlefield, pushed Germany to sue for peace in 1918.

The raftsmen also lacked maps. Across the continent, the armistice was greeted with relief. Newspapers announced it with a retrospectively stomach-churning sense of finality. “The war is over” cried Londoners as ceremonial gunfire broke the news. The nightmare seemed to have passed, but it had not. The armistice and the peace treaties that followed in 1919 and 1920 reshaped the maps of Europe and the Middle East, and imposed vengeance on the defeated, seeding future conflicts. Millions returned from the front angry, traumatised, wounded, resentful or all four. Gueules cassées (broken faces) the French called them. One such, an Austrian-born lance-corporal, would take Germany to war again two decades later, and in 1940 would have the French sign their own surrender in the same railway carriage at Compiègne.

The power of nightmares

Memories are everywhere. Two plaques in Compiègne’s station list the 23 locals killed in the first world war and the 20 killed in the second. Engraved brass cobblestones glint from German streets marking the addresses where Holocaust victims once lived. Recollections live on in diaries or passed through families orally. The past summer’s hot weather exposed shells and bullets in dried-up rivers. Other artefacts remain hidden: the original French version of the Treaty of Versailles went missing and probably rests, forgotten, in some German attic or cellar. “Europe is a continent in which one can easily travel back and forth through time,” writes Mr Mak. The eu, forged from the rubble of the two wars, knits the continent together in the spirit of lessons learned: peace, fraternity, unity in diversity. The pedagogical value of the past is to today’s European establishment what the uninhibited pursuit of freedom is to the American one, a foundational story, an essence.

Long may that learning continue. Yet modesty is also due, about forces greater than the wits and power of even historically aware societies are able to contain. National chauvinisms live on despite the Somme. Anti-Semitism lives on despite the Holocaust. Societies’ capacity to imagine collapse and barbarism in visceral terms fades with time. All Europeans can do is be vigilant and humble before these forces, dip their oars into the waves of history when possible, hold tight to their humanity and be grateful that their continent’s past and present are now broadly in harmony, the former educating and civilising the latter, for now at least. Like train lines running together in a wood.

(OBS) Junta 11 banqueiros, milionários e empresários. Balsemão vai criar Clube Bilderberg à portuguesa

(OBS) De Paula Amorim a Vasco de Mello, do presidente do Novo Banco ao da Galp, sem esquecer as líderes das Fundações Gulbenkian e Champalimaud. O grupo vai seguir as mesmas regras que o Clube Bilderberg.

Nuno Pinto Fernandes/ Global Imagens

Francisco Pinto Balsemão, antigo primeiro ministro e fundador do grupo Impresa, vai criar em Portugal um grupo semelhante ao Clube Bilderberg, noticia esta sexta-feira o Público. O grupo vai chamar-se “Encontros em Cascais” e arrancará ainda este mês na presença de 50 pessoas. A direção vai ser constituída por 11 pessoas, entre as quais ele e o filho, além de Paula Amorim, Leonor Beleza, Carlos Carreiras e António Ramalho. A missão será encontrar soluções para os problemas de Portugal e da Europa, explica o jornal.

O grupo vai seguir as mesmas regras que o Clube Bilderberg, uma conferência anual privada que acontece desde 1954 num hotel homónimo na Holanda e que reúne parte da elite política e económica do mundo ocidental. Nenhum jornalista vai poder assistir aos encontros. E todos os membros têm de obedecer às chamadas Chatham House Rule, uma norma segundo a qual quem assistir aos encontros pode falar das ideias partilhadas nas reuniões, desde que não desvende quem é que as expressou.

Segundo o Público, a lista completa de empresários na direção do grupo é composta por Francisco Pinto Balsemão, que esteve mais de 30 anos no conselho diretor de Bilderberg; o filho, Francisco Pedro, que lidera a Impresa; Paula Amorim, presidente do Grupo Amorim; Isabel Mota, presidente da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian; Leonor Beleza, presidente da Fundação Champalimaud; o autarca Carlos Carreiras, à frente da Câmara de Cascais; António Lagartixo, do comité executivo na Deloitte Portugal & Angola; Vasco de Mello, presidente do Grupo José de Mello; Pedro Penalva, presidente da AON; António Ramalho, presidente do Novo Banco; e Carlos Gomes da Silva, presidente da comissão executiva da Galp Energia.

