This week, the topics analyzed for our international relations column were: updates about the new Omicron variant, the new right-wing female candidate in France, Valérie Pecrésse, and China yielding a part of its benefits as a “developing country” in WTO.
Until last week, not much was confirmed about the new COVID-19 variant, named Omicron, but scientists have stated that the booster jab decreases the risk of COVID-19 symptoms by 75% for those who took the Pfizer vaccine and 70% for those who took Oxford-Astrazeneca, and it can reduce by 90% when it comes to the Delta variant. Yet, there hasn’t been any known cases of patients who were hospitalized or killed by the new Omicron variant, but health organizations encourage people to take the booster jab, when possible, to avoid any possible complications. It’s expected that the COVID-19 cases will rise in December in the United Kingdom which is experiencing a large number of infected people. Still, there isn’t much information about the lethality of the variant and how the many vaccines used interact with the new mutations, however, many expect to worsen the pandemic scenario.
The rise of Valérie Pécresse, a right-wing female candidate against Emmanuel Macron for the French presidential elections in 2022, is being characterized as “1/3 Thatcher, 2/3 Merkel” and the public opinion is suggesting that there is a high possibility she will defeat Macron and become the first female president of France. There is a lot of criticism about the political background of Pécresse and many accuse her of not having the proper set of skills to be president, however, if the elections were held today, Pécresse would beat Macron with 52% of the votes. So far, there is a lot of speculation about whether Pécresse is fit for the job or not, but we can confirm that she is, indeed, a powerful candidate.
China is willing to yield on a range of benefits as a “developing” country according to the Chinese ambassador at World Trade Organization which will affect the trading pattern with partners. Nonetheless, China is still considered a developing country, and nothing was said about when that definition would come to an end. One of the examples of the benefits as a developing country is subsidies in areas such as fishing, and China suffers a lot of criticism when it comes to the use of subsidies in State companies. The ambassador did not address this criticism directly, affirming that they will keep an open mind to it, yet, showed himself willing to cooperate with the organization, but claimed that it was unfair to blame China when it comes to problems in the steel industries and the country uses most of the production internally.