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Forecast: Euros begin, Switzerland hosts Ukraine peace summit, and South Korean doctors strike

Group of people wearing yellow vests holding protest signs in Korean.

Welcome to Factal Forecast, a look at the week’s biggest stories from the editors at Factal.

We publish our forward-looking note each Thursday to help you get a jump-start on the week ahead.

Negotiations aimed at attaining a ceasefire in the war in Gaza continued this week as the fighting moved into its eighth month. In this week’s Factal Forecast podcast, Senior Editor Jimmy Lovaas and Editor Agnese Boffano discuss the apparent sticking points as well as a recent Israeli political development that may impact the talks.

Listen now or download on your favorite platform. 

Week of June 14 – 21
A Look Ahead

June 13 – Tesla shareholders meeting  

Tesla shareholders will vote Thursday on whether to restore CEO Elon Musk’s $44.9 billion compensation package, a day before a new round of layoffs are set to begin.

What’s happened so far 
In January, a Delaware judge sided with investors, striking down a 2018 pay package that had been the largest in corporate America, calling it an “unfathomable sum” that was unfair to stockholders. Meanwhile, in April, Musk announced internally a reduction of more than 10 percent of his company’s global workforce which will see an estimated 10,000 employees let go, including more than 6,700 in California, Texas, New York and Nevada. Layoffs started in April after the company reported its smallest profit margin in more than four years and a fall in sales in the first quarter of 2024. Another round of layoffs is set to begin in Texas and California on Friday. 

The impact 
While shareholders are likely to approve Musk’s pay package, some have suggested the mercurial tech figure could leave the company if it isn’t. Meanwhile, Tesla attributed the layoffs to production issues, and justified the decision to reduce staff by citing a duplication of roles and job functions after a period of growth. The new round of layoffs will affect more than 600 employees at California’s Palo Alto and Fremont facilities, and an estimated 2,700 people expected to be affected in Texas.

June 14 – Euros begin  

On Friday, the German national soccer team will play against Scotland in Munich to inaugurate the 2024 UEFA European Championship. 

What’s happened so far 
Twenty-four national soccer teams will be heading to 10 cities across Germany for this year’s competition, with the soccer organization UEFA allocating approximately 2.7 million tickets for the entirety of the tournament, which is set to end July 14. Aside from those with tickets, millions of fans from across Europe are expected to travel to Germany to designated fan zones for the matches.

The impact 
While there have been rumors of possible risks following the Crocus City Hall attack in the outskirts of Moscow, Germany says security has been prioritized ahead of the tournament, especially around their borders and major transit hubs. Scuffles between fans before and after matches, however, are likely.

June 15 – Ukraine peace proposal summit  

Over 100 countries and organizations have confirmed their attendance at a summit beginning Saturday in Switzerland in the latest push for peace in Ukraine. Russia was not invited to the summit and China is yet to confirm attendance, prompting speculation over what the event can realistically achieve.

What’s happened so far 
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused both Russia and China of attempts to disrupt the summit, claiming Russia has threatened multiple countries with a blockade on food, agricultural and chemical products in an effort to dissuade them from attending. Russia also openly called on countries to not attend the event, claiming its purpose is to “develop and present to Russia an unacceptable ultimatum.” Ukraine is expected to put forward three points from its 2022 Peace Formula that will form the basis for discussion, including nuclear safety, food security and the return of prisoners and children abducted by Russia.

The impact 
The summit is likely to galvanize western support for Ukraine and may also draw the backing of other countries at the summit. While Moscow is likely to reject a new draft peace proposal, it may provide the foundations for further discussions in the future and increase international pressure on Russia to return to the negotiations table with its own proposals.

June 15 – China coast guard rules go into effect

A new order by China’s coast guard will go into effect Saturday, allowing its personnel to detain foreign vessels and people suspected of “trespassing” in Beijing-claimed waters for up to 60 days.

What’s happened so far 
In May, the Chinese coast guard issued a set of new rules detailing the enforcement of “administrative cases that occur in the waters under China’s jurisdiction”. China claims a large portion of the South China Sea demarcated by its so-called “nine-dash line”, including the disputed Scarborough Shoal, Spratly Island and Parcel island. While the order does not specifically mention the South China Sea, analysts warn the move could provoke further flare ups in the region. Tension has continued to rise in the waterway of late, with the Philippines using civilian missions to supply food and fuel to its fishermen and Chinese ships firing water cannons at Philippine vessels.

The impact 
Experts say the latest move is part of China’s “gray zone” strategy, which aims to create ambiguity and normalize Beijing’s presence in waters such as the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait. Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr  said the rules are “worrisome” and that the Philippines will use “any point of contact with China” to protect its fishermen. 

June 18 – Boeing CEO testifies before Senate panel  

The CEO of American aerospace giant Boeing will testify before a Senate panel Tuesday.

What’s happened so far 
According to Sen. Richard Blumenthal, chair of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, CEO Dave Calhoun’s appearance before the committee will be to address a string of safety issues this year with Boeing civilian aircraft, the most notable of which involved a cabin door blowing off of a 737 MAX in-flight, prompting the FAA to ground the planes. The 737 MAX woes extend back to 2018 and 2019, however, when two crashes in the span of a few months due to faulty automated maneuvering features killed 346 people and prompted a worldwide grounding of the airplane. 

The impact 
Calhoun has already announced his intention to step down by the end of the year in a broader board shakeup that investors hope will fix Boeing’s quality control and production woes. While the company once dominated the commercial airplane market, it has continued to lose market share to France-based Airbus, and Boeing’s next CEO will face the crucial decision regarding whether or not to produce a new aircraft.

June 18 – South Korea doctors’ strike

South Korea’s largest lobby group for doctors intends to launch a full-scale strike Tuesday, a new escalation in months-long protests by doctors against government plans to significantly increase medical school admissions.