Carlos Carreiras é o único político no ativo a integrar a direção dos Encontros em Cascais. Todos os outros são empresários e executivos nas áreas das finanças, social e educação. Juntos vão funcionar de forma semelhante ao comité diretor de Bilderberg, onde Francisco Pinto Balsemão se assumiu como um dos membros mais célebres durante 32 anos. Cada um dos membros pode permanecer na direção do grupo durante um mandato de três anos, que só pode ser renovado uma vez. E vai convidar quatro pessoas, portuguesas ou não, para assistir às reuniões.

(ZH) Under Pressure From Trump, Germany Boosts Military Spending 

(ZHGermany has given its military a 5.7 billion Euro ($6.5 billion USD) boost after Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen refused to sign off on the previous draft, reports Reuters.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz on Monday proposed adding 5.7 billion euros (£5 billion) to the planned military budget from 2020, to buy more ships, fighter jets and other weaponry over several years, on top of a more modest 323 million euro boost in 2019. –Reuters

Eurofighter Typhoon​​​​​

The boost in spending comes amid pressure from US President Donald Trump, who has encouraged Germany to increase its military budget to 2% of its 3.67 trillion (USD) GDP from its current 1.2% – a proposal which has sparked great debate within the country’s ruling coalition. The United States spends approximately 3.1% of its much larger 19.39 trillion GDP on the military.

Experts say the military budget – now slated to reach around 43 billion euros in 2019 – would have to increase by 2 billion euros a year through 2021 and 3 billion euros a year after that even to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel’s promise to hit 1.5 percent of GDP by 2024.

It was not immediately clear how the extra funding, set out in a 290-page list of proposed budget revisions seen by Reuters, would affect the military budget’s share of GDP. –Reuters

Coalition split

Von der Leyen of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU party would like to satisfy long-standing shortfalls in the German military’s personnel and equipment.

Scholz’s center-left Social Democrats, however, have been hesitant to increase military spending out of fear of alienating German voters as their polling numbers “are collapsing,” according to Reuters.

The new revisions first reported in part by the Handelsblatt newspaper will be a topic of debate during this week’s parliament meeting, and is subject to changes by the budget committee.

The document called for 5.6 billion euros to be spent on a new heavy-lift helicopter whose funding had been called into question, a sign that a formal competition will likely proceed next year between Boeing and Lockheed Martin. –Reuters

The budget also envisions additional spending on the new MKS180 multi-role warship, along with brand new Eurofighter Typhoon jets and the TLVS missile defense program which will be built by European munitions maker MBDA in conjunction with Lockheed.

MKS-180 warship illustration

 

(PUB) “Preocupa-me mais a Itália do que o ‘Brexit'” – Entrevista a Carlos Moedas

(PUB) Carlos Moedas admite que existia uma “fadiga” do povo alemão em relação a Angela Merkel. A Itália é agora a sua maior preocupação.

O comissário europeu para a Ciência, Investigação e Inovação, Carlos Moedas, esteve em Portugal para participar na Web Summit. Numa entrevista ao PÚBLICO e à Rádio Renascença, que pode ouvir às 12h desta quinta-feira, Carlos Moedas alerta que a União Europeia continua a precisar dos seus dois motores habituais para conseguir avançar: o francês e o alemão.

A era Merkel está a acabar. O nome carinhoso que os alemães dão a Merkel é “Mutti”, que quer dizer mamã. De certa forma, Merkel foi a mamã da UE nos últimos anos. O que vai acontecer à União Europeia quando perder a mamã?
Todos os políticos podem ser substituídos. É normal que isso aconteça. Acho até extraordinário que o povo alemão, ao fim de tantos anos, continue a ter a mesma líder. Há agora uma fadiga do povo em relação à líder e isso é normal. Mas ela é realmente uma mulher que marcou a Europa para o bem e para o mal. Mas acho que o seu ponto está correcto, sobretudo nos refugiados, que foi aquilo que a fragilizou na política alemã

Que a matou, de certa maneira.
Penso que não foi só isso. Foi também o cansaço. Vivemos num mundo mediático instantâneo em que os políticos vão e voltam, e a Alemanha conseguiu ter esta política durante mais de dez anos sempre a liderar.

