News Archive – June 2015
Free labour movement could pose big problem for ASEAN Economic Community
Channel News Asia, June 30, 2015 – When ASEAN debuts its new trade bloc known as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by the end of this year, its 10 members could come under the threat of relaxed labour movement, which may worsen the migrant crisis in the Andaman Sea…. “The major problem would be the free movement of labour. This is going to be a big problem for Thailand and other ASEAN nations,” said Dr Jingjai, citing the on-going migrant crisis in the Andaman Sea where thousands of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis are smuggled into some Southeast Asian countries.
‘Cooperation is key for Asean to fight terror’ – AsiaOne | The Straits Times, June 29, 2015 – “By default, co-operation is the name of the game because none of the three nations can sufficiently monitor the area themselves,” he said. Regionwide, Dr Chalk pointed out, ASEAN has plans to introduce a Political-Security Community to coordinate regional security policies by the end of the year. Patrols in the Sulu-Sulawesi Seas “would fall naturally under this third pillar of the ASEAN community”, he said, adding that “fostering and encouraging more joint action to deal with counterterrorism on a regional basis” is something ASEAN could look at as a whole.
The euro is an experiment in making a currency without a government. That’s why it’s in trouble.
Washington Post (blog), June 28, 2015 – The European Union appears to be on the brink of an unprecedented rupture. After months of meetings between the 19 E.U. states that use the euro, Greece broke off talks ahead of a June 30 deadline for continued financing of their vast debts and is likely to default and leave the euro….
If the euro zone is to work, it needs Europe-level political authority and power in at least four areas: a central bank that can generate market confidence and liquidity; a banking authority that can regulate financial risk and uncertainty across the euro zone; mechanisms for fiscal redistribution and economic adjustment in times of crisis; and a sense of political solidarity to navigate the conflicts that arise in financial crises.
EUROPEAN UNION or EURASIAN UNION?
Georgia’s Broken Dreams: Rising Euroskepticism Might Damage EU
Euroskepticism is on the rise in Georgia, Regnum News Agency reported.
Sputnik, June 28, 2015 – In May, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, an organization created by the US government to promote democracy in developing nations, released a report based on polls that showed an astonishing 31 percent of Georgians would prefer if their country joined the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), led by Russia, while 27 percent of respondents were undecided whether Georgia would be better off with the EU or the EEU. Interestingly, in August of 2014, only 20 percent of respondents wanted their country to join the EEA, while 59 percent voted in favor of the EU, Regnum reported.
What is the PARLASUR?
El Ancasti (Argentina), June 27, 2015 – Its usefulness, so far, is very small, and the resolutions issued in recent years have had a more symbolic than practical value…. Political integration is referenced to the UNASUR, and PARLASUR would be something like the still incipient regional integration legislative structure of that process. The process tries to follow in the footsteps of the experience of European integration, which had the structures that underpin the European Economic Community-and defunct, the current European Union (political reference) and the European Parliament, with functions and legislative powers .
Don’t take Asean integration for granted
Later this year, the Asean Economic Community (AEC) will come into being, aiming to ease trade and the movement of people, binding the region’s economies ever closer together.
Malaysian Insider, June 27, 2015 - If Asean wants to see economic, political and security unions of its own take shape and be effective, then it should take note of the UK-EU case. Southeast Asia’s decision makers should not fall into the trap of assuming that regional integration is the one and only path forward, or that the peoples of Asean are immune to the fears that have played on Britons minds, such as the simplistic view that relaxed borders lead to influxes of foreigners who eventually take their jobs.
Leverage granted by Eurasian Economic Union membership praised
Belarusian News, June 25, 2015 – Giving up a part of their sovereignty, members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) get levers to exert influence over the whole region, Chairman of the Management Board of the Eurasian Development Bank Dmitry Pankin said in an interview with BelTA…. Dmitry Pankin believes that open borders and free flow of goods and capital will give all the EEU member states an impetus for development.
