new cold 'war'?

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orathaic
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new cold 'war'?

#1 Post by orathaic » Wed Dec 01, 2021 6:54 pm

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-59473071

Is this kind of competition between (economic) superpowers actually good?

Will this increase economic influence, or does that require publishing debt to extract value and hold leverage over others?

Can increased trade and investment help avoid future conflicts by helping to bridge cultural divides? And is this the way to go about doing so?
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Re: new cold 'war'?

#2 Post by Octavious » Wed Dec 01, 2021 9:12 pm

Projects had to be of high quality, with a high level of transparency and good governance, and had to deliver tangible results for the countries involved
A first time for everything, I guess. A damned shame they never applied these principles within the EU.

Out of curiosity, in what sense is this a cold war?
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Re: new cold 'war'?

#3 Post by Octavious » Wed Dec 01, 2021 9:20 pm

orathaic wrote:
Wed Dec 01, 2021 6:54 pm
Will this increase economic influence, or does that require publishing debt to extract value and hold leverage over others?
European countries are extremely bad at using debt as leverage. What inevitably happens is that it builds up large enough to become a problem, then the Europeans experience a wave of guilt and cancel it. Lots of money gets invested and Europe ends up with very little to show for it other than good will. And at the end of the day if you're in debt to a bastard who is quite willing to kneecap you if you don't pay, and someone who is jolly decent, it's the bastard who you make sure is happy.
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Re: new cold 'war'?

#4 Post by orathaic » Thu Dec 02, 2021 8:46 am

Octavious wrote:
Wed Dec 01, 2021 9:12 pm
Out of curiosity, in what sense is this a cold war?
Just hanging n the sense that the title of the BBC news article was written to make it sound like the EU is only doing this to compete with China.

Which may indeed be the case...

I did put scare quotes around war!

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Re: new cold 'war'?

#5 Post by Octavious » Thu Dec 02, 2021 10:29 am

Yes, but all nations compete with each other. Ireland's low corporate tax policy of recent decades was based upon competition with the rest of Europe, but you wouldn't describe that as a cold war regardless of how many quotation marks were available.
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Re: new cold 'war'?

#6 Post by orathaic » Thu Dec 02, 2021 3:56 pm

The UK' disasterous trade war is brewing but would also not be considered a 'cold war' because it is not between two super powers, which i believe was the characteristic of the Cold War...

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Re: new cold 'war'?

#7 Post by Octavious » Thu Dec 02, 2021 4:31 pm

Ok then, if your definition of a cold war is just two large powers competing economically then yes, it's a cold war. However I rather suspect that most people would be surprised by such a definition, and as the EU and China have been competing since the EU's creation I'm unclear how you see it as new.
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Re: new cold 'war'?

#8 Post by taylor4 » Thu Dec 02, 2021 6:53 pm

While EU & USA sabre rattle putative economic sanctionings - EU more worried by Belarus, it seems - the Ukraine/NATO quasi-misalliance's unsettling.
The stooge behind the puppet within the player is meeting today, December 2, in Stockholm with the USA foreign minister (a-k-a) Secretary of state.
Does he not know that the puppet has voiced the Kremlin's view of hegemony?
The voice of the Kremlin: 'Sphere of privileged influence'.

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Re: new cold 'war'?

#9 Post by flash2015 » Thu Dec 02, 2021 9:27 pm

Won't this just be a backdoor subsidy to big European companies (e.g. Alstom, Siemens etc.) to build this infrastructure?

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Re: new cold 'war'?

#10 Post by orathaic » Fri Dec 03, 2021 11:16 am

flash2015 wrote:
Thu Dec 02, 2021 9:27 pm
Won't this just be a backdoor subsidy to big European companies (e.g. Alstom, Siemens etc.) to build this infrastructure?
That would make sense...

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Re: new cold 'war'?

#11 Post by Octavious » Fri Dec 03, 2021 12:14 pm

orathaic wrote:
Fri Dec 03, 2021 11:16 am
flash2015 wrote:
Thu Dec 02, 2021 9:27 pm
Won't this just be a backdoor subsidy to big European companies (e.g. Alstom, Siemens etc.) to build this infrastructure?
That would make sense...
Would it? I don't suppose you could explain how?
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Re: new cold 'war'?

#12 Post by flash2015 » Fri Dec 03, 2021 6:04 pm

Are you a little slow today?

If Europe decides to give countries money to build infrastructure, I would expect that as part of the condition of the loan or grant they will indicate who these countries can contract with.

For example that bridge in Montenegro is being built by a Chinese state owned company. I am sure that didn't go out to tender:

https://www.npr.org/2021/06/28/10108326 ... toric-debt
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Re: new cold 'war'?

#13 Post by orathaic » Fri Dec 03, 2021 7:22 pm

Octavious wrote:
Fri Dec 03, 2021 12:14 pm
orathaic wrote:
Fri Dec 03, 2021 11:16 am
flash2015 wrote:
Thu Dec 02, 2021 9:27 pm
Won't this just be a backdoor subsidy to big European companies (e.g. Alstom, Siemens etc.) to build this infrastructure?
That would make sense...
Would it? I don't suppose you could explain how?
What flash said.

The same mechanism by which US military aid flows back to IS arms exporters (and thus the individual states where those arms exporters employee many people see the benefit and influence Senators/congressman from that state).

It makes sense that they would try to ensure this money returned to the EU economy... Doesn't it?

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Re: new cold 'war'?

