The Week – 5th October 2019

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This week’s views and news as seen by our editorial team, advisors and photographers from EPA.

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The Week That Was

In the latest development related to the revelations about the pressure by US President Trump on Ukraine, the House Democrats sent a subpoena to the White House requesting a vast range of documents about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine and efforts to cover up his actions. This development followed the reluctance by Trump and the White House to provide information as requested by the House on time.

During the week more revelations were made, including pressure by the US on Australia, this time to undermine special counsel Mueller credibility.

The request by the house calls for documents and communications that are highly delicate and if handed over by the Oct. 18 deadline, the records could provide keys to understanding what transpired between the two countries and what steps, if any, the White House has taken to cover it up.

The Brexit saga enters its last month, as the countdown now entered its last lap. The EU wasn’t much excited with the latest proposals submitted by the British government. The diplomatic tug-of-war between the UK and the EU continued to intensify, accompanied by a narrative which is sounding more like as who to be ‘cornered’ into accepting a deal, a new deal or otherwise go ahead with a no-deal. Having said that, towards the end of the week new revelations in court showed that the British government is ready to request for another delay if no deal is reached by the 19th of October.

The protests in Hong Kong entered a delicate phase as in the last days, two protestors were admitted to hospital following injuries they suffered from bullets shot at them by enforcement officers. The protests intensified in a particular week for China, as it celebrated its 70th anniversary.

In Brussels we had the hearing of the various commissioner designates nominated by the Member states. Malta’s nominee, Helena Dalli, had an intense hearing but managed to secure the necessary two-thirds support. Von Der Leyen’s plans only suffered one major hiccup as the Hungarian nominee wasn’t accepted. Orban, nominated the current EU ambassador, a move which however wasn’t welcomed by the diplomatic circles in Brussels.

Former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s centre-right Austrian People’s Party (OVP) has come in first in Austria’s snap parliamentary polls. Despite the People’s Party’s strong showing, it will not have a majority in parliament and Kurz will need coalition partners. Analysts say that Kurz may change the drift of his party and government, and rebrand them as ‘centrist’, but it mainly illustrates how right-wing the Austrian and European centre have become.

Jesmond Saliba