Desperate businessmen urge Cameron to keep Britain in the European Union
Daily Express (London, UK), June 25, 2015 – In an open letter to the Prime Minister, the likes of Richard Branson and BT chairman Sir Mike Rake told him it is “overwhelmingly in Britain’s interest” to stay in Europe…. Senior European officials have already warned Cameron that treaty changes will not be on offer and that Britain cannot undermine the EU’s core principles, such as free movement.
The Queen hints at desire for Britain to remain in European Union – The Guardian (London, UK), June 24, 2015 – “We know that division in Europe is dangerous and that we must guard against it in the west as well as in the east of our continent.” As she spoke, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor who sat at the Queen’s table in Berlin’s Schloss Bellevue along with her husband Joachim Sauer, nodded vigorously, a gesture that did not go unnoticed among observers.
GCC & REGIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE:
Super grid revolutionizing GCC energy markets
Eco-Business, June 25, 2015 – In the Middle East, the Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) has commissioned the first ever 400-kV super grid that connects the power network of six Gulf countries, namely, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. In a bid to combat the risk of blackouts on each national grid and share energy resources, GCCIA linked the electrical power network of all its member states…. making it the world’s biggest back-to-back HVDC converter station in the world
Agreement between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal marks a new sub-regional framework.
Indian Express, June 24, 2015 – It is beyond doubt that the pace of the Saarc caravan has been set by the slowest camel, Pakistan…. Instead of agonising over the failures of the Saarc, Delhi has recognised that two-speed regionalism is quite common around the world. For example, Britain, Denmark and Sweden are among the members of the European Union that have not adopted the euro as their currency. Many in Britain, of course, want London to exit from the European Union…. It is, indeed, Pakistan’s sovereign prerogative to choose the pace and direction of its regionalism.
EURASIAN ECONOMIC UNION:
China Institutionalizes Eurasia For Silk Road Development
China Briefing, June 23, 2015 – While the EAEU may appear small in terms of its members – Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia (Kyrgyzstan’s membership is in the process of being ratified) it still represents 170 million people spread amongst 20 million sq km of land…. While China is not a member of the EAEU, it is a very interested observer. Should the EAEU indeed embark on a program of tax reform, and sign Free Trade deals with China, other ASEAN members and say the Gulf Cooperation Council, and SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) members, it will have created an effective Free Trade Zone stretching from Istanbul to Shanghai and from Moscow to Jakarta covering all points in between.
A major Saarc push
Deccan Herald (India), June 20, 2015 – This major initiative between sub-grouping of four Saarc nations, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) is expected to pave the way for a seamless movement of people and goods across their borders for the benefit and integration of the region, thereby galvanising economic development in South Asia at large…. After Pakistan’s obstructionist stance could not be cleared, India decided to tap its eastern neighbours and the framework of the new agreement was finalised in a meeting of the transport secretaries of the four countries at the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) …. If Pakistan persists in its obstructionist agenda, New Delhi is signalling it would find itself marginalised in the larger South Asian dynamic.
Obama to visit Ethiopia African Union in July
MENAFN, June 20, 2015 – US President Barack Obama will in late July become the first sitting American leader to visit Ethiopia and the headquarters of the African Union the White House said Friday…. ‘The decision by President Obama to travel to Ethiopia which has seen three opposition party members murdered this week alone is very troubling’ Jeffrey Smith of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights and Justice told AFP.
AU pushes ahead with African Standby Force – defenceWeb (South Africa), June 17, 2015 – The African Union (AU) believes Africa will have a united and functioning single military by the end of this year as leaders on Monday pledged to accelerate the operationalisation of the African Standby Force (ASF)…. Such a force would also be crucial to counter terrorists groups like Boko Haram and al Shabaab that have killed thousands of people and displaced many in West Africa. The envisaged 25 000-strong ASF operating through five regional brigades is expected to be the backbone of the continent’s new peace and security architecture.