#14 Post by Octavious » Fri Dec 03, 2021 8:31 pm

It's far easier to keep money in the EU economy simply by spending it within the EU economy. If your primary goal is generating a bit of economic heat and reviving the fortunes of some struggling corporations you just need to build another bridge to nowhere or unnecessary tunnel under the Alps or some such nonsense. So Occam's razor is very much against the idea that it's just a backdoor subsidy.

If the goal is restoring trade based alliances with developing economies at the expense of the Chinese, on the other hand, then doing exactly what the Chinese are most heavily criticised for by these potential partners seems an incredibly self defeating way of going about it. China have plenty of money and are far more attractive than the EU in terms of looking the other way regarding bribery and corruption and atrocities etc. The only thing that the EU can hope to score big on is fairness and treating partners with respect. If it fails to do that China wins and wins easily.
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Re: new cold 'war'?

#15 Post by Jamiet99uk » Fri Dec 03, 2021 10:29 pm

One important difference between the EU and the other economic blocs mentioned here, from my perspective, is that the EU's entire high-level public procurement and state aid policy approach holds that opening up competition (both inside *and* outside the union) is good for the economy in the long run, and that all forms of state aid (at both micro and macro level) are bad for the economy in the long run. Theory of comparative advantage, and all that.

Therefore a "backdoor subsidy" to one particular EU-based company would be a violation of the EU's own fundamental economic principles.

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Re: new cold 'war'?

#16 Post by Jamiet99uk » Fri Dec 03, 2021 10:36 pm

^ We can go into this in much more detail if anyone is interested. Do be warned that this conversation gets quite dry quite quickly.

Source: I am a member of the UK State Aid Law Association and the Procurement Lawyers' Association and have published articles on UK and EU public procurement policy. We are not a very interesting bunch and talking about procurement and state aid policy very rarely gets me laid.
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Re: new cold 'war'?

#17 Post by Octavious » Fri Dec 03, 2021 11:13 pm

The EU has many heads and many arms, and whilst some are indeed very vocal about the benefits of competition others are rather more protectionist. A favorite tool elements of the EU uses to limit foreign competition is via regulation. A fairly well known case being the prevention of chicken products cleaned via the chlorination method from being sold in the EU. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with this method except for the fact that EU chicken producers never used it, and so by banning it you can effectively ban foreign imports from a great many nations. Relatively harmless in the grand scheme of things, especially compared to the massive harm caused by the EU's continued promotion of diesel fuel (at least until very recently) in order to safeguard EU oil refineries that have always been heavily geared to favour diesel.

But we are in danger of straying a long way from the original topic, and no closer to getting laid.
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Re: new cold 'war'?

#18 Post by orathaic » Sat Dec 04, 2021 8:44 am

Jamiet99uk wrote:
Fri Dec 03, 2021 10:36 pm
^ We can go into this in much more detail if anyone is interested. Do be warned that this conversation gets quite dry quite quickly.

Source: I am a member of the UK State Aid Law Association and the Procurement Lawyers' Association and have published articles on UK and EU public procurement policy. We are not a very interesting bunch and talking about procurement and state aid policy very rarely gets me laid.
How do you think this will affect infrastructure development funded by the EU outside of the EU?

And unrelated, how are the Tories doing as regards corruption in their state spending (on things like PPE during covid and extra capacity to handle Brexit related import/export issues)?

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Re: new cold 'war'?

#19 Post by Jamiet99uk » Sat Dec 04, 2021 2:21 pm

orathaic wrote:
Sat Dec 04, 2021 8:44 am
Jamiet99uk wrote:
Fri Dec 03, 2021 10:36 pm
Talking about procurement and state aid policy very rarely gets me laid.
How do you think this will affect infrastructure development funded by the EU outside of the EU?

And unrelated, how are the Tories doing as regards corruption in their state spending (on things like PPE during covid and extra capacity to handle Brexit related import/export issues)?
On the first point, it's hard to say exactly at this early stage. However, the EU has indicated that projects supported by the Global Gateway programme will need to ensure open public procurement. Presumably this would be in line with the EU public procurement model. It might be assumed that the general approach follows on from other EU grant funding schemes (although I'm mostly familiar with such schemes in terms of grants awarded *within* the EU internal market). If it does, this would include grant conditions / rules requiring the grant recipient to spend the money in line with the procurement principles of the EU model - transparency, equal treatment and non-discrimination, proportionality and mutual recognition. This ought to mean that EU based companies are not directly favoured, but should also mean that country-specific state aid policies (i.e. subsidies or set-asides for locally-based enterprises) would be outlawed, for these specific procurement projects at least, thus removing barriers that might currently stand in the way of EU firms.

On the second, unrelated, point, as a currently serving UK civil servant I couldn't possibly comment. You may conclude that there has been a considerable increase in Government corruption since 2019, with Government Ministers interfering in procurement decisions in order to side-step the usual rules in order to corruptly help their friends win lucrative contracts. You might regard this as a shocking abuse of Ministerial power which has privately caused dismay and fury among central Government procurement professionals who feel undermined by inappropriate ministerial interference in their duties. You might look upon the recent successes of the Good Law Project in their ongoing work in the courts to challenge a range of high-profile Government procurement decisions during the pandemic, as evidence that at the very least some level of maladministration has been allowed to occur, and that certain Government Ministers have been complicit in this maladministration (or, indeed, the architects of it).

You may conclude those things. As I say, as a current civil servant, I couldn't possibly comment. Sorry, but I just can't be drawn on that point.
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Re: new cold 'war'?

#20 Post by Octavious » Sat Dec 04, 2021 4:10 pm

That's some pretty impressive lack of commentary there :lol:

Must be fun in your office when we're in purdah :razz:
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