Global Review – 13th November

Malta among countries “disappointed by relocation” of migrants

As the migrant issue continues to create tensions in Europe, Italy, Malta, Cyprus and Greece – the countries of first entry into Europe in the Mediterranean – defined the failure to respect relocation agreements as “regrettable and disappointing”. In a joint statement, the four said, “Unfortunately, the number of relocation commitments undertaken by participating Member States represents only a very small fraction of the actual number of irregular arrivals,” adding that the mechanism had proved “slow” in easing the pressure on “front-line” countries.

The four Med countries called on NGOs to “respect” the “international legal framework on search and rescue operations”. “Each State – reads the joint note – must effectively exercise jurisdiction and control over the ships flying its own flag”. Furthermore, the four countries consider “urgent and necessary” a discussion on the coordination of NGOs in compliance with international conventions: All flag states assume their responsibilities in accordance with their international obligations,” concludes the note, inviting the EU to take steps to start the discussion.

Meanwhile, Brussels announced how the migrant dossier is a priority for the EU, which, after the clash between Italy and France on relocation, is working on an ad hoc summit, with the idea to bring together European interior ministers and not just technicians. The meeting could take place in the last days of November and will have to be convened by the Czech presidency of the European Council. The official decision is expected to arrive next week.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Spanish Interior Ministry has told Ansa Madrid “cannot support proposals that would premiere countries that do not respect their obligations in terms of international maritime law and that would be at the expense of those who, like Spain, respect their international obligations and save lives with public resources”. He said Spain “shares with its Mediterranean partners the need to establish a mechanism for an equitable distribution of responsibilities between EU countries in matters of migration, and has always defended it both within the Med5 and in the Councils of Interior Ministers”.

UK-France deal to stop migrants

The UK and France are on the verge of striking a deal to tackle migration across the English Channel, with an agreement possibly coming as early as Monday, British newspapers reported on Sunday. The agreement will significantly increase the number of French officers and volunteers who operate on the Channel’s beaches, while France will aim to prevent a “much higher” proportion of migrants from leaving its shores, according to ‘The Sunday Telegraph’. Almost 40,000 people have crossed the Channel in small boats so far in 2022, research by the BBC reveals. In 2020, this figure was 8,404. More than half of these people are from Albania (18%), Afghanistan (18%) and Iran (15%).

‘We have not yet used the entire arsenal’ – Medvedev

“Moscow will continue to take back the Russian territories and for obvious reasons it has not yet used all its arsenal of possible weapons of destruction” in Ukraine. “This is not only for our human kindness”, but “everything has its time”. The former Russian president Dmitri Medvedev writes in a post on Telegram. Alluding to the withdrawal of Russia from Kherson, he said, “We remember that we are trying to save as much as possible the lives of our military and civilians while our enemies do not. And here lies our great moral difference with them”.

Ukrainian liberation continues’ – Kiev

Speaking at the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Cambodia, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba declared that the “war continues, the struggle for the country’s liberation will go on. We are winning battles on the ground. But the war continues,” he told reporters in Phnom Penh. Kuleba said he understands that “everyone wants this war to end as soon as possible. We are certainly the ones who want it more than anyone else. But as long as we see Russia mobilize more conscripts and bring more weapons to Ukraine, of course we will continue.”

American diesel reserves are running out

Concerns have been expressed in the diesel market as a perfect storm is brewing which could lead consumers to spend even more this winter as the problem gets worse. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that inventories of diesel, jet fuel, and heating oil had reached their lowest levels since 2008. Some believe the Russian invasion of Ukraine pushed American diesel reserves to all-time lows. Prior to the invasion, the United States imported roughly 700,000 barrels of petroleum and petroleum products from Russia a day, most of which were finished products used to bolster American fuel reserves. After the invasion, Russian oil imports stopped entirely and the reduction of 700,000 barrels a day represented a significant loss that couldn’t be filled by American production.  Since 2020, several east coast refineries have closed due to low production demand, and these many others have been forced to undergo routine maintenance. While the demand for gas decreased during the pandemic, the demand for diesel never stopped. Trucks still needed to deliver their goods and production was shifted from gas to diesel.  Everything came to a head when demand for gas picked up after the end of the pandemic, just as Russia was sanctioned. Since then, American refineries haven’t been unable to fill the gap in production. According to the EIA, East Coast refineries operated at 100% capacity in June and July, and they have continued to produce at capacity since the summer. The situation is unlikely to return to normal before the end of next summer.

Power cuts across UK as Britain battles the cost of energy crisis

The UK government has outlined plans for Britain to go ‘lights out’ this winter. This came about after the National Grid warned there may be blackouts due to the ongoing energy crisis. The National Grid’s chief executive has warned winter blackouts could be imposed on British households during very cold days between 4pm and 7pm. Winter blackouts could happen if gas shortages and cold weather leave the UK without enough power.

Democrats clinch Nevada, US Senate

Democrats have clinched control of the US Senate: Catherine Cortez Masto, one of the Democrats’ most vulnerable incumbents, has fended off a challenge from conservative Adam Laxalt and guaranteed her party at least 50 seats in the Senate. With the tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris, the chamber is now certain to remain in Democratic hands. But a runoff election in Georgia could still expand the Democrats’ majority if Raphael Warnock triumphs over Herschel Walker. The heavy defeat of the Grand old party in Nevada is added to those in Arizona and Pennsylvania, and feeds the controversy within the party that appears increasingly split. With reference to Donald Trump, Conservative Senator Josh Hawley tweeted after the outcome of the Nevada vote: “He’s dead. It’s time to bury him and build something new.” Trump is considered by many responsible for the Republican debacle. According to rumours, he is engaged in a whirlwind of phone calls to blame the defeat on his enemy Mitch McConnell.

‘The Terminal’ refugee dies at Paris airport

Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian political refugee who has lived for more than 18 years at the Parisian airport of Roissy-Charles de Gaulle and inspired the director Steven Spielberg for his film ‘The Terminal’, died Saturday in the airport where he had spent years of his life. Nasseri, 76, died of natural causes in Terminal 2F. He spent all the money he collected from the film (staring Tm Hanks) in search of his mother in London, Berlin and Amsterdam. Each time he had been expelled by the authorities of various countries as he was not in possession of regular documents. In 1999, he had obtained refugee status in France and a residence permit. After the film, Nasseri moved to a shelter in Paris.

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