Africa one step closer to a free trade bloc – Mail & Guardian (South Africa), June 19, 2015 – The negotiations for a continental free trade agreement were launched at the African Union summit this week, and come off the back of the ratification of the smaller but significant tripartite free trade agreement in Egypt earlier this month. The tripartite agreement links three major regional blocs – the East African Community (EAC), the Southern African Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa…. With the signing of the tripartite agreement, however, the dream of a continental agreement is no longer as distant as it once seemed
King invited to address the Pan African Parliament – Swazi Observer (Swaziland), June 19, 2015 – His Majesty King Mswati III has been invited to address the Pan African Parliament (PAP) at a conference to be held in August…. The ultimate aim of the Pan African Parliament shall be to evolve into an institution with full legislative powers, whose members are elected by universal adult suffrage. However, until such a time as the members states decide otherwise by amending the Protocol, the Pan African Parliament shall have consultative and advisory powers.
Half of SAARC nations sign Motor Vehicles Agreement
Business Standard (India), June 16, 2015 – The Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) within the sub-grouping of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) nations would increase economic benefits for the region, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said…. “This would further need to be supplemented through building and upgrading roads, railways and waterways infrastructure energy grids, communications and air links to ensure smooth cross-border flow of goods, services, capital, technology and people.”
Pacific Islands Forum, EU sign 200 mln USD development partnership program
Shanghai Daily, June 16, 2015 – Neven Mimica, European commissioner for international cooperation and development and Dame Meg Taylor, secretary-general of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, signed the Pacific Regional Indicative Programme in Suva…. Welcoming the EU’s commitment to the Pacific, Taylor said the Pacific Regional Indicative Programme “reflects the region’s commitment to advance Pacific regionalism beyond regional cooperation towards deeper forms of regional integration
Ambassador Tumanyan: Armenia wants to link Iran to
Eurasian Economic Union
Panorama.am (Armenia), June 15, 2015 – Asked what is the obstacle of Iran-Armenia railway construction, Ambassador Tumanyan said, “A few hundred kilometer-long railway needs to be constructed which requires investments of billions of dollars. It will be constructed once the funding issue is solved.” …. Speaking about the perspectives of the cooperation between Iran and EEU and highlighting the role of Armenia in that context, the Armenian Ambassador said, “Armenia wants to link Iran to the Eurasian Economic Union. The EEU member states are also interested in expanding their cooperation with Iran.”
Russia-China Alliance Could Launch New World Order – Moscow Times, June 15, 2015 – Key among these agreements was the decision by Putin and Xi to link their countries’ key integration projects: the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union and China’s Silk Road Economic Belt. “Essentially, we seek ultimately to reach a new level of partnership that will create a common economic space across the entire Eurasian continent,” Putin said of the agreement after the talks…. Dmitry Trenin, head of the Carnegie Moscow Center, authored his own report on the subject in May, arguing that while the old idea of a “greater Europe” spanning from Lisbon to Vladivostok has been abandoned, a new vision of a “greater Asia” from St. Petersburg to Shanghai has emerged as a more likely scenario for the region’s future development.
Stop pretending: to control our borders, we must leave the EU
The Telegraph (London, UK), June 14, 2015 – What aggrieves the public more than anything is free movement of people; and they need to be aware that of all the un-negotiable aspects of our membership, nothing is more un‑negotiable than that. If we wish to control our borders, we shall have to leave the EU. Any other questions?
SAARC & ‘SOUTH ASIAN ECONOMIC UNION’
Saarc nations should go for economic union
Greater integration to bring dynamism in South Asian economy, Saarc central bank governors’ conference told
The Daily Star (Bangladesh), June 13, 2015 – The Saarc countries should shift towards integration from cooperation in order to make South Asian Economic Union a reality, said a top Saarc Secretariat official yesterday. Lakshmanan Savithri, director of Kathmandu-based Saarc Secretariat,…. said the 18th Saarc Summit, which was held in Kathmandu in November last year, clearly stated that South Asian Economic Union should be achieved in a phased manner through a free trade area, a customs union, a common market and a common economic and monetary union.
