French parliament rejects referendum on pension reform
In France, the National Assembly rejected two proposals, including the request for a referendum on the controversial pension reform.
In France, the draft law on the government’s pension reform is being discussed in the General Assembly of the National Assembly.
In the session, the proposal submitted by the ultra-leftist France Unsubmissive (LFI) party to reject the bill completely was rejected with 292 “no” votes to 243 “yes” votes.
On the other hand, the proposal regarding the right-wing National Unity (RN) party’s request for a referendum on the pension reform bill was rejected with 272 “no” against 101.
Controversial Pension Reform
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced that in the country where the retirement age is 62, the legal retirement age will be gradually increased by 3 months every year, starting from September 1, to 64 in 2030, and that in 2027 there will be a 43-year premium payment requirement in order to receive the full pension.
Employees in many sectors went on strike at the call of the unions against the reform, and protests were organized across the country.
Macron booed by pension reform opponents
During his visit to the village of Savines-le-Lac, in the Hautes-Alpes province, French President Macron was booed by those protesting the pension reform.
Visiting the village of Savines-le-Lac, French President Emmanuel Macron was booed by the anti-reform demonstrators gathered in the village while he was making a statement to the press.
Noting that French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne will meet with the unions on Wednesday, Macron said, “The dialogue continues. There is societal objection to this reform, but that doesn’t mean everything has to stop. We continue to work,” he said.
Regarding the demonstrations against the pension reform in the country, Macron said, “There have been scenes of unacceptable violence in recent weeks, I strongly condemn this.”
Macron expressed his support for French politicians, such as mayors and deputies, who were attacked for their attitudes towards reform.
Regarding the protest organized by environmentalists against the artificial water basins project on March 25 in the village of Saint-Soline in the country, where many people were injured by the harsh intervention of the police, Macron said, “Thousands of people came just to fight. This is unacceptable,” he said. Macron urged the elected to be responsible.
SHOW BAN HAS ARRIVED
According to the French press, the Hautes-Alpes Governorate imposed a ban on demonstrations in the village of Savines-le-Lac between 8.00-18.00. On the other hand, two of the demonstrators gathered in the village against the pension reform were detained before Macron’s visit began.
Thousands of environmentalists held a demonstration in the village of Saint-Soline in the country’s Deux-Sevres province on March 25 to protest the construction of 16 artificial watersheds in the region. Official sources stated that 28 gendarmes and 7 demonstrators were injured in the clashes between the parties in the demonstrations where the police and gendarmerie intervened harshly.
Organizers, on the other hand, stated that about 200 demonstrators were injured. The 2 injured demonstrators are still in a coma.
EU population will decline and age by 2100
According to the European Statistical Office, the EU population, which is expected to be 453 million in 2026, will begin to decline from the 2040s.
It is stated that the total population of the countries that make up the European Union (EU) will decrease by 27.3 million, with a decrease of 6 percent by 2100, and the elderly population will increase.
In the statement of the European Statistics Office (Eurostat), it was reported that the EU population, which decreased in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 epidemic, started to increase again in 2022, and the population will reach 451 million in 2023, with the Ukrainians coming to European countries due to the war in Ukraine.
The population, which is expected to be 453 million in 2026, is expected to start to decline from the 2040s and decrease to 420 million in 2100. In addition, it was stated that the ratio of those under the age of 19 to the population will decrease from 20 percent in 2022 to 18 percent in 2100, while the proportion of people between 20 and 64 in working age will decrease from 59 percent of the total population to 50 percent.
It is predicted that the elderly population will increase, the share of the 65-79 age group in the total population will increase from 15 percent to 17 percent, and the share of those over 80 years old will increase from 6 percent to 15 percent. Thus, it was stated that the rate of people over 65 years old would be 32 percent.
In Eurostat calculations, factors such as birth, death rates and migration in EU countries were taken into account.
Plan to ban laboratory-produced meat and milk from the Italian government
The Italian government has passed a bill banning synthetic foods such as lab-grown meat.
The Italian government has passed a bill banning synthetic foods such as lab-grown meat.
If the bill approved by the Council of Ministers passes the parliament and becomes law, the production, sale, use and import of food and feed produced in laboratory environment from animal cells will be prohibited. These banned synthetic foods will also include products such as laboratory-produced meat, fish and milk.
Fines between 10 thousand Euros and 60 thousand Euros are foreseen for those who violate the ban.
Francesco Lollobrigida, Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty from the Brothers of Italy party, said that the legal regulation aims to “protect the culture and tradition” of the country.