Há na Europa quem a possa substituir nessa missão de liderança?
Temos neste momento um Presidente francês muito forte. Os próprios europeus, que muitas vezes olhavam para França com reticências, hoje olham com esperança. A minha mulher é francesa e diz-me que é a primeira vez que ouve falar bem de França fora de França. Macron criou uma dinâmica positiva extraordinária, mas a Europa só funciona com dois motores e, quer queiramos quer não, são a Alemanha e a França. Quando um está desligado, a coisa não funciona. É muito difícil pensar numa Europa em que há um só líder. Quando isso aconteceu, com a senhora Merkel e a França não estava a funcionar, as coisas também não correram bem.

Merkel não conseguiu travar a extrema-direita na Europa. A saída de cena de Merkel coincide com uma regressão clara dos partidos tradicionais. Isto pode ser um momento de colapso desse centro mais moderado?
Não acredito que seja um momento de colapso. Tenho uma grande esperança no futuro da Europa. Quando passamos aqui pela Web Summit e vemos estes jovens todos a querer transformar o mundo com as novas tecnologias, isto dá um optimismo extraordinário. O meu pessimismo é mais no papel que a tecnologia está a ter na democracia. A tecnologia ajuda-nos a viver melhor e a curar doenças, mas não nos tem ajudado nas nossas democracias. Precisamos de uma liderança para uma Internet boa. E essa liderança  é a Europa que a está a levar para a frente.

O que é que falhou no ideal europeu para não ter estancado os populismos? Os dirigentes não se distanciaram do cidadão comum e fecharam-se em torres de marfim?
Talvez. Acho que nos últimos 20 anos os políticos disseram às pessoas que podiam fazer milagres. Ora, os políticos não fazem milagres. Quando as pessoas descobriram que os políticos lhes prometiam postos de trabalho que não conseguiam inventar, revoltaram-se e disseram: “Então vamos trocar.” Acho que as pessoas querem algo de novo porque os políticos também, de certa forma, não se fizeram respeitar.

Em princípio vai haver “Brexit” em 28 de Março. Acha que neste momento é possível uma Europa com um não-acordo com Theresa May?
É uma das grandes preocupações que tenho. Neste momento não podemos dizer se vai haver ou não acordo. Não temos a certeza. Do lado europeu fizemos todo o esforço possível. A questão agora é onde é que fica a fronteira da União Europeia. É uma decisão muito difícil. Para a fronteira ficar entre a Irlanda do Norte e a Irlanda temos um problema gravíssimo. Há pessoas que têm as suas vacas de um lado da fronteira e a sua casa do outro lado. É impossível haver uma fronteira entre a Irlanda e a Irlanda do Norte. Como é que vamos resolver este problema? Espero que os líderes consigam chegar a um acordo.

Não há uma vaga esperança de que possa haver um segundo referendo no Reino Unido?
O Reino Unido é um país onde as pessoas, quando tomam uma decisão, querem que essa decisão seja respeitada. Não penso que um novo referendo seja possível.

Como é possível ver a Europa sem o Reino Unido?
É muito preocupante, porque o Reino Unido era uma peça de equilíbrio muito importante deste motor franco-alemão, um país muito pragmático, racional e que de certa forma obrigava a máquina europeia a essa racionalidade. Vejo primeiro com tristeza e com alguma preocupação a saída do Reino Unido. É mau para os dois lados, mas neste momento temos de viver com isso. Qual é a minha esperança? Que dentro de dez anos consigamos ver o Reino Unido voltar. Qual é a minha segunda esperança? Conseguir um acordo em que o Reino Unido está fora, mas de certa forma está dentro. Isso é que é a grande dificuldade.

Esta semana, os comissários mandaram para trás a proposta de Orçamento da Itália. Se a Itália insistir em não cumprir as regras, qual é a solução?
É muito difícil. Acho que estamos a entrar num jogo muito perigoso porque obviamente não podemos aceitar aquilo que era o Orçamento italiano. Agora, tenho esperança de que haja algumas mudanças e de que a Itália possa reenviar esse Orçamento…

Mas eles prometeram ao povo que não reenviavam nada que cumprisse as regras…
Então a questão é o que é que se vai fazer. Vai-se abrir um procedimento por défice excessivo? Vamos multar? Isso ninguém sabe. Entramos aqui num momento muito complicado para a Europa. Se me perguntar entre o “Brexit” e a Itália, preocupo-me mais neste momento com a situação de Itália, o que vai sair daqui, qual vai ser o resultado disto tudo. Mas continuo a acreditar que consigamos chegar a algum acordo com o Governo italiano.