African Union debates single currency
TV360 (Nigeria), June 12, 2015 – The Africa Union is mooting the idea to adopt a single currency as part of the Agenda 2063 roadmap worked out by the organization, Anthony Mothae Maruping, AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs, said on Thursday…. Leaders of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi [East African Community member nations] have already signed a protocol in the Ugandan capital of Kampala for the adoption of a common currency in 10 years, said Maruping…. As part of the Agenda 2063, Maruping said, AU also moots the idea of launching a Common Africa Passport to boost the integration of all Africans. With the introduction of a common passport in Africa, “We’ll create a common identity for all African,” Maruping said, adding that the common passport would also make it easier for Africans to travel across the continent without restrictions.
House votes to repeal meat labeling law under threat of retaliation from Canada and Mexico
U.S. News & World Report, June 10, 2015 – House Republicans voted Wednesday to repeal a law requiring country-of-origin labels on packages of meat — a move to avoid costly trade retaliation from Canada and Mexico.
House votes to repeal country-of-origin labeling on meat – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Associated Press, June 11, 2015 – The law was included in the 2002 and 2008 farm bills at the behest of northern U.S. ranchers who compete with the Canadian cattle industry. It also was backed by consumer advocates who say it helps shoppers know where their food comes from.
Continental free trade a reality – African Union commission
The New Age (South Africa), June 11, 2015 – ”As you know, the free trade area will not be built from scratch, the regional economic communities provide the building blocs for the establishment of the free trade area. Leaders of COMESA-EAC and SADC today [Wednesday] launched the Tripartite Free Trade Area in El Sheikh, Egypt. This is a very important step, not only for continental free trade process, but [for] intercontinental integration in general,” said Fatima Haram Acyl, trade and industry commissioner at AU…. ”The European Union’s 28 countries did not wake up one day and come together as we see it today. It took them years to get where they are,” she said.
ARAB LEAGUE & ISRAEL:
Op-Ed: Time for a regional solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
St. Louis Jewish Light, June 8, 2015 – We should turn to the Arab League — of which the PLO, the umbrella organization of the Palestinian national movement, is a part — to create a regional summit under the auspices of the Americans in which we can conduct regional dialogue leading to an agreement. For that to happen we need to give up — because there is no choice — on the idea of bilateral talks. It isn’t easy to accept the fact that the Israelis and the Palestinians cannot just sit together and find a solution, but the past 20 years have taught us that this isn’t going to happen.
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week…” (Daniel 9:27 KJV)
Will Former Soviet Republics Adopt A Single Currency?
Nasdaq, June 8, 2015 – On May 29, at a summit in Kazakhstan, Russian Prime Minister and former President Dmitry Medvedev announced that the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) would “consider the possibility and conditions of launching a monetary union in the long term.” …. Russia’s partners in the newly formed EEU are nervous about Putin’s ambitions and, at least when it comes to their domestic audiences, wish to be seen opposing the single currency. On the other hand, Russia has extensive leverage over these governments, whose economies are tied to Russian gas and remittances sent by migrants working in Russian cities.
Putin Honors Nazarbaev For Eurasian-Integration Efforts
Big News Network, June 8, 2015 – Russian President Vladimir Putin has awarded Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev a state honor for his contribution “in bilateral efforts to advance Eurasian integration processes.” …. Nazarbaev first proposed the idea of a “Eurasian Union of States” during a speech in Moscow in March 1994. The following year, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia signed a customs-union treaty that became the foundation of the Eurasian Economic Union.
Lavrov hopes EEU will get observer’s status at the UN General Assembly – Public Radio of Armenia, June 8, 2015 – Russia hopes the UN General Assmebly will give an observe’s status to the Eurasian Economic Union at the 70th session, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after a meeting with his Belarussian counterpart Sergey Lavrov…. Organizations such as CIS, SCTO, the Arab League, the European Union hold a similar status at the UN.
