miercuri, 27 ianuarie 2021

20 years of major crises seen through the lens of Brussels


In the last 20 years we have witnessed various crises, some with European or even global impact. The European affairs market has always been very sensitive to these phenomena. Some examples are worth noting.


I still remember the dark day of 9/11. Already working at EURACTIV, I felt like the whole activity in Brussels was paralysed. Everyone was asking questions, launching scenarios and predicting how this major event would change the world. In a material published in my first book, I present the atmosphere of autumn 2001: "Fear of movement" is the expression that perfectly defines the current situation. Fear of opening letters so as not to be infested with anthrax, fear of traveling by plane, fear of externalizing yourself. After the US (and British) air force attacked the Taliban on October 7, 2001, the situation eased, but it was still difficult to interact on sectoral policy issues in the European capital for several months.


The spring of 2005 brought us an atypical crisis, but worth mentioning. The whole of Europe was shocked by the double rejection of the European Constitution in the referendums in France and the Netherlands. The ratification process had stalled, and in June 2005 EU leaders decided to begin a "reflection period" before deciding where to go after the crisis. We mentioned then, in an article entitled "The European Titanic" takes water, but the captains assure us that it does not sink, that the process of European construction enters a long road of "rethinking", in which "the European dream must be brought to reality".


The financial and economic crisis hit Brussels hard in 2008. I wrote in the autumn of that year that in the case of the European Union, the response to the crisis was delayed, but it was an exercise for Member States, which were forced to communicate with each other, to compromise and learn to express themselves in one voice. The "new voice of the Union" is proof that we can have far-reaching actions at Community level.


The terrorist crisis has had a huge impact on European affairs. The two bombs detonated on March 22, 2016 in Brussels horrified European society. "In the De Brouckere metro station we are asked to get out of the metro and leave the premises. On the surface we are informed that at 4 stations where we were, there were massive explosions in the subway line. According to the plan, I had to get to that station in about 5 minutes ", I was telling that day.


Of course, the spring of 2020, when Brussels was hit by the pandemic crisis, is still fresh in our memory. I then presented how the Brussels lobby has adapted to the Corona crisis. "The last few months confirm this tendency to interact virtually. The question is: what will the European business market look like in 6-12 months, what is the new normal?''


Even this year's event in the United States had an impact on Brussels. On January 6, 2021, through the eyes of news channel CNN, the European Union was shocked by the anarchist movements in the American capital. Until the official inauguration of Biden on January 20, there were many moments of strategic waiting…


Unfortunately, the crisis continues. Pandemic, economic, political, societal… Good luck wherever you are!


Dan LUCA / Brussels





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