(OBS) Alexander Stubb: “Europa deve uma desculpa e um agradecimento a Portugal”

(OBS) A Europa deve uma desculpa a Portugal pelas “tremendas medidas” de austeridade que foram impostas durante a crise, afirmou Alexander Stubb, pré-candidato à presidência da Comissão Europeia.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT HANDOUT/EPA

A Europa deve uma desculpa e um agradecimento a Portugal pelas “tremendas medidas” de austeridade que foram impostas durante a crise, afirmou Alexander Stubb, pré-candidato do Partido Popular Europeu (centro-direita) à presidência da Comissão Europeia.

“Penso que, de muitas formas, a Europa deve uma desculpa e um agradecimento a Portugal, no sentido de que as medidas de austeridade que o governo de centro-direita tomou em plena crise foram tremendas”, disse Stubb numa entrevista à agência Lusa em Lisboa.

Mas para o ex-primeiro-ministro (2014-2015) e ex-ministro das Finanças (2015-2016) finlandês, considerado um “falcão da austeridade”, não havia alternativa: “Tivesse eu de fazer o mesmo na Finlândia, como primeiro-ministro ou ministro das Finanças, tinha de avançar. É assim”.

O Governo de coligação PSD-CDS, “fez um ótimo trabalho numa situação difícil”, mostrando “muita coragem”, mas “desde que o governo mudou”, Stubb diz que “não tem visto muita ação”.

“Se olharmos para o desenvolvimento económico português, gostava de ver um desempenho melhor. Penso que é a 20.ª economia com crescimento mais lento na Europa neste momento”, considerou Stubb, que é atualmente vice-presidente do Banco Europeu de Investimento.

Quanto ao futuro da União Económica e Monetária (UEM), Alexander Stubb assegurou que, enquanto “pró-europeu ávido”, é e sempre foi “a favor de mais integração” e de “aprofundar o euro”.

“Em relação ao euro, penso que demos passos enormes durante a crise, a legislação [de coordenação orçamental] ‘two pack’ e ‘six pack’, o mecanismo de estabilidade europeu e, obviamente, o embrião da união bancária. No final, quero ver uma união bancária plena, incluindo a garantia de depósitos e provavelmente uma mutualização da dívida”, assegurou.

“Mas isso não vai acontecer de um dia para o outro. As condições têm de estar lá [e] estamos a alguns anos disso”, advertiu.

Para Stubb, desenvolvimentos com o orçamento que Itália apresentou para 2019, que prevê “o agravamento anual da dívida em 40 mil milhões de euros durante três anos”, “não ajudam”, porque “aqueles que querem abrandar o curso nesta matéria, vão apontar o dedo à Itália”.

“Não sei qual é o Orçamento de Portugal, o da Finlândia é de cerca de 55 mil milhões, e se a Itália está a assumir 40 mil milhões por ano de mais dívida para aplicar uma política fiscal estúpida, não vai fazer avançar a causa da união bancária ou outros objetivos”, frisou.

Vice-presidente do Banco Europeu de Investimentos, Stubb sublinhou que esta instituição “é um exemplo de um banco completamente mutualizado”.

“Partilhamos dívida e funciona. Mas partilhamos dívida com base nas condições do mercado, não com base em decisões políticas, e é provavelmente isto que tem de ser tido em consideração”, afirmou.

Alexander Stubb, que disputa a designação como ‘Spitzenkandidat’ do Partido Popular Europeu (PPE, centro-direita) com o alemão Manfred Weber, da CSU, foi entrevistado à margem da iniciativa Escola Europa, organizada pelo Partido Social-Democrata (PSD) de Portugal e pelo Partido Popular (PP) de Espanha com o apoio daquele grupo político europeu.

Após as eleições europeias, em maio próximo, cabe ao Conselho Europeu, compostos pelos chefes de Estado e de Governo dos membros da UE, designar um candidato à presidência da Comissão, o qual se submete depois a votação no Parlamento Europeu.

O Tratado de Lisboa determina que o resultado das eleições europeias seja tido em conta na escolha do presidente da Comissão, mas o Conselho não é legalmente obrigado a fazê-lo.

A escolha de candidatos pelos grupos políticos, os chamados “Spitzenkandidat” ocorreu pela primeira vez nas eleições europeias de 2014, em que Jean-Claude Juncker, candidato pelo PPE, sucedeu a José Manuel Durão Barroso.

