The EU is facing a crisis like never before. Even its own fanatic supporters are talking about an end game after recent concessions over a corona rescue plan have exposed how little grip Brussels has left. It’s all hidden in the small print.
Failed talks with the UK over a Brexit deal are just one of a handful of examples of why now pro-EU experts are all sounding the alarm over the EU’s stability. Along with the Corona bailout, there is a new impetus of ‘euro-scepticism’ from many member states signalling the end of the EU as we know it.
Talks between EU negotiators and Britain’s Brexiteers might as well have collapsed. In fact, they haven’t, but in so many ways it would be better if they did. The EU is taking its largest gamble ever by playing a ‘last minute’ game of chance with Boris Johnson – a leader who has proven that he is determined not to be drawn into such a charade and will firmly stick to the December 2020 deadline of pulling the UK out, with or without a deal.
A big sticking point is fisheries of course. France is putting huge pressure on Michel Barnier to negotiate something for the French. Before joining the EU, Britain had more or less a monopoly of the seas surrounding its shores – which it lost when it joined the European Union with now other countries fishing six times more fish than the UK. The trade deal itself also has a number of difficult areas which neither side wants to concede.
Given the EU’s track record and what we know about its own style, everything points to a last-minute drama at the end of November this year when Barnier and his officials wake up to the reality that Britain really is going to adopt WTO rules and get out of the EU altogether with no deal.
Many hardcore Brexiteers even prefer this option to a present deal now – a point that Barnier seems to have not grasped – as they believe a second round of negotiations will put Britain in a much stronger position to cut a deal.
But in many respects a no deal Brexit is being shadowed now by an even bigger threat to the EU’s existence, which is how it has failed to nail a 2 trillion euro rescue package for its member states affected the most by the Covid-19 virus. In July, the EU agreed to a much smaller package which was a mixed bag of loans and grants. While Italy has been given a grant of 80bn euros and Greece 23bn, both these countries will be expected to pay part of a 750bn euro debt which is what some analysts like Yanis Varoufakis are calling a ‘Eurosceptic’s dream’. The recalcitrant former Greek finance minister reckons that Italy will only end up with 30bn euros after it has contributed to the bigger EU corona recovery debt, which guarantees that this country will become even more Eurosceptic in the future once Italians understand the small print of the ‘deal’.
Less money to go around
But the deal itself has driven a wedge between a number of northern European countries like Sweden and the Netherlands – and the rest – and, according to a number of pro-EU experts, is signalling the beginning of the end for the EU, which in reality is going to operate from 2021 with less money in its coffers than before, with Britain no longer contributing. Even BBC experts who are staunchly pro-EU, to the point of being fanatical, are pointing this out. Lyce Doucet, the BBC’s top international correspondent, speaking on a talk show, talked about the ‘breath-taking’ compromises which have been made in Brussels for the deal to get the green light and that break-away EU states like Hungary going rogue and new political/financial problems with Italy will play a real role in possibly the EU institutions having real difficulties in remaining in power of the European Union project.
With less money to go around, a big part of the EU breathing new life into itself – bigger projects like the environment, defence and even health funds – will all have to remain fanciful ideas on paper in Brussels.
And yet there’s no sign of the EU tightening its own belt on its own spending. Brussels simply doesn’t do austerity, unlike member states, which support it. What it prefers is to borrow money on international markets so that future generations are saddled with the debt and it can give off a veneer of normality and even stability. There is another cunning reason why it likes to always talk big figures. While talking hundreds of billions of euros, it makes it more or less impossible for any journalist in Brussels to suggest that the EU cuts its own operating costs – which by comparison to the huge numbers bandied about, looks very modest.
The EU’s entire operating budget for the last seven years – each year – is a modest 165 bn euros. No journalists in the Belgian capital like to point out that this figure has gone up every six years.
And no Brussels-based journalists like to admit that for the first time, despite appearances to the contrary, the actual EU budget for the next six years (2021 – 2027) is to remain the same at around a trillion euros.
This is because, in reality, no one has worked out how to paper over the cracks of the UK no longer sending 9bn euros to Brussels, which has to be paid by the larger contributors like France and Germany.
What is harder to grasp is how the EU is going to get much bigger funding for its international aid program, which it wants to boost by a massive 30%.
A good laugh
The EU has big plans to punch above its weight around the world in how much money it pumps into “developing economies”. It currently spends from its annual budget around 13bn euros in total propping up dictators who are happy to plaster EU aid boards all over the country and show mock reverence to Brussels’ artificially created hegemony. Some EU websites, although not mentioning the total new budget for the EU itself, refer to pumping this up by 30%. Given that the EU has a funding crisis, it’s hard to see how it will shuffle its present arrangements to meet this.
