The United Kingdom is rapidly preparing to vote on one of the most crucial decisions in last few decades, to stay or not to stay within a European Union family. The consequences will be severe in both cases – drastic changes are unavoidable as Brexit referendum appointed for 23 June is almost a reality. However, certain issues are the object of political discussion today, issues that may have long-term consequences for both sides, EU and UK.
The Biggest Issue – Immigration
In a case of leaving EU, Britain would face a serious economic problem regarding reduced number of workers and jobs on the market. In 2015, 7% (4.3 million) of the population in the United Kingdom consisted of European workers, the situation caused by free movement agreement within EU. In last decade, this resulted in an increased number of migrants to the UK, predominantly from Romania and Poland. EU advocates the theory that free market is beneficial and reliable while migrants have been accused of lobbying public services and taking jobs. Economists warn that EU workers are an essential part of UK economy, they are paying taxes in the UK, preserving outlined budget. In a case of separation, UK would face a radical economic fall in jobs and workers.
Trade and Business
When it comes to business, the situation is clear – more than half of all trade is with the European Union, so the reform puts a huge uncertainty into the stage. From another side, the British want reforms with an uncertain plan how to compensate current trade ratio with EU. Some experts advocate that elaborate reforms would be troublesome and expensive; affecting prices, investments and production growth. In such atmosphere of an economic dilemma, opposed experts are arguing about future direction that UK market should encompass placing innumerable arguments pro at contra to further EU commitment, but if we want to understand the heart of Brexit debate, we must understand next issue – sovereignty.
The Most Important Brexit Concern – Sovereignty
This is major debate topic in the UK nowadays, as many are arguing that by being part of the European Union, UK loses its national interests and sovereignty. ProEuropians are saying that such situation is favorable, as it will grant free access to enormous EU market. Therefore, it is an absolute necessity to adjust rules and regulations on all levels to take part in the trade.
Economic and Monetary Subjects
The entire market of European Union is estimated to worth $19tn/€15tn/£11tn with the ability of free trade between members. Free EU market should create healthy competition and attract new investments. From the other side, the critics of this system say that such free market is based on phantasmagoria, in reality, it is tending to create huge private business and create modern feudalism. Such harsh criticism is probably partly correct as recently large public sectors within EU become private. It is significant for the UK, as it is well-known that many influencers want to make public rail sector private and control prices on the long run.
Despite a slight rise in oil prices over the past few days, the state of the entire oil market is still upon the veil of uncertainty and speculations. The recent Saudi Arabia’s tactics of neutralizing high-cost producers were more than successful. Entire oil industry shifted their focus from high-cost platforms and global scenarios to more reliable, short-term scenarios.
The Real Cause of The Oil Crisis
The leader of OPEC, Saudi Arabia was the largest oil producer on the planet, but just recently the US has surpassed Saudi Arabia with increasing domestic production by 70%. It is a fact that oil prices hit a decade low, from 2006’s 110$ per barrel to pitiful $25 this February. The main reason for such severe drop down exists oil oversupply, in other words, daily production surpasses estimated daily demand. Another significant factor in creating present oil crisis is restoring Iran on a global oil market.
The Uncertainty of Oil Market
The real question and concern in oil industry nowadays are connected with oil prices, the uncertainty of the market effects all players in the long chain of complicated reactions, investors are hesitating, oil producers are pushing toward higher price per barrel while the owners are restructuring their strategies. In such chaotic mesh of almost endless possibilities, oil prices may fall again resulting in failure of freeze production plan. Over the past three years, the price of a barrel has fallen dramatically, contrary to the enormous rise in the oil production. We are facing global oil hyper production, a situation that leads to lower prices and unsold goods.
Demand is Still High
Despite the low price on the market, the current demand is extremely high. It seems that oil producers may face a slight growth in the oil production and distribution. It is true that the entire oil market transits specific static phase, but analysts estimated that demand will grow by 2.4 million barrels per day by the end of this year. If we compare such analysis with last year, we will find out that the pace of growth is much slower in 2016, compared with 3.4m per day in 2015.
Possible Oil Market Collapse
In such uncertain situation countries like Algeria, Russia and Nigeria are trying to prevent the collapse of the oil market by influencing Saudi Arabia to reduce their production. The problem remains, as the global oil production is extremely high that can lead to further destabilization of the fragile market. The major problem is that gas and oil prices are extremely low at this moment; a situation that is gravely damaging economies of the producing countries like Russia or Iran.
The Real question is – where is a bottom line in this historical fall of the oil prices? Nobody knows an exact answer to such inquiry, but there are few outcomes that may improve the current situation. All such scenarios are depending upon urgent reduction in oil supply. Otherwise we would face the greatest economic crisis in the history of mankind.