(EUobserver) Why Brazil’s election matters to Brussels

(EUobserver) Why Brazil’s election matters to Brussels

  • Increased deforestation in the Amazon could undo the EU’s climate action (Photo: Neil Palmer (CIAT))

 

The election of the far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil last month is not only of concern for the Brazilian population.

It could have profound consequences for Europeans as well.

  • Connie Hedegaard: ‘I think that all good forces should right now try to reach out and deliver the good arguments for Brazil’. (Photo: European Parliament)

Before being elected, Bolsonaro said he would take Brazil out of the climate agreement agreed in Paris in 2015, and that he would allow a sharp increase of logging in the Amazon tropical rainforest.

What’s more, he suggested that the trees, which currently soak up CO2, could be replaced by industry and beef farming.

As if it would not be bad enough to see the Amazon forest’s ability in neutralising man-made greenhouse gases challenged, it could thus be replaced by additional sources of these gases.

Bolsonaro has also suggested merging the agriculture and environment ministries.

Specialist news website Climate Home called Bolsonaro’s election “the environmental story of 2018”.

Ahead of the elections, some already signalled what his election could mean for the world.

“A potential Bolsonaro win would, without a doubt, make Brazil lose its leadership on the global climate agenda and become a huge obstacle for the global efforts to combat global warming,” Carlos Rittl told the New York Times.

Rittl leads a Brazilian organisation called Climate Observatory, which had looked at presidential candidates environmental views.

US climate activist Bill McKibben sent a sobering tweet after Bolsonaro’s victory.

“The new Brazilian president’s pledge to wreck the Amazon is a tragic reminder that environmentalists need to win a fight forever, while the other side only needs to win it once,” he said.

So what now?

How should Europe react to the potential threat to the world’s climate?

Former European Commissioner for climate action, Connie Hedegaard, said that Bolsonaro could still change his mind.

“We must see how he puts his government together,” Hedegaard told EUobserver in an interview in Brussels.

“I think it’s early days,” she said.

“I think that all good forces should right now try to reach out and deliver the good arguments for Brazil. In that sense I think the jury is still out,” said the Danish former commissioner.

“I have also noticed that Bolsonaro … is not as firm stating ‘we should withdraw’ as he was only some few weeks back. Let’s see if the good arguments can win here,” she noted.

As environment minister, Hedegaard prepared and hosted the United Nations climate change conference in 2009. From 2010 to 2014, she was the EU’s climate action commissioner.

Bolsonaro will officially take office on 1 January, which means it will still be the outgoing government that will represent Brazil next month at this year’s UN climate summit.

As Climate Home noted, Brazil was an important partner for the EU at the 2015 Paris conference, where the first-ever global climate treaty was signed.

This year’s climate summit will be held in Poland, in Katowice.

Environmentalists are keen to point out the discrepancy between Poland hosting the summit, while simultaneously still relying on coal, the dirtiest of fossil fuels, for its energy.

But just wait until next year.

In 2019, the UN climate summit, known as the Conference of Parties (COP), will be hosted by Brazil.

Hedegaard suggested that this may actually be a good thing for climate action.

“I mean, you cannot imagine that we have the COP in a place where they have decided to leave the [Paris] agreement,” she said.

“It would be extremely unfortunate if Brazil chose to leave, but I really believe it would also be unfortunate for Brazil itself,” she said.

Organising the climate conference may become a matter of prestige that defuses some of the more radical plans, Hedegaard suggested.

“Until … proven [otherwise], I think that common sense and the economic interest and the international reputation of Brazil will prevail here,” said Hedegaard.

Beyond diplomacy, the EU does have some sticks available.

Campaigner for the environmental group Fern Nicole Polsterer wrote in an opinion piece “the EU’s chief – and perhaps only – leverage, is trade”.

According to the European Commission, the EU accounts for 18.3 percent of Brazil’s total trade, making the bloc Brazil’s second-biggest trading partner. The EU is the biggest foreign investor in Brazil.

In 2017, 42 percent of all beef and live animals imported into the EU came from Brazil. In the first six months of 2018, the EU imported €284m worth of beef and veal from Brazil, ahead of Argentina (€212m) and Uruguay (€153m)

EU-Mercosur

Trade with Brazil is currently the subject of negotiations as part of a possible free trade deal between the EU and a regional trading bloc consisting of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

However, it is unclear when this EU-Mercosur trade deal will be wrapped up.

