World News Brief, Friday June 28

Spending cuts agreed in EU budget; US ambassador to China makes Tibet visit; South Korea and China meet to discuss North Korea's nuclear programme; Obama calls for gay rights during visit to Senegal; US begins shipping arms for Syrian rebels; and more

Top of the Agenda: EU's Budget Deal Includes First-Ever Spending Cuts

EU states and lawmakers reached a last-minute deal (FT) on Thursday on the hotly contested 2014–2020 budget after weeks of arduous negotiations. The €960 billion package, down from the current €994 billion budget cycle, included spending cuts for the first time (Bloomberg) as the region faces an ongoing recession and record unemployment. The breakthrough came just hours before leaders gathered in Brussels for a June summit focused on job creation (EUObserver), and will allow leaders to offer €6 billion to tackle youth unemployment earlier than planned.


"Once again, short-term national interests are taking precedence over the need for a forward-looking, flexible, and efficient EU budget. The European Parliament, which for the first time must approve the MFF [Multiannual Financial Framework], should use its newfound influence to uphold the EU-wide public interest and offset the blinkered, vested interests of individual member states," writes Guy Verhofstadt for Project Syndicate.

"It appears that under the new deal, the figures agreed will remain unchanged but, in a concession to the European Parliament, unspent money will be transferred from one year to the next, rather than returning to national budgets as at present," writes the BBC.

"When EU leaders convene for the European Council on Thursday, one of their priorities will be to find new ways to tackle youth unemployment. It is time politicians caught up with economic reality: with almost 15m under-30s who are neither in employment, education, nor training, Europe faces a generational crisis," writes an editorial for the Financial Times.



U.S. Ambassador to China Makes Rare Tibet Visit

Ambassador Gary Locke is on a rare three-day visit to Tibet this week (Quartz), marking the first trip by an American ambassador to the region since 2010. Locke will meet with officials to raise concerns about human rights in light of Tibetan self-immolations protesting Chinese rule.

CFR's Yanzhong Huang reviews the Dalai Lama's self-immolation dilemma in Tibet in this blog post.

SOUTH KOREA: South Korean president Park Geun-hye held her first summit (Yonhap) with Chinese president Xi Jinping on Thursday in a meeting focused on North Korea's nuclear program.


Obama calls for gay rights during visit to Senegal

US begins shipping arms for Syrian rebels

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