This week, Euan Walker and Rune Mahiee discuss the new EU-UK agreement on the Northern Irish border, Europe's military dependence on NATO and Ursula von der Leyen's Green Deal Industrial Plan.
Continuing with the New Year's discussions, there have been new developments in the UK's relationship with the EU...
Absolutely, after several years of tumultuous disagreements, this year has begun with unexpected attempts at cooperation between the UK and the EU. A new agreement was reached on Wednesday the 9th of January which allows the EU to gain further insight into the products flowing across the UK's border in Northern Ireland.
And what does the implementation of this new agreement mean?
This technical clearance should help to establish a system that will allow goods to cross the Ulster border without having to go through controls while keeping the EU informed of their flows. Beyond the logistical benefits of this agreement, this development signals an interesting shift on the part of Rishi Sunak's government, a sort of move away from a non-cooperative approach to EU affairs, as was the case under Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.
Concerning geopolitics, the EU and NATO have announced their upcoming plans for cooperation...
Indeed, the EU and NATO committed on Tuesday the 10th January to provide Ukrainians with all the military means necessary to defend their territory - discussions are currently underway on the types of weapons that can be provided.
Does this announcement mean that the EU will continue to depend entirely on NATO for its defence?
Well, it is clear that since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, coordination between the EU and NATO has reached an unprecedented level. But this does not prevent us from redoubling our efforts to strengthen Europe's strategic autonomy: several joint strategies for the acquisition and deployment of equipment by the European Defence Agency and the EU Military Staff will soon be proof of this. Rather than considering cooperation with NATO and Europe's strategic autonomy as mutually exclusive, it seems that both phenomena are developing, simultaneously, albeit at different rates.
Finally, on the subject of European strategy, new imperatives for the European Green Deal have recently been revealed...
Yes, announced by Ursula von der Leyen on the 17th of January at the World Economic Forum in Davos, a new Green Deal Industrial Plan will soon be put in place.
What will be the consequences of this new project?
So, this initiative aims to make it easier for member states to subsidise renewable energy technologies while putting in place tax breaks for companies in strategic sectors that risk diverting investment away from Europe. As such, it hopes to act as a response to Joe Biden's Inflation Reduction Act, which offers large subsidies to US sectors that are expected to play a key role in the green transition. In doing so, with EU support, this new initiative should prevent the loss of skilled personnel to the US. Ultimately, this should ensure the protection of European industry all the while encouraging the rapid deployment of technologies to ensure Europe's carbon neutrality by 2050.
Thanks, see you next week!
Thank you, see you next week!
Entretien réalisé par Rune Mahiee.