In September, the two sides met for the 35th round of talks in Montevideo.

A two-page report from the commission said “overall, the round only resulted in limited progress”.

(ElPais) Pekín ultima la construcción del aeropuerto más grande del mundo

(ElPaisLa nueva terminal permitirá descongestionar el actual aeródromo de la capital china, que está al límite de su capacidad

Vista aérea del nuevo aeropuerto de Pekín, en construcción.
Vista aérea del nuevo aeropuerto de Pekín, en construcción. AEROPUERTO DE PEKÍN DAXING

A menos de un año de su inauguración, el nuevo aeropuerto de Pekín toma forma. La espectacular terminal, que se convertirá en la más grande del mundo con 700.000 metros cuadrados de superficie, se habrá construido en apenas cinco años y está destinada a ser una infraestructura eficiente que ayude a descongestionar el actual aeródromo de la capital china, que pese a su expansión con motivo de los Juegos Olímpicos del año 2008 opera ya al límite de su capacidad.

Los trabajos de esta impresionante obra de ingeniería avanzan a buen ritmo y los más de 40.000 operarios que trabajan en su interior y alrededores están centrados en la instalación eléctrica y comenzando a decorar el interior del edificio. Su aspecto futurista recuerda a una estrella de mar de seis puntas, una de acceso y cinco otros brazos en los que ya están instaladas las pasarelas que en pocos meses comunicarán las puertas de embarque con las aeronaves. Debido a su diseño hexagonal, la puerta de embarque más lejana estará relativamente cerca, a 600 metros del control de seguridad y ocho minutos andando. En los extremos de cada ala, junto a las puertas de embarque, habrá cinco grandes jardines al aire libre diseñados de acuerdo con la tradición china.

La terminal tendrá siete pisos: dos bajo tierra —en los que se ha construido una enorme estación intermodal en la que confluirán metro, trenes de cercanías, regionales y alta velocidad (250 kilómetros por hora)— y cinco hacia arriba. La infraestructura se alza a 46 kilómetros del centro de la ciudad dirección sur, una distancia mayor en comparación con la ubicación del aeropuerto actual, aunque una línea de alta velocidad hará que el trayecto entre ambos puntos sea de unos 30 minutos. Las salidas se organizarán en dos plantas distintas. Y desde la más alta los visitantes tendrán una vista privilegiada de las áreas del edificio normalmente restringidas a los viajeros. “En general en las terminales es imposible ver más allá de los controles de seguridad. Pero en esta los familiares podrán observar cómo sus seres queridos caminan hacia la puerta de embarque”, explica Zhang Ru, portavoz del proyecto de construcción del aeropuerto, en una visita reciente a las obras para medios de comunicación.

Vista general de la construcción del interior de la terminal del aeropuerto.
Vista general de la construcción del interior de la terminal del aeropuerto. ROMAN PILIPEY EFE

El aeródromo entrará en funcionamiento el próximo 30 de septiembre, justo antes del Día Nacional de China. En su primera fase (año 2025) tiene como objetivo albergar a 72 millones de pasajeros al año, dos millones de toneladas de carga y 620.000 operaciones en sus cuatro pistas. A largo plazo el número de pistas se ampliará hasta las siete y su capacidad máxima será de 100 millones de pasajeros por año. El coste del proyecto es de 80.000 millones de yuanes (11.500 millones de dólares, 10.100 millones de euros).

Son cifras a priori mareantes pero que cuadran con el crecimiento del tráfico aéreo en el país en los últimos años. El actual aeropuerto internacional de Pekín, ampliado en 2008 con motivo de la celebración de los Juegos Olímpicos en la capital china, acogió el año pasado 95,8 millones de pasajeros, convirtiéndose así en el segundo más transitado del mundo después del de Atlanta (Estados Unidos). Su operativa al límite, junto a otros factores externos como un espacio aéreo controlado en prácticamente su totalidad por el Ejército, le han situado sin embargo en los últimos puestos entre los grandes del mundo en puntualidad (solamente un 67% de los vuelos despegan a la hora prevista, según la clasificación elaborada por OAG). Para aliviar esta carga, las compañías de la alianza Sky Team pasarán a operar en la nueva instalación, mientras que las que forman Star Alliance se quedarán en el aeropuerto actual, explicó Zhang.