Lollobrigida also noted that laboratory-produced foods risk increasing unemployment and harming biodiversity. In addition, the minister said, “We see a risk of social injustice in a society where the rich are well-fed and the poor are undernourished.”
Health Minister Orazio Schillaci emphasized that there is not enough scientific research on the effects of synthetic foods. Schillaci stated that the ban decision aims to protect the health of citizens as well as “protect the heritage of our agri-food culture and our nation based on the Mediterranean diet”.
Farmers were against
Agricultural organizations, including Coldiretti, the country’s largest agronomists’ union, were against the production of synthetic food from animal cells in a laboratory environment. Agricultural sector representatives started petitions in this direction, and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni also signed the petition.
Coldiretti argued that with the government’s decision to stop synthetic foods, the loss of 580 billion euros in the national agri-food chain will be prevented. Coldiretti distributed meat and dairy products such as salami and cheese to celebrate the government’s decision at the food fair in Parma yesterday.
Those who support the production of synthetic food from cells in the laboratory without killing animals argue that this is a more ethical method that protects both animals and the environment.
Riccardo Magi, leader of the pro-European liberal party More Europe, also criticized the government and said, “Today, they have created a new crime. This time they take their ambitions from synthetic food. Meloni prefers to continue his reckless prohibition rather than research and develop a technology that will allow us to pollute less and kill less living beings.”
In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the sale of chicken meat produced from cell cultures last November. In the European Union, synthetic animal foods such as laboratory-produced meat have not yet been approved.
World heritage application
The “food sovereignty” file was added to the Ministry of Agriculture for the first time by the right-wing coalition government that came to power in October.
At the end of last week, the ministry announced that they had applied for the recognition of Italian cuisine by UNESCO as the intangible heritage of humanity. In this statement, Minister Lollobrigida said, “Our cuisine is our culture, tradition and identity.”
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty had also taken decisions restricting the sale of such products after the European Union approved the union-wide sale of flour obtained from insects such as grasshoppers. With a series of legal regulations announced last week, the use of insect flours in “typical products such as pizza and pasta” was prohibited, and restrictions were placed on the sale of these products.
Amazon opens e-commerce training center in China
Amazon Global Sales announced that it has opened an Asia-Pacific seller training center in Hangzhou, headquartered in eastern China’s Zhejiang province.
This center is Amazon Global Sales’ first comprehensive seller training center in the world. Amazon Global Sales said Tuesday that the headquarters in China will become an important base for the cultivation of professional, international and comprehensive cross-border e-commerce capabilities.
THERE WILL BE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS AND COURSE CONTENT UNDER DIFFERENT HEADINGS
The company will modernize the existing vendor training system and mechanism in four segments: “training programmes, course content, talent community and innovation development”.
The data shows that in 2022, cross-border e-commerce exports from the Hangzhou Cross-border e-commerce Comprehensive Pilot Zone totaled 101.3 billion yuan (about US$14.73 billion), 18.75 percent from the previous year. shows a growth of .
On the other hand, the number of cross-border e-commerce merchants in Hangzhou has exceeded 100,000. Cindy Tai, Vice President of Amazon and Head of Global Sales for Asia, said that the sustainable development of cross-border e-commerce has become the engine of foreign trade and the digital economy in China and the Asia-Pacific region. More than 10 million people attended related courses from Amazon Global Selling, which launched its official seller training program in China five years ago.
Switzerland complained to the ECtHR due to its climate change policy
Switzerland was complained to the ECtHR due to its climate change policy. More than 2,000 women who complained about the country stated that their health and quality of life decreased due to heat waves, thus violating their human rights.
According to the BBC’s report, the first climate change case to be heard by the ECHR was opened by Swiss women, who call themselves the “Climate Seniors Club” and whose average age is 73.
Women claimed that their health and quality of life decreased due to harsher and more frequent heat waves due to the climate crisis, thus violating their human rights.
It was stated that among the evidence presented to the ECtHR, the health records of women were also included.
It was noted that the women asked the court to force Switzerland to work harder to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
MAY AFFECT PUBLIC HEALTH
Elisabeth Stern, one of the plaintiffs, said: “Due to climate change, we are exposed to more heat waves. As older women, this affects us more and deaths are increasing compared to normal.”
“We don’t want to die because our government hasn’t made a proper climate policy,” Stern said.
The European Observatory for Climate and Health says projected increases in average temperature could have “serious effects on public health” across Europe, particularly among the elderly.
According to experts, temperatures in Switzerland are rising faster than the global average.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations (UN) says that unless the global temperature rise is kept at 1.5 degrees Celsius, Europe will be vulnerable to flooding due to excessive precipitation.