AFRICAN UNION – EAC, SADC, COMESA:
Africa moves towards common market
EurActiv, June 8, 2015 – The deal between the East African Community (EAC), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) would create a 26-country market with a population of 625 million and gross domestic product worth more than $1 trillion (900 billion euros)…. “The launching of the TFTA is the first phase of implementing a developmental regional integration strategy that places high priority on infrastructure development, industrialisation and free movement of business persons.”
ARAB LEAGUE & ISRAEL:
Saudi Rep. Says Ties With Israel Only if Arab League Initiative is Accepted
JP Updates, June 7, 2015 – An old Arab proverb states, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” which might help explain the unlikely meeting in Washington on Thursday, when the incoming director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Dore Gold, shook hands with Anwar Eshki, a retired Saudi general who is a former top adviser to the Saudi government. They were in there to addresses Council on Foreign Relations think tank. They both espoused Israeli-Saudi peace and identified Iran as the chief threat to regional stability.
Scotland could stop UK leaving European Union
The National (Scotland), June 5, 2015 – “Indeed, these new Scottish powers may mean that [Prime Minister David] Cameron is able to negotiate restrictions on migrant access to benefits only in parts of the UK outside Scotland, as the UK Government is unable to legislate on Scottish matters. This links with a broader issue of whether the UK Government would actually be able to negotiate an exit from the EU, as this would directly affect Scotland’s competences as set out in the Scotland Act, which requires the UK to gain Scottish consent.”
Call for China’s inclusion in SAARC
The Island (Sri Lanka), June 4, 2015 – The SAARC comprises India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Maldives and Bhutan. Ambassador Amin said that China had the strength to change the destiny of South Asia. “Therefore, in order to get benefits of globalization and to achieve the objectives of SAARC, South Asian countries need to grant China full membership of SAARC.
Asean is the next global factory
The Star (Malaysia), June 4, 2015 – The Asean Economic Community, which is likely to come to fruition by end of the year, would see the emergence of a single market with free movement of goods, services, investments and skilled labour. The economic zone, the report said, would connect the low-cost labour in Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, cost-effective businesses in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, and sophisticated manufacturers in Singapore and Malaysia.
ARAB LEAGUE & ISRAEL:
Back to the Arab Peace Initiative?
i24News (Israel), June 1, 2015 – An announcement by Netanyahu that he is willing to sit down any where, any time, with representatives of the Arab League, including the Palestinians, might change the state of affairs and turn a new page in the relationship with the Arab states, especially in light of our new common interest – the fight against the Islamic State and the need to restrain Iran.
AFRICAN UNION – EAC:
Americans join EAC on health
East African Business Week, June 1, 2015 – The East African Community (EAC) in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have launched a 5-year project on EAC Cross-Border Health Integrated Partnership.
EAC SG Dr. Richard Sezibera and USAID Kenya and East Africa Mission Director Karen Freeman launched the project here last week at the EAC Secretariat, which is designed to extend integrated health services in strategic border areas and other transport corridor sites in East African region.
“As populations increasingly move across the EAC region borders, they become vulnerable to infections disease, such as HIV and tuberculosis; yet , they might not have easy access to health services. This population movement can spread disease along the transport corridors, especially in cross-border communities, where health services and community structures are often weak”, stressed Ms. Karen in her speech.
U.S. foreign aid is pushing regional healthcare in the East African Community, and, if the globalists have their way, it will be coming soon to North America.
Reflections on Framework for Pacific Regionalism
Solomon Times Online, June 1, 2015 – Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, sent a strong message to Pacific leaders about the importance of taking ownership of the new Framework for Pacific Regionalism, at a seminar held at Victoria University of Wellington last week. “The courage of a leader is to take it from a piece of paper and put it into action,” she said.