(BBG) Meat Has a Replacement But No One Knows What to Call It

(BBG) Battle lines blur over labeling lab-grown substitutes as Big Meat invests in the startups making them.

Lab-grown. Cell-based. Clean. In vitro. Cultured. Fake. Artificial. Synthetic. Meat 2.0. These are all terms that refer to the same kind of food, one that’s not even on the market yet.

But the companies making it have already raised hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investor cash and earned the close attention of U.S. regulators. Rather than methodically slaughtering animals, this industry uses science to grow what it claims is essentially the same thing as traditional meat. Given the planetary damage wrought by mass-market animal husbandry, such cellular agriculture is seen as the future of meat.

But what to name it, and getting people to eat it, is another matter altogether.

Crucial to public acceptance of any consumer product, of course, is branding. But no one can agree what to call this stuff. Originally, there was a push for the label “clean meat.” This was seen as a better alternative to the more clinical “lab-grown meat,” said Bruce Friedrich, co-founder and executive director of the Good Food Institute, which lobbies for these new products.

But then the traditional meat industry weighed in, saying the cellular version shouldn’t be called meat at all. “We’re using the term ‘lab-produced cultured protein,’” said Dan Kovich, deputy director of science and technology at the National Pork Producers Council. Other groups representing meat producers, including the North American Meat Institute, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Chicken Council, also objected to the “clean meat” label.

The U.S. meat industry represents almost $200 billion in sales, according to one industry estimate, and spends millions of dollars annually to keep Washington in its corner. Investing in this new sector could be giving it more leverage in the debate over what to call the product and how it should be labeled for consumers.

Now, other terms seem to be gaining traction, both in the U.S. and abroad. Mark Post, co-founder of Dutch company Mosa Meats, told AgFunder in July that he doesn’t use the “clean meat” label. “It can’t translate into Dutch, French or German, and it kind of suggests that current meat is dirty,” he said. A spokeswoman for the company told Bloomberg the term is “too antagonistic to industry.”

Meat producers have said “clean meat” is offensive, said Sarah Lucas, head of strategy & communications for Mosa Meat. Investors, meanwhile, “haven’t particularly said that they would like us to use one term over another,” she said.

In August, cellular agriculture company Memphis Meats (which counts among its financial backers meat giants Cargill and Tyson) used the term “cell-based” in a letter sent to the White House. The co-signer of the letter was none other the Meat Institute, the meat industry’s main lobbying arm.

“We thought it was reasonable and far better than ‘clean meat,’ which is inappropriate and inaccurate,” Eric Mittenthal of the Meat Institute told Bloomberg. Cell-based is “clear, factual and inclusive,” Eric Schulze, vice president of product and regulation at Memphis Meats, told federal regulators last month during a two-day meeting in Washington. “It is distinct from plant-based proteins and animal-based meats. It differentiates our products while also clearly conveying that cell-based meat is, in fact, real meat.”

JUST Inc., which said it may make its first commercial sale of a cultured chicken product this year, is in the “cultured” camp when it comes to names. Labels should include “a statement of identity which indicates that the product is cultured, as well as the species from which the product is derived,” Peter Licari, chief technology officer, said at the meeting.

JUST “Chicken Bites.”
Source: JUST

Friedrich’s opposition notwithstanding, Good Food Institute Policy Director Jessica Almy told Bloomberg her organization has rethought its position on how to talk about the products, too. “It feels like ‘clean meat’ doesn’t resonate with everybody right now,” she said. Others see this budding consensus in a more cynical light.

“I think the meat industry has done something very clever,” said Sarah Sorscher, deputy director of regulatory affairs at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a consumer advocacy group. By investing in companies such as Memphis Meats, it now has a voice from within its own aspiring competition. “They’re not up against the meat industry,” she said of meat substitute companies. “They are the meat industry.

At the meeting last month, officials of the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture listened as industry representatives chewed over the labeling issue. It’s important to protect consumers with transparent labeling, Almy testified, adding that there should be some flexibility in labeling requirements. Meanwhile, Danni Beer of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association said new processes should be spelled out explicitly.

Brian Spears of New Age Meats argued that it would be dishonest to label meat substitutes as anything other than meat, since it’s really the same thing.

“This conversation is feeling more and more premature,” said Tyler Lobdell, a food-law fellow at the Animal Legal Defense Fund, who told Bloomberg the group seeks to ensure that the meat industry doesn’t hamper consumer options. “We just don’t know what the product looks like, so it’s hard to say what’s misleading when there are no products available.”