The Climate Seniors Club has not been able to get results from its lawsuits against the government in Swiss courts for 6 years due to climate change policies.
Russia: The hybrid war against us will be long
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitri Peskov said that the hybrid war waged by unfriendly countries against Russia will last a long time.
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitri Peskov made statements to reporters in the capital Moscow about the issues on the agenda.
Answering the question whether Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine will end this year, Peskov said, “If you mean the large-scale war, it is a conflict with hostile states and unfriendly countries. This is a hybrid war they launched against our country and “In this case, we need self-confidence, determination and unity around the President,” he said.
Peskov evaluated the Democracy Summit organized by the USA and used the following statements:
“America, which claims to be the world’s so-called teacher of democracy, is making a second attempt to bring together several countries to preach, in the guise of students. There are those who want to attend this lesson, and it is their sovereign decision. But attempts to divide the world into first and second-class countries. is greeted with a smile by many. It cannot be said that this is a very serious event.”
Cooperation in battery mine from USA and Japan
The United States and Japan signed a trade agreement for minerals used in electric vehicle batteries.
The U.S. and Japan sign a trade agreement for minerals used in electric vehicle batteries, while this cooperation will allow the two countries to improve their electric vehicle battery supply chain and allow Japanese vehicle manufacturers to benefit from U.S. electric vehicle incentives.
Stating that the two countries quickly reconciled, US officials stated that both countries agreed that the mines used in electric vehicle batteries cannot be subject to export restrictions within the scope of the agreement. Minerals covered by the agreement include lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite and manganese.
Under the agreement, the two countries will cooperate in reviewing foreign investments in the supply chain of critical minerals and will work together to combat “anti-market policies and practices”. The USA and Japan will thus try to reduce their dependence on China for mines.
Countries close to the USA can benefit from incentives and tax reductions in the US automobile market through mining trade agreements. The U.S. provides $7,500 in tax breaks for every new electric vehicle sold under the anti-inflation law passed last year.
Poland votes against ban on petrol and diesel cars
Polish Minister of Climate and Environment Anna Moskwa said that the European Union (EU) countries approved the initiative to ban the sale of new cars with gasoline and diesel engines from 2035, but the Warsaw administration voted against it.
Polish Minister of Climate and Environment Moskwa stated on his Twitter account that they do not support the decision.
Stating that Germany is trying to highlight useful solutions for its own market, Moskwa argued that this is not fair.
Moskwa underlined that the determining factor in the choice of technology should not be “EU coercion”, but the market and societies, “EU countries approved the initiative to ban the sale of new cars with gasoline and diesel engines from 2035, but we, as Poland, voted against it.” used the phrases.
EU countries approved the ban initiative today.
The European Council announced that member states have approved legislation that will introduce strict carbon emission standards for cars and light commercial vehicles from 2035.
By law, automakers will zero their carbon emissions by 2035. Thus, new cars with internal combustion engines, including gasoline and diesel, that emit carbon, will not be able to be sold in EU countries from the said date.
EU countries to share account information of criminals
European Union (EU) member countries are preparing to share the bank account information of criminals in all Union countries by establishing a central system.
The European Council announced that it has determined the common position of the member states regarding the negotiations to be held with the European Parliament (EP) on the legal regulation on the fight against the financing of crime.
Accordingly, access to financial information will be increased in investigations, tracking the proceeds of crime and confiscation process.
In this framework, a central system to be established will enable easier access by the authorities in EU countries to the financial information of those who have a connection with crime.
SHARE FROM ONE CENTER
EU countries will share information from central bank account records with each other through a single access point.
The central bank account registration system will contain various data including who has an account in which country and bank.
The competent authorities of member states dealing with crimes will be able to easily access these bank records through a single access point.
In addition, financial institutions will harmonize bank statements they will share as part of an investigation.
Thus, the fight of member countries against money laundering will be increased.
After this stage, the regulation will take its final form by negotiating between the member states and the European Parliament (EP).
EU continues to trade with Russia despite sanctions
The European Parliament drew attention to the fact that the trade between EU countries and Russia continues despite the historically harsh sanctions and listed the products imported from Russia.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year, the European Union (EU) adopted ten sanctions packages in a row against Russia, and began to impose its most stringent sanctions on a foreign country in history.
The EU aimed to restrict Russia’s income and access to technologies used in war equipment with sanctions. However, according to the research note published by the European Parliament, “the impact of the sanctions will not be large enough to limit Russia’s war activities against Ukraine in 2023.”
