What you actually need to care about in 2023

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A programming note: We’ll be off next week and back to our normal schedule on Tuesday, Jan. 3.

Rainbows over Qatar: National security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke today with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani.

Sullivan conveyed big American love “for Qatar’s help securing the release of two American citizens from Afghanistan” and Qatar’s World Cup hosting, while “both sides expressed serious concern over the Taliban’s unacceptable ban on women attending university,” per a White House readout.

Meet ‘Euro Barbie’: Members of the European Parliament have fought for decades to achieve more mainstream relevance and media coverage. They probably never imagined this is the way they’d achieve it.

There’s no shortage of “year in review” coverage and “year ahead” trends predictions this week. Rather than add to the deluge, here are five claims and debates Global Insider thinks stand out among the coverage as ones you’ll likely have to care about in 2023:

How hard will Republicans fight for Trump? Once upon a time MAGA world would do anything to protect and promote former President Donald Trump, leaving nearly all the rest of the Republican party afraid to contradict him. While that’s been changing for a while now, the real question is around the pace of change: Will it be slow enough to allow Trump to carry his party’s 2024 presidential nomination, or will it become a MAGA revolution causing the movement to align with a Trump rivals such as Ron DeSantis?

Remote working legislation: More than 20 countries, from Angola to Mexico to much of Europe, now have laws on the books governing how remote working can occur. The rules usually involve written agreements with employees covering issues such as provision of necessary equipment and a right to disconnect. You won’t find Congress adding US federal legislation to that tally, but the debate around how to incentivize office work and how to protect those who don’t come back to the office will continue throughout the year.

Gen Z, the most valuable generation: They’re now 30 percent of the global population, but have an outsize influence in everything from how you receive advertising (the influencer medium is the message), to how our workforce is structured and remunerated (from woke rules to work from home).

Climate accountability: Whether you love it (climate activists) or hate it (the Texas and Florida governments) 2023 will bring a reckoning at the Securities and Exchange Commission on corporate climate and other social commitments (often referred to as ESG), which until now have been easy to make but came with little accountability around whether they were delivered.

Central bank splits: After a decade of very low or negative interest rates, the world’s major central banks are going to take different approaches to controlling inflation and avoiding recession. That’s likely to alter investment flows and tweak currency values.

5 ELECTIONS TO CARE ABOUT IN 2023

Argentina, Nigeria, Pakistan, Thailand and Turkey

Each country teeters on the edge of democracy: sometimes wildly swinging between strongmen or military leaders and elected governments; the burden of corruption often also casts a shadow.

In Turkey, having engineered a shift to a presidential system, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will face his toughest test yet in 2023 and is already working to jail opponents.

In Pakistan, former Prime Minister Imran Khan is trying to claw his way back to power. In Argentina, Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, has been barred from running via a corruption conviction. Both survived assassination attempts this year.

ISRAEL — THE AGENDA OF NETANYAHU’S RADICAL NEW GOVERNMENT: Benjamin Netanyahu‘s latest coalition government, consisting of right-wing and religious parties, plans to introduce policies that critics say will de facto annex most of the occupied West Bank.

The most crucial elements of the new policy is the transfer of Israeli management of its West Bank settlements (which are illegal under international law) from military to civilian ministries

UKRAINE CORNER

WHAT OTHER LEADERS COULD LEARN FROM ZELENSKY: Ukraine’s president continues to set the global pace in political courage and communication.

This week he went from the war’s dangerous frontline, to Washington, to a meeting with the president of Poland — Ukraine’s neighbor and essential partner for supporting more than 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees. Throughout that itinerary — from his rhetoric to his military casual clothing — Zelenskyy went directly to the heart of problems facing his country. Masha Gessencaptures that particular talent here.

We knew what he wanted in the US (more weapons and open-ended support), and he got some of it directly from the President Joe Biden. Kyiv will likely get extra aid from the Senate soon.

WAGNER GROUP CORE TO RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE: US officials are worried that the Wagner Group, a private paramilitary group with ties to the Kremlin, is becoming the predominant Russian military force in eastern Ukraine, POLITICO’s Erin Banco reported.

The Biden administration plans to designate Wagner as a military end user to ensure the group cannot gain access to any equipment based on US technology. The group is owned by Yevgeny Prigozhinan oligarch who has become critical of Putin as Russian losses have mounted since February.

IMF AGREES TO FOUR-MONTH STABILIZATION PROGRAM: While all eyes were on Zelenskyy’s visit to Washington this week, his government reached another important agreement with the International Monetary Fund. It is designed to reopen the country’s debt market and “help the authorities implement prudent macroeconomic policies during this particularly difficult period and catalyze donor financing,” per a statement from the Fund.

PANDEMICS — VACCINE FACTORY READY TO SHIP TO AFRICA: Germany’s BioNTech said it has completed construction of a vaccine factory made from shipping containers that will now be shipped to Rwanda for assembly in the first quarter of 2023.

US lawmakers are pushing back on the Rwandan regime’s human rights record.

INTERVIEW — MATTHEW POTTINGER AND WEI JINGSHENG

In the latest edition of our POLITICO @ 15 video interview series, Chinese activist Wei Jingsheng and former deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger talk about the future of democracy.

Video interview Interview transcript

MURDOCH EXPANDS LAWSUIT AGAINST SMALL AUSTRALIAN PUBLISHER:Lachlan Murdoch is seeking to add Eric Beecher and Will Hayward, chair and chief executive of Australian publisher Private Media, as respondents to a lawsuit about an article that described Murdoch as an “unindicted co-conspirator” of Trump. The latest Murdoch move was revealed by new filings to Australia’s federal court.

ROYAL FAMILY CENSORSHIP UNDER SCRUTINY: The Index on Censorship freedom of expression campaign has launched a new broadside against how the publicly funded British Royal Family controls access to its archives.

Royal death cover-up? One example provided by Index on Censorship involved the cancellation of a book about Prince GeorgeDuke of Kent (Queen Elizabeth II’s uncle) who died in an air crash in Scotland in 1942 while serving with Britain’s Royal Air Force. The author who planned to write about his death now believes there is a cover-up

This issue will continue to fester: The role of the monarchy during the end of the British Empire after World War II is of huge interest to historians, as is, increasingly, the institution’s role in Britain’s earlier slave trade. But many files in the National Archives relating to royal visits to colonies and links to the slave trade are still closed, making the archives an ongoing campaign target.

MOVES

Lynn Tracy is confirmed as the US ambassador to Russia by a 93-2 Senate vote. A career diplomat, Tracy succeeds John J. Sullivan.

BOOK: The Lion Houseby Christopher de Bellaigue: “I can’t recall another occasion when I had so much pleasure in the reading and reviewing of a book,” writes Wall Street Journal’s Tunku Varadarajan.

Thanks to editor Heidi Vogt and producer Hannah Farrow.

And special end of year thanks to everyone who made Global Insider a success this year: all of you, our readers; editors Matt Kaminski, Luiza Savage, Ben Pauker and John Yearwood; the unflagging Nahal Toosi and permanently supportive Alex Ward and Daniel Lippman; and the whole POLITICO team in Europe.

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