Brief Rup: Postcard from Katowice

Agreement at the climate conference; the boom in the financial instruments of cohesion policy; exemptions of the "octroi de mer" in the French outermost regions

Good Morning!

The agreement this Saturday in Katowice wants to be the instruction manual of the Paris agreement. In 2016, the world adopted the strategy of limiting global warming to between 1.5 and 2 degrees by the end of this century, compared to the temperature at the beginning of the industrial age. Katowice lands the vision of Paris in a technique to check progress and be accountable. Not only visions live the climate policy. The boring but indispensable book of weights and measures accepted by all is required.

For the outermost regions of the European Union, an agreement in this COP24 was of the greatest interest. They are at the forefront of the impact of climate change, especially its island territories. His vulnerability was already evident with the passage of Hurricane Irma by Saint-Martin in 2017.

Katowice’s ambition may fall short, especially since the rup. Brazil may have gotten away with blocking a reform of the CO2 emissions trading system, of which it is the main beneficiary. And maybe Saudi Arabia and the other oil producing countries, along with China and the United States, keep trying to torpedo the strategy.

Even so, the slow multilateralism of Katowice will always be better than burying the Paris agreement before it has been born.


The CAP after 2020. The Council of Agriculture and Fisheries passes to clean this Monday the progress of the negotiation on the future Common Agricultural Policy under the turn of the Austrian Presidency.

Combat racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism. Brussels receives a high-level EU-Israel seminar. Nine out of ten Jews in Europe perceive that anti-Semitism is increasing, according to the Commission’s survey published a week ago.


Boom of soft loans. The use of financial instruments of the cohesion policy to support SME projects, energy transition and innovation broke a record in 2017, with 18,800 million invested. Only Madeira, Azores and Guadeloupe have used these resources among the outermost regions.

Changes in the «octroi de mer». The European Commission proposes a list of 84 new exempt or reduced local products in Guyana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion, Mayotte and Saint-Martin.

The uncomfortable silence of Macron. In the overseas territories, it has been wrong for the president not to mention his specific demands among the measures to appease the «yellow vests». The Reunion and Martinique have had their own replicas of the protest movement.

Unhurried for 2021-2027. Last Friday’s European Council marked the autumn of 2019 as an indicative period to reach agreement on the next EU financial framework. The calm of France and of the states «friends of austerity» has prevailed, against the haste of Spain and the «friends of cohesion».

Two-speed migration policy. A double rhythm for the comprehensive strategy on migration also emerged from the European Council on Friday. Green light for the reinforcement of the European Coast Guard, now pending that the Parliament and the Council agree on the details. They follow on the table, ad calendas graecas, the two most bitter debates of the strategy: the Return Directive and the new asylum system.

Take it or leave it. The Brexit agreement is like lentils, «the EU27 leaders told Theresa May at the European Council on Thursday. There will be no renegotiation of the temporary barrier between the two Irlandas.

There’s life in 10 Downing Street … But it’s not an easy life. Theresa May overcomes the Tories confidence motion, but the Brexit agreement still does not have the majority able to ratify it in Parliament in January. She will not stand for re-election in 2022.

The sun rising market. The EU-Japan trade agreement approved by the European Parliament is the largest in the history of the Union. It cancels 1,000 million euros in tariffs for European exports and creates an open market of 635 million people -equivalent to one third of world GDP. It includes a strategic partnership agreement against the reappearance of protectionism and populism in the world. 85% of agricultural production in the EU will have free access to the Japanese market.


The use of the financial instruments of the Structural and Investment Funds reached a record level in 2017, according to the data provided by the European Commission. This chart shows the funds committed to projects in outermost regions, since 2014.


«Should we take them seriously? Yes, because they live in an apocalyptic bubble of social networks, establishment conspiracies, false news and camaraderie on the road. The reflective vest has become a uniform of pride and a symbol of the sudden visibility of the invisible. A hard core of the yellow vests could disrupt France for a long time. »

John Lichfield, «Why are France’s Yellow Jackets so angry?», Politico, December 14, 2018.

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Today’s Brief Rup has been written by Alicia R. Mederos and V. Rodríguez Gago.

See you soon!

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