Barbara Kowalcyk, a professor in the department of food science and technology at Ohio State University, said there are still too many unknowns about the products and how they’re made—including food safety risks—for regulators to make any decisions.

“When I asked questions, there weren’t good responses, and that suggests we’re not ready for prime time,” she said. “Before we put it in the marketplace, we need to know the answers.”

Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

One look at the American food landscape reveals that organic sales are outpacing everything else at the grocery store. Restaurant menus are highlighting the locality and diet of the animals they serve. Consumers are hungry for more natural foods and willing to pay more for them.

Key to the success of any new “meat” product, however, is overcoming what’s colloquially called the “ick” factor, and labeling is a big part of that. Almy contends that consumers aren’t overly concerned with the provenance of their meat (or its substitute). “I don’t think most consumers care how their meat is produced,” she said. “There’s a strong desire to not have requirements about distinguishing the origin of these products.”

Sorscher of CSPI called this approach a “horrible mistake.” Using the example of widespread consumer mistrust of genetically modified organisms in food, she predicted “there would be such a backlash from consumers, it would ultimately undermine these products.” Indeed, only 5 percent of Americans think such meat substitutes should be labeled as “meat” without further explanation, according to a survey conducted by Consumers Union, which has also called for more transparency.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

“The labeling issue surrounding products of cellular agriculture is fundamentally a public policy question,” said Robert Hibbert, a partner at law firm Morgan Lewis who focuses on food and agriculture regulations. Because the FDA has allowed food companies wiggle room around identity standards (think “soy milk”) while also bringing enforcement actions when it sees potential for confusion, Hibbert said, it’s hard to predict how these labels will be treated.

Even those rooting for meat substitutes said consumers deserve to know what they’re getting. Jessica Resler is creative director at Participation Agency, an experiential marketing firm. A vegan who wants to see all slaughterhouses closed, she said a failure to disclose the meat’s origins will anger consumers.

Still, Resler said. “It has to be described on labels, for sure.”

Eventually, consumers will develop their own shorthand for meat substitutes, for good or for ill. “The mass-adopted term is going to be decided by the public.” Nik Contis, a branding expert at PS212, said.

(Reuters) China likely to more than triple nuclear power capacity by 2030 – official

(Reuters) China’s total nuclear capacity is expected to reach 120-150 gigawatts (GW) in total by 2030, a senior industry official said on Thursday, more than triple the current rate but still lower than previous forecasts after a slowdown in new approvals.

The prediction was made by Yu Jianfeng, chairman of the government-run China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), during an event at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

Yu said CNNC was still planning to spend $12 billion on overseas procurement over the next five years and he urged global partners to participate in the future development of China’s nuclear industry.

“China is expected to become the world’s largest nuclear power nation, and the development of the China National Nuclear Corporation will be more open and international,” he said.

As China embarked on massive economic expansion around three decades ago, nuclear was seen as a crucial part of efforts to reduce reliance on use of polluting, climate-warming fossil fuels. The world’s second-biggest economy launched an ambitious reactor building programme using technology from France, the United States, Russia and Canada.

But though some predicted capacity could reach at least 200 GW by 2030, Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011 forced policymakers to rethink. Repeated delays to key projects have also slowed the pace of construction.

After deciding to focus on bigger and safer “third generation” reactors like the U.S. AP1000 and Europe’s EPR, China vowed to raise total installed nuclear generation capacity to 58 GW by the end of 2020, and put another 30 GW under construction.

The total now stands at 39 GW but the government has not approved any new conventional nuclear projects in three years. It is now expected to fall short of its 2020 targets.

Still, a raft of nuclear industry deals were signed by Chinese firms and their overseas partners over the last few days.

CNNC signed an equipment and service agreement with Russia’s Rosatom worth more than $500 million. The two firms also confirmed plans to build another two third-generation Russia-designed VVER reactor units at China’s Tianwan nuclear project on the eastern coast.

On Tuesday, the State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) signed a total of 17 agreements with several overseas suppliers, including service contracts with the U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric Corp, which designed the AP1000.

According to a recent study by the Energy Research Institute, a government-backed think tank, China must raise nuclear capacity to 554 GW by 2050 if it is to meet its commitments to cut carbon emissions and limit temperature rises.