What the EU could do is scrap this entire aid project altogether and use the money for start up businesses in Europe as a way of offsetting crippling unemployment. But that’s unlikely to happen.
If you still have a sense of humour after leading EU supporters of the project talk about the beginning of the end, then here’s a howler for you. Buried deep in euro jargon is one minor detail which will indeed back up Varoufakis’ claim that the new blueprint is written by a eurosceptic who wants to bring the house down. Outside of the EU budget is the 750bn euro corona rescue package, which, wait for it, isn’t going to be paid back to its lenders, until the NEXT, EU budget period, starting 2028.
This is unprecedented as is the new rogue state of Hungary which is setting a new norm in how it regards Brussels’ so-called leadership. But the fact that most EU leaders or even Brussels officials may not be in employment in 2028 (or some may not even be alive) says a lot about how much confidence the EU has in itself as a serious long-term project. Expect biographies in years to come which claim corona was “killed” the EU by pensioners sitting in high-backed chairs talking to BBC journalists with softly spoken voice overs referring to Ursula and Angela and their care home tantrums. Will Angela Merkel in 2028 even be able to give TV interviews?
In this specific predicament, U.S. officials have to choose a strategy to deliver the aid without the perception of benefiting Hamas, a group the U.S. and Israel both classify as a terrorist organization.
When aiding people in war zones, you can’t just send money, a development strategy called “cash transfers” that has become increasingly popular due to its efficiency. Sending money can boost the supply of locally produced goods and services and help people on the ground pay for what they need most. But injecting cash into an economy so completely cut off from the world would only stoke inflation.
So the aid must consist of goods that have to be brought into Gaza, and services provided by people working as part of an aid mission. Humanitarian aid can include food and water; health, sanitation and hygiene supplies and services; and tents and other materials for shelter and settlement.
Due to the closure of the border with Israel, aid can arrive in Gaza only via the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border.
The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, will likely turn to its longtime partner on the ground, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, to serve as supply depots and distribute goods. That agency, originally founded in 1949 as a temporary measure until a two-state solution could be found, serves in effect as a parallel yet unelected government for Palestinian refugees.
USAID will likely want to tap into UNRWA’s network of 284 schools – many of which are now transformed into humanitarian shelters housing two-thirds of the estimated 1 million people displaced by Israeli airstrikes – and 22 hospitals to expedite distribution.
Since Biden took office, total yearly U.S. assistance for the Palestinian territories has totaled around $150 million, restored from just $8 million in 2020 under the Trump administration. During the Obama administration, however, the U.S. was providing more aid to the territories than it is now, with $1 billion disbursed in the 2013 fiscal year.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency is a U.N. organization. It’s not run by Hamas, unlike, for instance, the Gaza Ministry of Health. However, Hamas has frequently undermined UNRWA’s efforts and diverted international aid for military purposes.
Humanitarian aid professionals regularly have to contend with these trade-offs when deciding to what extent they can work with governments and local authorities that commit violent acts. They need to do so in exchange for the access required to help civilians under their control.
Similarly, Biden has had to make concessions to Israel while brokering for the freedom to send humanitarian aid to Gaza. For example, he has assured Israel that if any of the aid is diverted by Hamas, the operation will cease.
This promise may have been politically necessary. But if Biden already believes Hamas to be uncaring about civilian welfare, he may not expect the group to refrain from taking what they can.
Security best practices
What can be done to protect the security of humanitarian aid operations that take place in the midst of dangerous conflicts?
Under International Humanitarian Law, local authorities have the primary responsibility for ensuring the delivery of aid – even when they aren’t carrying out that task. To increase the chances that the local authorities will not attack them, aid groups can give “humanitarian notification” and voluntarily alert the local government as to where they will be operating.
Under the current agreement between the U.S., Israel and Egypt, the convoy will raise the U.N. flag. International inspectors will make sure no weapons are on board the vehicles before crossing over from Arish, Egypt, to Rafah, a city located on the Gaza Strip’s border with Egypt.
The aid convoy will likely cross without militarized security. This puts it at some danger of diversion once inside Gaza. But whether the aid convoy is attacked, seized or left alone, the Biden administration will have demonstrated its willingness to attempt a humanitarian relief operation. In this sense, a relatively small first convoy bearing water, medical supplies and food, among other items, serves as a test balloon for a sustained operation to follow soon after.
In that case, the presence of U.S. armed forces might provoke attacks on Gaza-bound aid convoys by Hamas and Islamic jihad fighters that otherwise would not have occurred. Combined with the mobilization of two U.S. Navy carrier groups in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, I’d be concerned that such a move might also stoke regional anger. It would undermine the Biden administration’s attempts to cool the situation.
