miercuri, 27 februarie 2019

10 non-conformist assumptions for the political year 2019

We will witness enormous surprises in the political year 2019. Let's look at the political actuality through different lenses, which certainly do not fall into the category "politically correct".

I’m launching 10 topics, using pertinent questions:
1. Venezuela. Is this the perfect crisis for the US President in order to win next autumn’s elections? Everything is possible, since the same scenario was tested 16 years ago, when President George W. Bush forced the invasion of Iraq and then had a turnkey re-election. I do not believe in spontaneity, since last year Colombia became the only global partner for NATO in Latin America and now the country hosts thousands of American soldiers on its territory...
2. Angela Merkel. No one doubts the support of the German Chancellor for the European project. She is definitely a convinced pro-European... In 2019 we redefine the Future of Europe, and a European Union of 2040 needs great ideas (vision) and real leaders to communicate these ideas. Can you imagine the power of the EU with Angela Merkel as President of the European Commission?
3. France. Why do two EU countries sign a new treaty, called the Treaty of Aachen? France needs Germany and Germany needs France. Politically, but especially economically. Only by sticking together can the French industry recover, and the European (industrial) championship is the perfect glove for Emmanuel Macron under great internal pressure. And France can take over the leadership of the European defense after the departure of the British...
4. Siemens-Alstom. Do you really think these companies are launching a procedure without knowing about competition law in the EU? It is actually a test case of the European economic project. We cannot create industrial champions at EU level because of competition laws, but at the same time European companies are too small to compete with American, Chinese or even Japanese. It is a priority over the next five years to change the approach, while respecting the SMEs at the same time.
5. Brexit. Who is the winner in the medium term for UK leaving the EU? I do not mean the next 5-10 years, because a divorce procedure is normally always painful for both parties. Without the British, however, the European Union can move to the next phase of European integration. I refer here to the common euro budget, common taxation, European army or coordinated foreign policy… to recall just a few sensitive points.
6. EU with two speeds. Is it still not clear what the delimitation is between Euroland countries and those that have not adopted the European common currency? Let’s wait and see what happens next… The euro budget becomes the hard core of European deciding countries, and the rest is periphery.
7. Russia. Do we still believe in the concept of Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals, presented by General Charles de Gaulle after the Second World War? It is clear that there is no question of Russia entering the EU. The country does not want it, because as the Moscow leaders said in the 1990s, "we are too big to enter such a small structure. Take the map of the world and see the reality.” That does not mean there are no strategic cooperation bridges. Germany needs natural gas, which the Russians possess abundantly, and the Russians need technology and expertise, which Germany has in its fullest. Why not openly acknowledge the reality, as a former German Chancellor Schroeder presented it: "Europe, in order to survive politically between superpowers such as the US and China needs the potential of Russia. We need this country's market and, above all, its resources."
8. Apolitical movements. What is still apolitical in a globalized and super-technological world like the EU? The emergence of apolitical groups in the public space, but with a huge political impact, is driving the public agenda in some European countries. It is hard to combat citizens who are not politically enrolled, high school students or even young people in general. About 6 months ago we had scenarios in relation to a possible macronization of the European Parliament, and the "Yellow Vests" movement also comes from France. Is it a revolution? Is it Melanchon's revenge for the 2017 presidential election? In the same context we can look at the high school students' protest in Brussels. They promise a weekly street move to save the planet by openly protesting against an inert Belgian political class... I remember with great sympathy the efforts of young British people who wanted to prevent Brexit. It was a pity that the impact was not the one they wanted, but these exteriorizations matter.
9. MEPs in yellow vests. What can the recent meeting of the Italian Deputy Prime Minister with the "Yellow Vests" in Paris bring? In practice, a leader of the French movement can find himself/herself on an eligible place on the European elections list of the 5-Star Movement. The same procedure was tested by FIDESZ (Hungary) with MEP Tokes (Romania) in 2014.
10. Financial Markets. The context of the European elections in May 2019 will put the financial markets on fire? In the opinion of experts from the City of London, EP elections are strongly monitored. For the first time a clear link between the composition of the next European Parliament and the Market is mentioned. A catastrophic scenario is still possible for the EU and the world of finance is curious if pro-Europeans will win the European elections...

Dan LUCA / Brussels

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