The European Union has thrown its weight behind Former Minister of Finance of Nigeria Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, in her bid to become President of the World Trade Organisation.
Germany has taken over the EU rotating presidency for the next 6 months. This comes at a time when there is widespread feeling that the US is stepping away from global leadership.
Analysts point to the US withdrawal from ‘compulsory commitment’ to international treaties and norms under President Donald Trump-who sees the United States as its own continent. The global Covid-19 pandemic is also an existential issue at this point.
It is in this backdrop that Shada Islam, a Brussels-based commentator on EU affairs and CEO of New Horizons project, a strategy, analysis and advisory company has called on Germany to take up leadership in all the areas the US is stepping away from.
She also provides a strategic plan of action. In it she lists 4 points of action which she argues will give Germany new leadership-in EU and the world.
For instance she said;
Third, Europe must re-imagine its outdated relationship with Africa, learn from past mistakes and finally give up old-fashioned Eurocentric and paternalistic views of Africa as a junior partner needing Europe’s guidance.
New EU efforts to build “a partnership of equals” with African states will fall flat unless backed up by investment, support for the African Continental Free Trade Area and stronger ties between European and African local and regional authorities, business leaders, civil society, female groups, young professionals and students.
Populism in the EU is thriving at present. All over Europe, populist parties are emerging as political powerhouses. For instance the populist coalition that rules Italy. In Hungary, Victor Orban rules the roost.
But German Chancellor, Angela Merkel…
A passage I read from an article in the Wall Street Journal reminds me of the old Erdogan. I am talking of the Erdogan that had zero problems with the European Union.
Then, the most important goal of Turkey seemed to be to join the EU:
At the start of his national political career, Mr. Erdogan cut a more accommodating figure. When he became prime minister in 2003, Turkey was two years into a bailout plan run by the International Monetary Fund, receiving billions of dollars of loans in exchange for implementing the fund’s recipe of fiscal and budget rigor.
Carrying out the remaining IMF measures, Turkey reaped the benefits with lower inflation and a jump in exports, becoming a darling of emerging-market investors. Europeans greeted Mr. Erdogan as a strategic partner and, in December 2004, the European Union formally granted Turkey the right to begin accession talks, kicking off large aid and investment programs.
At a conference around that time at the European Parliament, Franco-German lawmaker Daniel Cohn-Bendit walked up to the Turkish leader, video of the meeting shows. “Mr. Erdogan, I have a present for you,” the lawmaker said, handing him a coin. “The first euro in Turkish.”
With the flow of money, Turkey became a construction site, as Mr. Erdogan, who had developed a penchant for infrastructure projects when he was Istanbul’s mayor in the 1990s, launched train, highway and bridge projects. Istanbul’s skyline, which counted 19 high-rises when he became prime minister, now has 98, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a Chicago-based nonprofit.
In 2007, his honeymoon with the EU took a hit. Several European leaders, such as then-President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, publicly said they would veto Turkey’s membership to the bloc.
In 2008, the IMF assistance program expired. Mr. Erdogan minimized the fund’s role, instead crediting his own stewardship for Turkey’s economic miracle and vowing to follow his own course.
Today, Turkey is threatening to flood the EU with refugees amid bitter back and forths. Today, Turkey, a NATO member, feels more comfy buying missile defence systems from Russia than from NATO countries. Is Turkey still a Western-oriented country?
No. Turkey, like Russia, can’t be a FULL European country. Turkey’s place is as a Eurasian giant. That’s Turkey’s true self.
“We should say, ‘we’ve got to have life after this, so we’re creating that life. We are creating trade agreements which are in breach of everything, because we won’t be in breach by the time you come to take us to court’. That’s how Elizabeth I would have been leading with this.”
This is beginning to look like a civilized civil war. Theresa May feels she has all it takes to be Britain’s George Washington, but Mr Odey thinks Mr Gove would be a better George Washington.
As Donald Trump would say, “Let’s see how it goes.”