The beginning of 2016 broke all known temperature records demanding an urgent answer to artificial climate change that is happening at this moment. Unusual warmth melted the extraordinary amount of icebergs on, resulting in much higher temperature ratio than ever before. Are we facing a new Ice Age?
The Global Heat Record
The climate on Earth is changing faster than we would like to admit, all heat records has already been beaten from the beginning of this year. The situation is extremely dramatic, but we are somehow always trying to put this subject on the table. However, statistics are accurate, average climate change in this year increased for shocking 1.7C above all records. This is a global warning that we must do something, or nature may consider us for novel dinosaurs.
The North is Heating Faster
Recent research shows that the northern hemisphere is heating much faster than the rest of a globe, for the first time this level is 2.2C higher then critical limit that was appointed as harmful. Two degrees higher temperatures created havoc on an Arctic creating uncertain and sudden climate change. The heat rise is much higher than previous records from previous years, in fact, it Is 0.9C higher than absolute temperature maximum in 2015 and 1.4C higher then 2014. The bare fact that we are getting maximum temperature levels, so close one to each other is shocking and disturbing.
The Evidences of Climate Change
With all these results, we must ask ourselves what can be done in such situation. The greenhouse effect is rising, levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are on the highest historical levels, which results that the atmosphere is acting like a gigantic greenhouse, making the surface of a planet warmer than ever before. The major cause of this effect id modern industry, it seems that we are costly paying the price of modern lifestyle. This climate change is not only visible in the atmosphere, but it is also alarming in other vital segments such as hydrosphere. The oceans are covering more than 75% of the earth, and they are playing an essential role in the climate regulation. Recent variations in climate dramatically altered accumulated snow on the planet, reducing the amount of ice and snow and increasing the amount of liquid water. Such change on a global plane is serious, as ice and snow are playing an important role in reducing the temperature on a planet by reflecting 50 to 85$ of the sun rays back to the atmosphere. In other words, rapid melting of snow and ice leads to the even more rapid global warning that can have grave consequences.
The previous month was the fifth month in a row that uplift temperature level, high above our wildest imagination. An answer to this emergency appeared in a form of various organizations that are trying to find an instant solution, to learn from our mistakes and create, hopefully, better reality. All we can do is hoping that their intentions may become fruitful. Meanwhile, one thing is certain – this summer will be the hottest summer ever.
The severe pandemic situation caused by wide-spreading of Zika virus in past few month created an atmosphere of anxiety and panic on a global scale; however the fear of greatest devastation caused by mosquitos is easing with newest scientific discoveries, still the main question remains – who is responsible for this situation?
Coping with Indecision – Zika Virus Challenge
Just recently, the president of World Health Organization (WHO) announced that spreading of dangerous Zika virus is directly connected with neglecting of necessary mosquito treatments in many countries, pointing that local governments should reconsider such short-term gains and reshape budgets to give proper mosquito control programs. The present situation is not stable at all, the threat of spreading is still present. Therefore, coordinate actions are an absolute necessity in this situation. It seems that the World Health Organization is not ready to cope with the present situation without the help of worldwide governments and their health departments.
Fruitless Brazilian Scenario
The situation in Brazil is extremely complicated; WHO alarms that present situation may be a hidden trigger for global catastrophe caused by human selfishness and narrow interests. In the first phase, Brazilian government-funded eradication of dangerous Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes marked as primary transmitters of Zika Virus. After the first success, the government simply stopped funding; that resulted in reoccurrence of dangerous mosquitos and worldwide spreading of Zika Virus. The result of such events is devastating; there is a huge increase of babies born with various permanent birth defects. The situation is getting worse as more persons will surely become infected with Zika virus as mosquito season is starting with summer heats.
Need for a Global Action
For decades to come, babies with Zika-caused microcephaly will be unpleasant evidence of absurd party-political games and selfish interests. It is not a question whether such unfortunate babies will be born, the real question is can we prevent further spreading of this dangerous Zika virus and control spreading of mosquitos. To truly answer this call, there is the urgent need for global action and synchronicity. Otherwise, the consequences may be much more devastating that we can predict. It is not apolitical, or economic question anymore, Zika is a global issue, a warning that we as humanity should do coordinated actions if we want to make sure the future for our children.
The Worldwide History Lessons
It seems that humanity must learn an important lesson how to deal with dangerous infections like Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea or Zika virus spreading in Brazil. It is not a theoretical question anymore, but practical, yet unpleasant reality. World Health Organization was taken by surprise without a ready test, drugs or vaccines that accelerated Zika virus spreading. Entire situation came suddenly, scientists were puzzled by the fact that severe brain injuries may be caused by a virus, the public went into delirium and apocalyptic scenarios. At the present moment, we are still on thin ice; modern science does not have a proper answer to Zika virus and not general advice. Once again the world failed to prevent serious health crisis, a hard lesson that we must accept as an unpleasant warning.
