Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for February 8, 2023

Newsline: EU diplomat says leaders to debate green industry on Thursday

European Union leaders will debate on Thursday proposals to enable the bloc to compete with the United States in clean-tech production and reduce dependence on China, with the aim of settling differences such as those over subsidies by March. “European industries face pressure to install themselves in the United States so we need an urgent message on clean tech: the EU doesn’t just have advantages that don’t exist anywhere else but also act with this plan,” an EU diplomat said. The diplomat said that it looks like relaxation of state aid rules would take place, but hedged with conditions such as that it should only be temporary and should be proportionate. (https://neuters.de/business/sustainable-business/eu-leaders-debate-green-industry-plan-with-eye-march-deal-2023-02-08/) The European Commission has proposed loosening rules on state aid for investments in renewable energy or decarbonising industry and faster approvals of green projects. France and Germany have led the push for looser state aid rules, but some EU states argue they will not be able to match the subsidies of the EU’s two largest economies, unsettling the EU internal market. Countries such as the Netherlands, the Nordics, the Czech Republic and Ireland have expressed concern in letters to the EU executive about the risk of excessive non-targeted subsidies and say work to improve the EU single market would be more effective. EU leaders will reconvene in Brussels in late March, by when the European Commission should have proposed its Net-Zero Industry Act to speed up project or site approvals and the Critical Raw Materials Act, designed to boost processing and recycling in Europe and reduce reliance on China.

Newsline: Tunisian foreign minister dismissed

Tunisian President Kais Saied dismissed Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi, replacing him with the former ambassador to the European Union and Belgium Nabil Ammar. A statement from the presidency’s office announcing the change did not give any reason for Jerandi’s dismissal or Ammar’s appointment. (https://neuters.de/world/africa/tunisian-president-dismisses-foreign-affairs-minister-2023-02-07/) Jerandi tweeted on Tuesday that he had phoned his Syrian counterpart after Saied had tasked him with directing aid to Syria and Turkey in response to the earthquakes there. Jerandi was appointed foreign minister in 2020 and had previously served in the role from 2013-14.

Newsline: U.S. top diplomat briefed 40 nations on China balloon

The United States held briefings in Washington and Beijing with foreign diplomats from 40 nations about the Chinese spy balloon that entered U.S. airspace in late January, a senior administration official and diplomats said on Tuesday. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman briefed nearly 150 foreign diplomats across 40 embassies on Monday, the official said, while in Beijing the U.S. embassy gathered foreign diplomats on Monday and Tuesday to present U.S. findings about the balloon. “We want to make sure that we are sharing as much as we can with countries around the world who may also be susceptible to these types of operations,” the senior administration official said. (https://neuters.de/world/us-briefed-40-nations-china-spy-balloon-incident-diplomats-official-say-2023-02-08/) Sherman’s briefing was first reported by the Washington Post, which also quoted U.S. officials saying the spy balloon was linked to an extensive military surveillance effort centred on China’s Hainan Island in the South China Sea.