It is a time when uncertainties are huge and the future is more unpredictable than in other years. It is much easier to project questions in public than to risk making totally wrong predictions. The European Union is also on the verge of big dilemmas, and a top 10 of the main topics is quickly taking shape.
1) Of course, the 100-points question is the same in European Brussels. How long will the pandemic last? When will we have the much dreamed vaccine and what is the horizon of returning to our normal life?
2) No one is challenging the entry into a major economic crisis, but the questions also come from this level. How deep is the crisis? What sectors will survive? Will European governments have enough money to support the population and the economic ecosystem so as not to derail towards anarchy?
3) Billions of reconstruction measures are being drawn up, but there is still a long way to go before they are absorbed. How will they be distributed? Who will be able to structure the national system in order to have a successful mechanism?
4) Will the European project have the power to continue the good intentions of the current European leadership? Can we really conceive of the European Green Deal, the digital agenda, multilateralism or the relationship with Africa continuing as announced a year ago?
5) Can European sovereignty take shape? I'm not just talking about the ability to produce oxygen devices or masks in the continent's factories. We are talking here about the famous European defense capability or even projects like Gaia X, which wants digital sovereignty.
6) Of course, the European Union will once again enter the crosshairs of nationalists, who will have meta-questions about the future of the EU, with exact references to the balance of political power between Brussels and the capitals. Will the Conference for the Future of the EU succeed in catalyzing the institutional discussion on the future of European society?
7) The US elections are being watched with great interest by European political factors. In the event of the re-election of the current president, what can we expect? How far can the transatlantic rupture, the basis of world development over the last 75 years, go? Or even if Democrats reoccupy the White House, will Americans still have the time to revive true global multilateralism? America in 2020 is no longer what it was 4 years ago.
8) Brexit is certainly something that needs to be followed, and the fundamental question is about the future partnership between the UK and the EU. Will we have the hoped-for agreement after January 1, 2021?
9) We talked a little about Germany, but this country occupies the next two positions at the top. And both are based on the September 2021 elections. Will the Greens be able to join the ruling coalition? Such an eventuality will have a huge impact on European legislation, especially on climate change.
10) Again about the German elections, now a look at the Social Democrats. Will they be able to win enough seats in the German Parliament to form a coalition without Angela Merkel's party (Christian Democrats)? Such a possibility would signal a major change at European level. The 2024 European elections may bring a Left president of the European Commission back after a 20-year hiatus. For this, however, the Left needs to hold the top position on the German political chessboard.
Dan LUCA / Brussels
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