Tue. Oct 19th, 2021


Good morning and welcome to Europe Express.

While the German Greens are negotiating with their potential government partners, the eco-party in France has just chosen Yannick Jadot as his candidate in the presidential election next spring. We are going to look at what the choice says about the state of the green movement in the second largest economy of the EU.

In other French affairs, President Emmanuel Macron sold some ships (frigates, not submarines) to Greece for € 3 billion, but still criticized in the US after Washington closed France out of a € 30 billion deal with Australia. And after long objections, French diplomats yesterday finally agreed to the content of trade and technology discussions taking place today in Pittsburgh between senior EU officials and the Biden administration.

Eastward, in the Russian coastal resort of Sochi, president Vladimir Putin is set to receive Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdogan today. We look at what they are expected to discuss and how the wars in Syria, Azerbaijan and Ukraine have made their relationship even more complicated.

Also in the Black Sea region, but within the EU, we look at it Romania’s the latest political crisis that could bring down the government — for less than a year — could cast doubt on how the country will manage the billions of euros from the EU’s post-pandemic recovery fund.

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Moderate shade of green

The Greens of France have barely voted for the moderate European parliamentarian Yannick Jadot as their candidate to run in next year’s presidential election, writes Victor Mallet and Anna Gross in Paris.

In the vote, Jadot beat the self-described “ecological radical” Sandrine Rousseau in the second round of the party’s primary election yesterday. Jadot wins 51.03 percent of the 104,000 votes in the Europe Écologie-Les Verts (EELV) primary, at 48.97 percent for Rousseau.

The outcome was a sign of how deeply the environmental movement in France is divided between pragmatists, who want to work with government and businesses to green the economy, and those who insist on shamelessly radical and left-wing environmentalists.

‘Thanks to you, I’m the president of the climate. “Our presidency will be one that acts immediately, and we will link every public policy and every euro to the climate,” Jadot told supporters after his victory.

Although he briefly became the most popular politician of France after bringing the EELV to third place among the parties of the country in the 2019 European elections, It is unlikely that Jadot will reach the next round of the presidential election in April next year.

Current postman Emmanuel Macron and his right-wing rival Marine Le Pen are currently predicted by opinion polls that they will be the two to qualify for the second round. Support for left-wing and environmental candidates is divided between various contenders, including those of the socialist and communist parties and Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the far-left La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) party.

Macron, meanwhile, has alienated many on the left by promoting business reforms and adopting a hard line on immigration, but he has also called on green voters to spend more on climate-friendly policies, such as insulating buildings. , to develop hydrogen industry and invest in technology for electric vehicles.

The Greens in France do not have the political grip of them peers in Germany, who won nearly 15 percent of the vote in last Sunday’s election and are likely to be part of a coalition government, but have grown stronger in recent years.

In the local elections last year, the French greens Macron’s ruling party crushes and triumph in major cities such as Lyon, Strasbourg and Bordeaux.

Uncomfortable madness

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan laid the groundwork for a trip to Vladimir Putin today by Joe Biden with a bad mouth and flirting with the idea of ​​buying more Russian missiles, writes Max Seddon in Moscow and Laura pitel in Ankara.

Moscow, on the other hand, intensified its bombing of Turkish-backed rebels in the Syrian province of Idlib, warning that Erdogan’s continued opposition to the annexation of Crimea had left an “unpleasant trail” ahead of the meeting.

Erdogan and Putin, both strong leaders with deep distrust in the West, have worked more closely together over the past few years, but their relationship is uncomfortable: they have long had supporting parties in conflicts in Libya and Syria, while Turkey’s open intervention in Azerbaijan’s side last year in Nagorno-Karabakh war with Armenia threatens Russia’s years of hegemony in the Caucasus.

At the top of the agenda for their meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi is Syria, where Ankara and Moscow accuse each other of failing to comply with the terms of a ceasefire agreement in Idlib.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russia, wants to give back “every inch” of his country, including Idlib. Turkey, which already houses 3.6 million Syrian refugees, is anxious to reduce an increase in violence in the province that could force more people to flee to the southern border. It deployed thousands of troops to the region.

The meeting held a greater pleasure just days after the first anniversary of the start of the Nagorno-Karabakh war. Turkey’s latest Bayraktar drones was crucial in the aid of mostly Muslim-Azerbaijan with the control of the mountainous area from Armenia to a stalemate of almost 30 years.