What’s happened so far 
South Korea’s government has long been planning to boost the country’s number of medical students and doctors, and seems poised to do so after a court recently ruled in their favor. Thousands of trainee doctors in South Korea walked off the job in February in protest, and many have remained on strike since then, impacting some major hospitals where they make up a considerable percentage of the medical staff. 

The impact 
Emergency rooms and intensive care units will remain in operation, but the strike organizers said more than 70 percent of its 140,000 members will participate in the walkout and a mass rally on Tuesday, which would leave a major vacuum in medical services for South Korea. The government continues to threaten license suspensions for doctors who refuse to treat patients as part of the strike.

June 21 – Hearing to dismiss Trump classified documents trial  

After being found guilty of 34 felonies in his hush money trial, former President Donald Trump will try to avoid a different set of charges during an unusual hearing set to begin Friday.

What’s happened so far 
Special Counsel Jack Smith began investigating Trump in Nov. 2022 for his mishandling of classified documents. Based on the findings, a Florida grand jury indicted Trump on dozens of felony charges in June 2023. Federal Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, was randomly assigned to the case. Since then, she has made several rulings that have been perceived as beneficial to Trump. One such ruling is an upcoming hearing in which she will hear arguments from outside parties that the appointment of Smith was invalid.

The impact 
Many legal experts questioned this hearing, with some calling it “almost unheard of.” The presumptive Republican presidential nominee welcomed the news of the hearing because, even if the appointment of Smith is upheld, this helps run out the clock on the trial until after the election. His other trials are also facing significant delays, making it unlikely he will face judgment before November 5. If he wins the election, Trump will almost certainly squash the federal charges he’s facing as soon as he takes office.

What Else Matters

Man in a suit sitting at a table in front of an open window with the French and European Union flags.
In a televised address on June 9, 2024, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the dissolution of the National Assembly. (Photo: Élysée)

French elections and protests 

In wake of electoral defeat at the European Union elections, French President Emmanuel Macron dissolved the country’s National Assembly, triggering domestic elections in a moment where the far-right seems poised to make major gains. In response, progressive French citizens have flooded the streets of several cities, including Paris, Rennes and Lyon, to protest the rise of the RN.

Watch for: European Parliament elections saw the far-right Rassemblement National (RN), headed by 28-year-old Jordan Bardella, win the most seats with over 30 percent of the vote. Conversely, Macron’s Besoin d’Europe party underperformed, winning 15 percent of votes. Responding to the defeat, Macron dissolved the National Assembly, the more influential half of France’s bicameral legislature, reportedly for the sake of democracy and responding to the voter’s will. While Macron himself will rule until 2027, early polling shows RN could win a plurality of seats. The modern RN have abandoned some of their more extreme anti-semitic, nativist and eurosceptic positions, but a RN prime minister would sabotage Macron’s agenda. Voting will take place on June 30 and then again on July 7 for districts in need of a runoff. Under the specter of a possible RN-controlled legislature, France’s left wing parties have flirted with forming an electoral coalition, as they did in 2022.

Israel-Hamas ceasefire negotiations

On Monday, the UN Security Council voted to adopt a resolution endorsing the U.S.-proposed ceasefire that would seek an end to the eight-month long war in Gaza. The proposal, first presented by U.S. President Joe Biden earlier in the month, was a three-phase suggestion that would ultimately see full withdrawal of the Israeli military from the Gaza Strip, a full return of all Israeli hostages and eventually the full cessation of fighting. The resolution was passed just days after a deadly Israeli operation to retrieve four hostages in Nuseirat Camp, Gaza, led to the death of more than 270 Palestinians, according to the Gaza health ministry.

Watch for: The UN resolution is non-binding but it does put further pressure on both sides to reach a ceasefire agreement as the Palestinian toll in the Gaza Strip surpasses 37,000 people.  Analysts believe that following the resignation of Benny Gantz, a member of the Israeli war cabinet, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition will need to seek more support from the right-wing members who have historically been more critical of any post-war Gaza proposals. Despite Israel’s operation in Nuseirat, the government is facing significant criticism over their inability to return the more than 120 other hostages still believed to be remaining in the Gaza Strip, and pressure to accept a proposal with a clause determining the immediate release of all hostages.

Extended Outlook

What’s on our radar in the coming weeks…

June 14-21

June 14

  • Euros begin

June 15

  • Ukraine draft peace proposal summit in Switzerland
  • China coast guard rules go into effect

June 18

  • Thailand’s former PM faces charges over monarchy insults
  • Boeing CEO testifies before US Senate panel
  • South Korea doctor’s strike

June 20

  • Coronation of 17th King of Malaysia
  • Hearing to dismiss Trump’s classified documents trial

June 22-28

June 22

  • Chad presidential runoff

June 24

  • Netanyahu speaks at US Congress

June 26

  • Possible last day of water from Mexico City’s Cutzamala system
  • RIMPAC exercise around Hawaiian Islands
  • BBC Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer debate
  • NBA draft

June 27

  • CNN Biden-Trump electoral debate

June 28

  • Iran presidential election

June 29-July 5

June 29

  • Mauritania elections

June 30

  • Deadline for Pakistan to pass necessary legislation to receive IMF loan’
  • EU to end military mission to Niger
  • NYC Pride march
  • WSJ reporter pre-trial detention in Moscow expires
  • First round of French National Assembly elections

July 1

  • China to restrict exports on aviation, aerospace equipment
  • Uber, Lyft services set to leave Minneapolis

July 2

  • Russian detention of US soldier expires 

July 4

  • UK general election

July 6-12

July 7

  • Second round of French National Assembly elections 

July 9

  • NATO Summit in Washington, D.C.

July 11

  •     Trump sentencing

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