Will the Red Sea crisis impact Western commercial and political functions?


The Red Sea crisis, caused by Houthi militants’ attacks on cargo ships headed to Israel, has led to the largest diversion of international trade in recent decades and an economic crisis of hardly traceable size and scope. Consider that the damage to Italy’s foreign trade alone, from November 2023 to date, amounts to 8.8 billion euros (95 million per day).

The transportation costs of a “typical” container from Shanghai to Europe have more than quadrupled in just a month and a half (+350%), and there are significant concerns about its impact on inflation (up to an additional 2%, according to some estimates).

In such a worrying context, Italy, France, and Germany, along with Portugal, Greece, Denmark, and the Netherlands, have pushed for the launch of a European military mission to protect merchant traffic. It will be called “Aspides” and will have the task of defending merchant ships from Houthi attacks. The official go-ahead from the 27 EU foreign ministers is expected on February 19.

Therefore, the Red Sea crisis represents a new disturbing piece of the dramatic puzzle of international balances which, in recent months, has been adding up to the war between Russia and Ukraine: its political repercussions are still all to be deciphered.

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