As spring seems to be officially among us, this week’s Monday Briefing, as usual, takes us around the world. From European dependence on Russian gas to the French election, from the US Supreme Court to the Pakistani Prime Minister’s ousting, the tour is complete. Find everything in this week’s edition of the #MondayBriefing
Last week, Lithuania became the first EU member to break its energy dependence on Russia. It is a quite historic result, considering that in 2015, nearly all of Lithuania’s gas supplies derived from imports of Russian gas. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda urged other European nations to do the same, but it is not so simple.
The European Union receives about 40% of its natural gas from Russian pipelines. A quarter of that flows through Ukraine, a stream that has not stopped when the war broke out. Germany alone gets roughly half of its natural gas from Russia, while Italy gets about 43%, according to Eurostat. We have been aware of the problematic nature of such dependence on Russian gas for years now, but it seems like not a lot has been done at an institutional level to change the situation. The North Stream 2, which was supposed to increase the flow of Russian gas in Europe by directly connecting Russia with Germany, is an example of that.
This week, though, some apparent developments have occurred. Firstly, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said that Germany will stop importing Russian gas ‘very soon’, although seemingly not before 2024. Secondly, Italy is reportedly strengthening its energy ties with Algeria, in a new pact that should be unveiled this week during Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s trip to the North African country, which should make Algeria the first supplier of natural gas to Italy by the end of 2022.
The system of economic interdependency that the global order is constructed upon can be very useful, but it is in situations like this that we are reminded of all the complications that can arise. Our instinct would in fact be to cut off economic ties with Russia in response to the invasion, but, as it stands, the European Union cannot do it quickly without hurting its member states’ economy almost irreparably.
Around the World
Macron and Le Pen qualified for the second round of the French presidential election. French President Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen qualified for the second round of the French presidential election. While polling suggests Macron should win, the margin appears to be smaller than in the 2017 election, when he also faced Le Pen. Allies in the European Union and NATO will be watching closely, as a victory of the Eurosceptic Le Pen could deal a blow to NATO’s anti-Russian efforts and to the process of European integration.
A new IPCC report says the window to meet UN climate targets is vanishing. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released the final part of its assessment report, detailed within are the actions that must be undertaken in order to limit at 1.5°C the average global temperature rise, as set by the Paris agreement. The findings outline it will be necessary to drop the worldwide use of coal to 95%, oil to 60%, and gas to 45% by 2050, whereas emissions of greenhouse gasses must peak by 2025.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić claims election victory to secure second term. Populist pro-Kremlin Serbian incumbent Aleksandar Vucic won a landslide victory in last Sunday’s general election. However, Vucic will need to form a coalition that is balanced enough for the country’s ambition of joining the EU to coexist with the traditional Russian influence on the country.
NATO states agree to supply heavy weapons to Ukraine. In an effort to prepare Ukraine for Russia’s fresh offence in the eastern Donbas region, NATO members have agreed to pledge more advanced weaponry systems. Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba has underlined the cost in lives that receiving this aid too late could entail.
Elon Musk becomes Twitter’s biggest shareholder. Just a week after hinting at the idea of building a new social media company, Elon Musk has reportedly taken a 9.2% stake of Twitter, becoming its biggest shareholder.
Tigray has been the scene of ‘ethnic cleansing’, say human rights groups. According to a report that was put together by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the activities that were carried out by Ethiopian paramilitaries in the Tigray region over the last 2 years are to be classified as “war crimes”, “crimes against humanity” and “ethnic cleansing”.
‘The revolution is here’: Chris Smalls’ union win sparks a movement at other Amazon warehouses. After last week’s groundbreaking win established Amazon’s first union in Staten Island (NY) regardless of Amazon’s multimillion dollar campaign to hinder the unionization effort, more than 50 Amazon warehouses have expressed interest in forming their own unions; already a second warehouse is set to vote on the 25th of April.
San Marino appoints world’s first openly gay head of state. San Marino, the world’s oldest republic, located in the center of Italy, was the first country in the world to appoint an openly gay head of State, 58-year-old Paolo Rondelli.
US Senate poised to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to Supreme Court. The US Senate has confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson to a seat on the Supreme Court, making her the first black female justice to join America’s highest court in a big win for President Joe Biden, who championed her nomination.
Yemeni Leader Hands Power to New Body as His Saudi Backers Seek to End War. Yemen’s President Hadi, exiled since 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels occupied the country’s capital, has transferred his powers to a presidential leadership council. The council, strongly backed by Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf allies opposing the Houthi rebels in the conflict, aims to take advantage of the ongoing two-month ceasefire and begin UN-led negotiations to find a definite settlement.