Most of the trade relations between the 27 EU countries and Russia still continue due to successful lobbying, efforts to reduce the economic impact of the EU as a result of sanctions, and concerns about the impact of sanctions on the global supply chain.
Instead of imposing new sanctions, the EU now aims to intervene harshly against individuals and institutions that violate existing sanctions. Authorities found that Turkey, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan were used as routes to circumvent sanctions.
The ongoing trade relations between the EU and Russia can be listed as follows:
The EU’s executive body, the European Commission, announced that Russia was the fifth largest trading partner of the union, with 258 billion euros in trade with the EU in 2021. Fuel, wood, iron and steel and fertilizer were the main products the EU imported from Russia.
After Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, EU imports from Russia fell by half to nearly 10 billion euros in December last year.
Between March 2022 and the end of January 2023, the EU imported 171 billion euros of products from Russia, according to data from the EU statistics office Eurostat.
The ongoing EU trade with Russia exceeds the 60 billion euros the EU has sent to Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion, which it announced last month, but the aid does not include the cost of the deal on the most recent supply of modern tanks and ammunition to Ukraine.
LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS (LNG)
Last year, the EU began to impose sanctions on Russian coal and oil exported from Russia by sea. EU sanctions do not cover gas, but Russia has drastically reduced its pipeline gas shipments to Europe since the beginning of the invasion. The EU imported about 40 percent less Russian gas in 2022 than in previous years.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG), on the other hand, was unaffected by the sanctions. Since the beginning of the war, Russian LNG shipments to Europe have increased even more. According to the analysis of the EU, the EU’s Russian LNG imports increased from 16 billion cubic meters in 2021 to 22 billion cubic meters this year.
The EU imports more Russian LNG per year than the roughly 155 billion cubic meters of gas Russia shipped through pipelines to the EU before the war. However, the increase in LNG imports has led some countries to request EU laws to ban LNG imports.
The EU also does not impose sanctions on Russia’s nuclear sector. Hungary and Bulgaria, where the Paks power plant to be expanded by the Russian state nuclear power company Rosatom, is located, oppose the imposition of sanctions on Russia’s nuclear sector.
According to Eurostat data, the EU imported about 750 million euros of Russian nuclear industry products in 2022. The EU nuclear agency Euratom said Russia provided one-fifth of the uranium used at EU facilities in 2021, a quarter of its conversion activities and a third of its enrichment services.
Environmentalist non-governmental organization Greenpeace stated in a report published last month that France has sharply increased the amount of enriched uranium imported from Russia since the beginning of the war, while France rejected some parts of the report and announced that terminating the contracts with Russia would be more costly than maintaining the contracts.
According to Eurostat data, the EU, which does not ban the import of precious stones from Russia and does not blacklist the Russian state mining company Alrosa, bought Russian diamonds worth 1.4 billion euros last year.
Belgium, where Antwerp, the world’s largest diamond trade center, is located, annoyed the tough-minded members of the EU because it did not want the EU to impose sanctions on Russian diamonds and lobbied on this issue.
The EU, US and other G7 countries are working on a tracking mechanism to remove Russian diamonds from the market. The Antwerp World Diamond Center stated that for this mechanism to work, non-G7 India must also be involved.
CHEMICALS AND RAW MATERIALS
The EU imported 2.6 billion euros of Russian fertilizers last year. This figure was 40 percent more than in 2021.
Potash imported from Russia and its ally Belarus is either heavily restricted or banned altogether by the EU. However, Sean Mackle, a member of the industry lobby, stated that other types of fertilizers, including urea, can be freely traded in the region, adding that the incoherent restrictions hinder the implementation of sanctions.
A disagreement between the EU’s 27 member states on exceptions that would allow fertilizer shipments to continue to Africa is preventing further sanctions against Belarus for its support of the war.
Among the raw materials that are not subject to sanctions is nickel, which is mostly used in the production of stainless steel. According to Eurostat data, while the EU imported 2.1 billion euros worth of nickel in 2021, this figure rose to 3.2 billion euros in 2022.
BIG NAMES AND SECONDARY SANCTIONS
The mining company Alrosa and the energy giant Rosatom have still not been added to the EU blacklist of around 1700 people and organizations. Gazprombank, the financial unit of Russia’s natural gas monopoly Gazprom, and Russia’s second largest oil producer, Lukoil, were not added to the blacklist.
Transparency International, the advocacy organization, has long called for Russia’s access to the EU lobby to be restricted and for secondary sanctions, as in the United States, to be imposed on those who assist individuals and organizations that are already subject to sanctions.