#BlueStarBrief April 2023

This Month in the #BlueStarBrief
Transatlantic Perspectives on Relations with China

France Pension Reform Political Update

GLOBSEC Launches New Office in Washington, D.C.

Strengthening Cooperation with Central Asia & Caucasus

World Bank Group & IMF Annual Spring Meetings

Semafor's World Economy Summit

Israel's Political Crisis

Transatlantic Perspectives:
U.S. & EU Relations with China

This month, our U.S. and EU teams present perspectives on relations with China following French President Emmanuel Macron's three-day state visit to China.

Click here to read our U.S. perspective, by Karen A. Tramontano

Click here to read our European perspective, by Stephany Vargas

Political Climate in France after Pension Reform
By Lucie Gonçalves

On April 14, the French Constitutional Council approved key provisions of a
controversial pension reform law. Following this decision, President Emmanuel Macron rapidly enacted the law on April 15, in line with his stated intent to make the reform gradually enter into force, starting this fall. The pension reform has been the focal point of enduring discontent from unions and a large chunk of the French population.

Read more here.

GLOBSEC Launches New Office in Washington, DC
GLOBSEC, a global think-tank based in Bratislava, Slovakia, announced the launch of its new office in Washington, D.C. The expansion strengthens the organization's presence in the U.S. and enhances transatlantic cooperation on key security and defense issues.

Sally Painter serves as a member of GLOBSEC's Board of Directors.

"The launch of our new office in Washington, D.C. is a major milestone for GLOBSEC, and I am delighted to work with Petr, Sally, Steve, and Michael to make our presence in the U.S. a continued GLOBSEC success," said Róbert Vass, Founder and President of GLOBSEC. "We are excited to be expanding our mission to the United States and look forward to working with our partners in Washington and beyond to enhance our shared interests in furthering CEE’s presence in the West."

The launch of GLOBSEC's Washington office was accompanied by a high-level kick-off conference focusing on the main strategic challenges posed by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Founded in 2005, GLOBSEC's mission is to contribute to developing effective solutions to global security challenges through research, analysis, and dialogue. Its work has focused on a wide range of issues, including cybersecurity, energy security, and the prevention of radicalization and extremism.

Learn more here.

World Bank Group & IMF Annual Spring Meetings
This April, the World Bank Group and IMF held its annual 2023 Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C. The gathering comes as the World Bank prepares to welcome the nomination of its new incoming president, former president and CEO of Mastercard Ajay Banga.

In statements delivered to the meetings, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Gilbert Houngbo highlighted the need for social justice to overcome the challenges facing economies and societies across the globe.

"Social justice makes societies and economies function more cohesively and productively by reducing poverty and hunger, inequalities, and social tensions. Given its central importance to inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development, social justice should be seen as one of the cornerstones of the renewed multilateralism that is required to overcome current challenges," Houngbo said.

Recent critiques have focused on the World Bank's approach to poverty alleviation, which some argue requires giving the poor a real seat at the table—which the World Bank has never done.

Watch highlights of the proceedings here, and side events from Atlantic Council here.

Highlights from Semafor's World Economy Summit
Semafor's first annual World Economy Summit took place this month with high-level discussions focusing on what’s next for the global economy and financial markets.

Speakers included Ukraine Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova, Director of the White House's National Economic Council Lael Brainard, U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai, and Microsoft's president Brad Smith.

Among the summit's highlights:

"The White House’s top economic advisor Lael Brainard said the American financial system is both "sound" and "stable" after major bank collapses prompted a government bailout last month.. [She also] used her first major public appearance to say I told you so. In 2019, she was the lone dissenter on the Federal Reserve board’s vote to roll back regulations for firms the size of Silicon Valley Bank...

"Not only were the rules changed, there was a change in supervision to a much lighter touch supervision, fewer issues should be escalated. Of course in retrospect we know that was a mistake... But do I think supervision clearly needs to be very strong? We just learned that."
- Lael Brainard, director of the U.S. National Economic Council (click here to watch the recording)

Strengthening Cooperation with CAMCA Region
Sally Painter hosted a visiting delegation of professionals from the CAMCA region of Central Asia, Mongolia, the Caucasus, and Afghanistan.

The Central Asia Caucasus Fellowship Program brings exceptional rising leaders to the U.S. for a high-level, intensive exchange experience designed to forge enduring personal and professional connections among its participants.

The Fellowship aims to encourage intraregional cooperation among the program countries as well as to foster stronger relations between the U.S. and the CAMCA region, and serves as a starting point for continued collaboration among the innovative regional leaders that comprise its alumni network.

Click here to learn more.


Israel's Political Crisis
Global observers have focused on understanding the political-governance debate over proposed judiciary sector reforms currently taking place in Israel, which have triggered massive public street protests.

For more background and analysis, we recommended the following links:

Thank you for reading this month’s #BlueStarBrief.

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