Lockdowns in China Block Truck Shipments and Close Factories. China’s strict testing and quarantine requirements on truck drivers are delaying the transit of cargo and materials to ports and factories. Lengthy COVID lockdowns in Shanghai and nearby cities are resulting in the temporary shutdown of the region’s key manufacturing of electronic components, posing a new disruption to the global supply chain.
China is accelerating its nuclear buildup over rising fears of U.S. conflict. China has accelerated an expansion of its nuclear arsenal as a deterrent against potential U.S. interventions against the country, analysts report. The Chinese leadership is allegedly concerned with the hawkish turn in Washington dating back to the beginning of the Trump presidency and decided to update their nuclear capabilities to ensure they present an effective deterrent.
Pakistan Parliament Ousts Imran Khan as Prime Minister. On Thursday, Pakistan’s Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional Mr. Khan’s previous move to avoid the no-confidence vote by dissolving parliament. The vote has gone ahead on Saturday, despite lawmakers in Khan’s political coalition leaving their places in protest and various attempts to delay the proceedings, a majority rule to oust Khan as PM has been reached. An interim PM will be appointed until the country’s next general election is held.
Stefano Cucchi, due carabinieri condannati a 12 anni. La Cassazione ha ridotto la pena per l’omicidio preterintenzionale di Stefano Cucchi da 13 a 12 anni nei confronti dei due carabinieri. Inoltre, un nuovo processo sarà volto a giudicare le accuse di falso nell’ambito del medesimo omicidio. Dice Laura Calore, madre di Cucchi: “Finalmente è arrivata giustizia dopo tanti anni almeno nei confronti di chi ha picchiato Stefano causandone la morte.”
Nei musei civici di Milano torna la domenica gratuita: così la cultura prova a ripartire. Domenica 8 maggio si potrà accedere agli 11 musei civici milanesi senza pagare il biglietto. Riprende così il consueto appuntamento mensile che prevede l’ingresso gratuito ai musei ogni prima domenica del mese e che era stato interrotto a causa del Covid. Si tratta di un ulteriore passo verso il ritorno alla normalità, dopo che dall’inizio di aprile non sono più necessari né Green Pass né ingressi contingentati.
Draghi: espulsione diplomatici russi coordinata a livello Ue. Mario Draghi al Consiglio dei Ministri ha parlato dell’espulsione dei 30 diplomatici russi a livello UE per motivi di sicurezza, definendo l’azione all’interno di un movimento coordinato a livello europeo e spiegando che “L’Europa agisce ormai in maniera molto unita su tutti i fronti”.
Le migliori università in Italia: la nuova classifica per materie. Il QS World Ranking include 56 università italiane, per un totale di 507 piazzamenti all’interno delle diverse classifiche per materia. La Bocconi è entrata nella top 10 a livello mondiale ed è quarta in Europa, mentre la Statale di Milano risulta prima in Italia per medicina, veterinaria e farmacia. La Sapienza è prima per gli studi classici in Italia e in generale ha rafforzato la sua posizione anche a livello mondiale. La Luiss è entrata nella top 100 a livello globale.
Delega fiscale, Salvini alza il tiro: “Non la votiamo, le tasse aumenteranno”. Letta: “Balla gigantesca, gli unici aumenti li causa Putin”. Tra pochi gironi si dovrà trovare un’intesa tra i partiti sul fisco. Lega e centrodestra, a detta di Matteo Salvini, “non possono votare un documento dove c’è scritto che potranno aumentare”, dice, riferendosi a quanto detto più volte da Draghi in merito al non voler aumentare le tasse. Per quanto riguarda la riforma sugli affitti, il Tesoro ha gia dichiarato che da essa “non deve derivare un incremento della pressione tributaria rispetto a quella derivante dall’applicazione della legislazione vigente”.
- Bocconi University is in the global top 10 of best universities for social sciences and management, ranking 4th in Europe and confirming its top 5 status in all its main areas of competence.
In Case You Missed it:
Prerit Gupta wrote about his visit to the National Museum of Science and Technology.
New writer Tommaso Gariazzo presented the April 7th‘s event “A deep dive into fleet management”, organized by the Shipping, Energy & Geopolitics student association.
Stefanos S. Pappas provided an extremely unique perspective on clubbing, relying on behavioral economics to help the reader understand his compelling point of view on the matter.
La nuova membra Chiara Binello ha scritto della carenza di educazione sessuale, dalle malattie veneree all’utilizzo del preservativo, che vige oggi tra noi giovani e non solo.
L’associazione studentesca Keiron ha scritto del concetto di perdono giudiziale, spiegandone l’origine e l’applicabilità.
Pierfrancesco Urbano ha scritto dell’esodo degli artisti e intellettuali russi che è scaturito dalla guerra in Ucraina.