Recent refugee crisis stroke EU not only regarding terrorism but also in many other ways, including economic loss, psychological condition, and a general feeling that “old continent” is not so free as it was before. The crisis is ongoing; problems are increasing while different approaches of the European leaders very often oppose each other. The latest German initiative may ease the economic loss that is clear – 10% of the EU budget should be relocated and used in dealing with the refugee crisis.
EU in Desperate Searches for New Solution
One thing is sure – EU was not ready for such extensive and long-lasting crisis, methods and systems that created to act and react in such dramatic situation were able to combine primary influences, but that is all. The critics are pointing out that global system was not ready for such campaign; they are now searching for mechanisms that may compensate material and emotional loss that EU suffered in the past two years.
Recently, there were several suggestions that EU should take another approach in this delicate situation and appoint a special representative that will put approved European strategy into action. The new strategy is necessary because the present one is showing huge shortcomings in practical situations. This proposal was announced by German minister Gerd Muller during his expose on World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. Such proposal is coming in a moment when it is evident that a huge number of last year promises was not fulfilled, in an atmosphere of severe doubt and sharp criticism.
The Series of Unfulfilled Promises
During the March last year, EU leaders agreed on one crucial issue; they will eliminate smugglers in Libya at all costs, but that resolution remained only a vivid dream, as the long mission was not successful at all. Later on, EU leaders agreed to transfer 100.000 refugees and relocate them from northern Greece to Italy, but the reality is that only 2% were transferred to Italy. In an atmosphere of such uncertainty, it is not possible to predict how will they react to the latest proposal, nor how would relocated funds be used for solving refugee crisis.
Fragmented Institutions and Diluted Responsibilities
European institutions did not react in a cohesive way in this complex situation; they acted ad hoc, trying to solve one problem at the time. The problem is in the main structure; they seem to be fragmented, with too many parts and different responsibilities. Individual acts seem to produce zero effect; with too many problem solvers in the EU committees, the main problem remains.
The newest proposition that comes from German experts is focusing allocations toward the single person with increased responsibility in dealings with the current crisis. He or she would get weighty fund in the form of 10% of the entire budget or 15 billion dollars per year. That is, at least, a huge amount of money that may come in wrong hands. Hopefully, this may stay only a proposition as EU officials may reject that such proposition.
Speaking during a visit to Vietnam, the president of the United States, Barak Obama officially announced the termination of a long-term embargo on Vietnam, which includes military arms sales and production as well. Would such sudden decision lead toward new friendship among former enemies? That is a fragile question that stays, for now, without a precise answer.
Former Enemies – Today’s Allies
During the visit to Hanoi, Obama pointed out those former adversaries are joining forces together; worldwide news agencies immediately commented that such radical political decision of US government and administration is directly connected with the rapid growth of China’s military arsenal and progression of bilateral bonds in the area. Speaking about this decision, Obama very clearly stated that such resolution will not be related to the Republic of China; it is processed solely and exclusively related to Vietnam.
Such decision of US government may enrage Beijing, at least it will increase the tensions between two nations where political comparisons are mostly focused on territory control and military supremacy on the continent. A fragile relationship between Vietnam and China is on a trial, especially after recent South China Sea disputes that are still creating unpleasant tensions in bilateral communication. Still, the arms sales in Vietnam must meet rigid requirements and will be fully controlled process by US administration. More than that, Obama concluded that new policy will make certain claims in access to the military equipment, it will offer advance technology and newest defensive systems.
Delicate line – Washington – Hanoi – Moscow
From many different angles, this is a historical event. For decades, Hanoi has relied on Moscow, so this event is changing focus toward Washington, affecting the subtle relation among political and military influences on a global pane. The entire world is waiting for a response, Beijing and Moscow will certainly not neglect such sudden change on the global political scene.
Political analytics comments that the act of lifting embargo is directly connected with the projected rate of Chinese expansion; this act is an attempt to stop such rapid progression and restore military balance in the South China Sea. However, Obama is neglecting such speculations on so-called military rivalry with Beijing; he declares that decision about lifting arms embargo is based on normalization of delicate relations between Washington and Hanoi.
Military Provocations and Future Actions
Economic investments and security in the region are paramount motives that lie behind this decision; US administration is trying to place the focus to future cooperation and not empty talks from the Cold War era when Vietnam and US were on opposite sides. It seems that history is changing; former enemies are becoming allies in the modern race for global domination. Obama admitted that there is a growing concern about increased number of military provocations in the South China Sea and that lifting of embargo should restore balance in the area. According to this agreement, US government will be able to sell weapons to Vietnam that will surely define the future actions.
From many points of view, this is a historical event, the time that is changing the worldwide relations and it is placing a lot of questions which demands precise answers.