By letting Turkey interfere in Moscow’s backyard, Russia has set a dangerous precedent, says Ruslan Pukhov of the defense think tank Cast in a new book on the war.

He points to Ukraine’s recent purchase of the Bayraktar drones from Turkey, which he says shows Kiev’s hope that it could recapture Russia’s backed separatist regions in the east in a similar blitzkrieg.

But Russia was not afraid to use its leverage over Turkey, which relies on Russian visitors to power its tourism industry, a major source of foreign exchange for the Turkish economy.

In April, it abruptly banned Russians from traveling to Turkey after increasing Covid-19 cases – although few observers lost sight of the fact that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had just visited Ankara to reach an agreement on the drones to close.

Ankara is also dependent on Russian gas and is renegotiating contracts with Gazprom that expire at the end of this year.

The subject is especially uncomfortable amidst rising gas prices that Western officials blamed the Russian gas monopoly for not building up supplies. Russia has warned that countries taking their chances on the open market, especially in Europe, run the risk of being burned if they avoid concluding new pipeline agreements with Moscow at a lower rate.

Graph of the day: Impossible (price) citizen

Line chart of Canadian yellow pea lifts ($ per ton) showing pea prices rising

Plant-based meat businesses that rely heavily on peas in their manufacturing processes are being hit by rising crop prices, especially due to a severe drought in Canada this year. The French company Roquette, which processes the legume and considers Beyond Meat as one of its customers, said this week that the price increases “will inevitably lead to a transfer of costs to customers”. (More here)

Romanian rand, reload

Romanian Prime Minister Florin Citu faces a set of confidence motions, as the European Commission approves his cabinet’s recovery plans and unlocks billions of euros from the post-pandemic fund, writes the FT’s correspondent in South East Europe, Marton Dunai.

Citu came under fire from a liberal coalition partner earlier in September (as we wrote here) after dismissing his justice minister over what he called slow reform of the justice system and the blocking of a municipal development plan.

The junior coalition party (USR-PLUS), which provided the justice minister, said it would pull out the government unless Citu stepped down. But Citu consolidated its position after being re-elected as party chairman over the weekend.

However, USR-PLUS dug into its heels and filed a motion of no confidence backed by an anti-vaxxer, ultranationalist newcomer party. The country’s high court ruled yesterday that the motion is valid and that a vote can be taken in parliament.

The Social Democrats (PSD), the largest opposition party, yesterday filed their own no-confidence motion, saying they want to force quick elections, less than a year after the last parliamentary vote – an unprecedented situation even in Romania, more than a dozen governments since 2000, most among all European countries.

The unrest returned just a day after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was in Bucharest and freed the country’s 29.2 billion euro share in the EU package. The first payment is expected to amount to approximately € 3.6 billion.

“In some ways, the hard work is starting now, because it’s now about implementing and executing the plan,” von der Leyen said.

Since the current government of Citu does not have a majority in parliament without USR-PLUS, we have yet to see which government will spend all the billions and whether they will reach the milestones of good governance attached to each payout.

What to watch today

  1. EU-US First Trade and Technology Council meets in Pittsburgh

  2. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet in Sochi

Remarkable, Citing

  • The ECB maintains: Christine Lagarde distanced the European Central Bank from the transition to tighter monetary policy by many other central banks. The ECB president said that green policies could push up prices further, but saw “no signs that this rise in inflation is coming on a broad basis”.

  • Spanish gorge: Businesses in Spain are at odds with the socialist government led by a time when they must work together to use the € 140 billion in grants and loans that the country will receive from the EU post-pandemic recovery fund.

  • LGBTI + victory: Three Polish regions recalled decisions against “LGBT ideology” following EU threats to block funding for the declarations. The decision follows a similar move by another region last week.

Post-election Germany, unpacked

Join the Europe Express team on 4 October for a webinar for subscribers only on the outcome of the election in Germany and its implications for the country and the rest of the world. Register for free at ft.com/germanwebinar

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Today’s Europe Express team: victor.mallet@ft.com, anna.gross@ft.com, max.seddon@ft.com, laura.pitel@ft.com, marton.dunai@ft.com, valentina.pop@ft.com. Follow us on Twitter: @VJMallet, @annasophiegross, @maxseddon, @laurapitel, @mdunai, @valentinapop.





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