On U.N.-approved missions, aid delivery may be secured by third-party peacekeepers – meaning, in this case, personnel who are neither Israeli nor Palestinian – with the U.N. Security Council’s blessing. In this case, tragically, it’s unlikely that such a resolution could conceivably pass such a vote, much less quickly enough to make a difference.
Topher L. McDougal does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
“The majority of wound infections often manifest themselves immediately postoperatively, so close followup should take place […]”
Credit: 2023 Barbarewicz et al.
“The majority of wound infections often manifest themselves immediately postoperatively, so close followup should take place […]”
BUFFALO, NY- October 20, 2023 – A new research perspective was published in Oncoscience (Volume 10) on October 4, 2023, entitled, “Diagnosis and management of postoperative wound infections in the head and neck region.”
In everyday clinical practice at a department for oral and maxillofacial surgery, a large number of surgical procedures in the head and neck region take place under both outpatient and inpatient conditions. The basis of every surgical intervention is the patient’s consent to the respective procedure. Particular attention is drawn to the general and operation-specific risks.
Particularly in the case of soft tissue procedures in the facial region, bleeding, secondary bleeding, scarring and infection of the surgical area are among the most common complications/risks, depending on the respective procedure. In their new perspective, researchers Filip Barbarewicz, Kai-Olaf Henkel and Florian Dudde from Army Hospital Hamburg in Germany discuss the diagnosis and management of postoperative infections in the head and neck region.
“In order to minimize the wound infections/surgical site infections, aseptic operating conditions with maximum sterility are required.”
Furthermore, depending on the extent of the surgical procedure and the patient‘s previous illnesses, peri- and/or postoperative antibiotics should be considered in order to avoid postoperative surgical site infection. Abscesses, cellulitis, phlegmone and (depending on the location of the procedure) empyema are among the most common postoperative infections in the respective surgical area. The main pathogens of these infections are staphylococci, although mixed (germ) patterns are also possible.
“Risk factors for the development of a postoperative surgical site infection include, in particular, increased age, smoking, multiple comorbidities and/or systemic diseases (e.g., diabetes mellitus type II) as well as congenital and/ or acquired immune deficiency [10, 11].”
Continue reading the paper: DOI:https://doi.org/10.18632/oncoscience.589
Correspondence to: Florian Dudde
Keywords: surgical site infection, head and neck surgery
Oncoscience is a peer-reviewed, open-access, traditional journal covering the rapidly growing field of cancer research, especially emergent topics not currently covered by other journals. This journal has a special mission: Freeing oncology from publication cost. It is free for the readers and the authors.
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G77 Nations, China, Push Back On U.S. "Loss And Damage" Climate Fund In Days Leading Up To UN Summit
As was the case in primary school with bringing in presents, make sure you bring enough for the rest of the class, otherwise people get ornery...
This age old rule looks like it could be rearing its head in the days leading up to the UN COP 28 climate summit, set to take place in the United Arab Emirates in about six weeks.
At the prior UN COP 27, which took place in Egypt last year, the U.S. pushed an idea for a new World Bank "loss and damage" climate slush fund to help poor countries with climate change. But the G77 nations plus China, including many developing countries, are pushing back on the idea, according to a new report from the Financial Times.
The goal was to arrange how the fund would operate and where the money would come from for the "particularly vulnerable" nations who would have access to it prior to the upcoming summit in UAE.
But as FT notes, Pedro Luis Pedroso Cuesta, the Cuban chair of the G77 plus China group, has said that talks about these details were instead "deadlocked" over issues of - you guessed it - where the money is going and the governance of the fund.
The U.S.'s proposal for the fund to be governed by the World Bank has been rejected by the G77 after "extensive" discussions, the report says. Cuesta has said that the nations seek to have the fund managed elsewhere, but that the U.S. wasn't open to such arrangements.
Cuesta said: “We have been confronted with an elephant in the room, and that elephant is the US. We have been faced with a very closed position that it is [the World Bank] or nothing.”
Christina Chan, a senior adviser to US climate envoy John Kerry, responded: “We have been working diligently at every turn to address concerns, problem-solve, and find landing zones.” She said the U.S. has been "clear and consistent" in their messaging on the need for the fund.
Cuesta contends that the World Bank, known for lending to less affluent nations, lacks a "climate culture" and often delays decision-making, hindering quick responses to climate emergencies like Pakistan's recent severe flooding.
The G77 coalition voiced concerns about the World Bank's legal framework potentially limiting the fund's ability to accept diverse funding sources like philanthropic donations or to access capital markets.
With just days left before the UN COP 28 summit, the World Bank insists that combating climate change is integral to its mission and vows to collaborate on structuring the fund.