SHIFTING THE FLOW
EU leaders meet in Paris to discuss migration
At French President Emmanuel Macron’s invitation, the leaders of Germany, Italy, Spain, Niger, Chad and Libya convene in Paris today.
Finding a solution to Europe’s migrant woes will top the agenda. With warring factions in Libya unlikely to lay down their arms anytime soon, the EU will likely work to entice the governments of both Niger and Chad—both of which border Libya—to prevent migrants from reaching the North African country, which they then use as a waystation into Italy.
Yet, Italy has seen a drop in migrants, with over 10,000 fewer arriving in July—usually a peak month—than June. Interior Minister Marco Minniti said he is at last “beginning to see the light at [the tunnel’s] end”. No doubt the ruling Democratic Party hopes so ahead of next year’s general election.
Expect the EU to try keeping migrant figures down. According to estimates, more would-be migrants already die attempting to cross the Sahara than the Mediterranean. So, while the migrants come by sea, their flow may be staunched by land.
BLACK BELT DIPLOMACY
Russian president meets with key ally in Hungary
Vladimir Putin will attend today’s opening ceremonies of the World Judo Championships in Budapest. While the black belt president enjoys the festivities he will also hold talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
This marks Putin’s second visit to Hungary this year. In February, he met Mr Orban to discuss Paks II, a plan to build two nuclear plants in the country, which Russia will finance with $11.2 billion.
In his support for “illiberal” democracy and right-wing nationalism, Orban is a natural ideological ally of the Russian president. Putin can sympathise with the PM’s antipathy towards Brussels—in July, the European Commission launched an infringement procedure against Hungary for targeting foreign-funded NGOs. Yet, Budapest, dependent on EU funds, declined to veto anti-Kremlin sanctions’ renewal earlier this year.
Bashing Brussels is a win-win for Orban, lifting him into Putin’s good graces and firing up his supporters ahead of next year’s general elections. But, as allowing continued sanctions shows, Orban’s bark is bigger than his bite. Unlike Mr Putin’s beloved Judo, Hungarian diplomacy is not a simple one-on-one match.
Brexit negotiations resume, Kenya hosts trade conference
The EU and the UK are set to start another round of Brexit negotiations. Brussels will likely push London to make a proposal on settling the divorce bill which the EU puts at about $70 billion.
A regional dialogue conference on the World Trade Organization will begin in Nairobi, Kenya today. The list of attendees includes the Comoros, Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan—all of which are on track to join the WTO.