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Economy Coronavirus CSS Blog

GDP Growth Forecast for Russia for 2020 and 2021 (% yoy)

 

This graphic breaks down the GDP growth forecast for Russia in 2020 and 2021. Forecasts range from slightly negative values to -6 percent. The drastic economic consequences of the quarantine measures explain why 2020 GDP estimates for Russia are currently extremely divergent.

For more on how Russia is facing the economic crisis posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, see Russian Analytical Digest 251 on ‘Russia and the Covid-19 Pandemic’.

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Technology Coronavirus CSS Blog

Facial Recognition will Outlast COVID-19

Image courtesy of StockSnap/Pixabay

This blog belongs to the CSS’ coronavirus blog series, which forms a part of the center’s analysis of the security policy implications of the coronavirus crisis. See the CSS special theme page on the coronavirus for more.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented spread of facial coverings while simultaneously accelerating the adoption of digital surveillance tools, including facial recognition systems (FRS). However, whereas the facemasks will disappear again, FRS are not only poised to stay, but to keep on expanding. Consequently, governments should address the issues of bias and robustness by testing and certifying FRS. Even more importantly, there is a need to explore and discuss acceptable socio-technical configurations (cultural norms, technical standards, infrastructure, laws, etc.) around the increased legibility of citizens to the state.

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Health Coronavirus CSS Blog

WHO Funding

This graphic outlines the World Health Organization’s funding by donor groups, as well as assessed and voluntary contributions. Countries are still the most important sources of funding, contributing almost 60 per cent of the agency’s budget. Its dependency on voluntary donations makes it particularly difficult for the WHO to put its donors under too much pressure.

For more on the WHO’s alleged pro-China bias during the coronavirus pandemic, read Jan Thiel’s CSS Analysis in Security Policy here.

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Defense Coronavirus CSS Blog

The New EU Budget and Defense: Narrowing the Capabilities-Expectations Gap

Image courtesy of Guillaume Périgois/Unsplash.

This blog belongs to the CSS’ coronavirus blog series, which forms a part of the center’s analysis of the security policy implications of the coronavirus crisis. See the CSS special theme page on the coronavirus for more.

The EU as a foreign policy and security actor is often haunted by the “capabilities-expectation gap”, referring to the discrepancy between the expectations citizens and states have about the EU’s international role and what the EU is actually able to deliver. The gap consists of three main components: available instruments, resources, and the ability to agree.

The 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) will go down in history as the EU’s coronavirus budget – unprecedented in volume and the raising of joint debt. It features several new defense initiatives complementing the EU’s long-standing efforts to narrow the capabilities-expectations gap. While the budget places promising new instruments at the EU’s disposal, the trimming of resources initially allocated and unchanged decision-making procedures significantly dim the prospects for those initiatives to deliver the expected results. If these projects are to bear fruit, they must be prioritized and interlinked with existing programs and supported by strong financial commitments by the member states.

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Coronavirus CSS Blog

Infectious Narratives: US, China, and COVID-19

Image courtesy of Morning Brew/Unsplash.

This blog belongs to the CSS’ coronavirus blog series, which forms a part of the center’s analysis of the security policy implications of the coronavirus crisis. See the CSS special theme page on the coronavirus for more.

Stories exert power by constructing one way of understanding the world and by effectively communicating that “reality” to others. Conflict actors understand this when they seek to define the terms in which a conflict takes place, representing themselves as morally sound and the other side as illegitimate.

Building on the work of narrative mediator Sara Cobb, we analyze how the respective governments of the US and China have depicted the origins and the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic as the fault of the other side. In recent months, COVID-19 has become central to the US and China’s creation of “master narratives”. Master narratives hugely simplify the plot and characters, contain moral judgments, and form the basis for the generation and perpetuation of a conflict tale. This serves both governments in deflecting criticism away from their domestic responsibilities. Tensions have escalated between the two world powers as a result.