For Europe, 2021 will be the year of “posts”: post Brexit, post Trump, post Kovid-19, but also post Merkel. This is a year during which we will have to deal with the legacy of two normal years, 2020 and 2014, create a new normal, and finally look forward.
2020 began and ended with Brexit, though epidemics and US elections were overseen on the subject in between. Shortly before Christmas, the European Union and the United Kingdom finally reached an agreement, avoiding the dreaded “No Deal Brexit”. As both sides have declared themselves winners, and most experts have stuck to the narrative of Brexit as a game where everyone is a loser, European politicians finally turn the page of this never-ending story Can. Of course, all the important issues that are open are closed, but Britain is no longer part of the European Union.
Most people on both sides had already closed the case. Before 2020 he accepted Brexit, and focused on more concrete issues, from education to housing and then public health. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will argue that he has kept his campaign promise, while Labor will continue to struggle to find at least a coherent, if not popular, position on Brexit.
The costs of leaving the European Union, however, will soon become apparent, and if some can be hidden under the guise of the Kovid-19 crisis, others, such as regional issues, will be at the center of attention.
First, Brexit will top the agenda in Scottish elections in May 2021, as popular Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party (SNP) will campaign on a proposal for a second independence referendum, promising an independent Scotland. Within the European Union. Secondly, the relationship between the Catholic and Protestant communities in Northern Ireland as well as Ireland and the UK will be severely tested, as no one knows how the 2020 EU-UK deal fits together and the 1998 Good Friday Which put an end to decades of conflict. Finally, the new year will demonstrate whether the new love for the Conservative Party of conquered England, along with the promise of Brexit, will resist the break with the European Union.
In addition to defining the (many) final details of the agreement with the UK, the European Union must also begin to rethink its relationship with London. It must begin to overcome the unwilling, and even “ungrateful” partner’s attitude, and develop a new relationship based on mutual dependence and sovereignty. While similar relationships already exist, for example with Norway and Switzerland, neither of these countries has the power and relevance of Britain. And both the European Union and the latter must do so as they face a new, partially familiar situation across the Atlantic.
The second legacy of 2016 is tied to the outgoing US President Donald Trump. Although he spouts and shouts, at least on Twitter, Trump will leave the White House on January 20 and be replaced by President-Elect Joe Biden. Brussels and most European capitals will collectively relieve, with a few exceptions (Budapest, Ljubljana and Warsaw in particular), and a return to normal will quickly reestablish. But Biden would not be a new Barack Obama (and Obama himself was not the president he now remembers).
On the bright side, despite four years of obsessive political and public debate about every single Trump’s tweet, his legacy is likely to be small, if not marginal, especially in the context of EU-American relations. It is clear that European nobles have forgiven everything to Americans and are eager to return to the past. The United States will have to change slightly to return to previous levels of cooperation, most notably to replace some ambassadors and secretary of state, as most of the US diplomatic apparatus has essentially been retained.
But even if President Biden supports the European Union, and wants closer cooperation with his traditional European allies to deal with China, Iran and Russia, they will not solve the Union’s foreign policy problems. With the United States looking more for the Pacific than the Atlantic, the European Union will have to develop its foreign policy, or simply become an Indian citizen. Because, despite Biden being transatlantic, his presidency would be defined by how the United States treats “rogue” states, and the fact that many Americans support “America First” foreign policy, though In a more liberal form. Compared to Trump.
It is not 100% sure that Europe – nor the world – will overtake the epidemic by 2020; Theoretically, the majority of Europeans should be vaccinated by 2021 and this should allow us to establish a new economic and social commonality. However, economic costs will be felt for at least another year, and the pressure to spread these costs evenly among European countries will continue to divide the union. This will be further complicated by some major elections, notably in the Netherlands (March) and Germany (September), two countries that have often supported austerity policies at the European level.
After a disastrous “non-political” first, the European Union has recovered quite well, setting off modest collective reactions in terms of economic aid and public health. Both will be more difficult to accomplish because the epidemic is over, and other priorities, often national, will once again dominate political and public debate. Furthermore, investment in prevention is popular only when it is too late, that is, when an economic or health crisis has broken out. Facing the economic consequences of Brexit and Kovid-19, pressure will be increased in many northern European states to spend at home rather than “abroad”, which the European Union still remains for most Europeans.
Finally, 2021’s political career will end Women Europe, Angela Merkel, who will not be reelected. The German Chancellor finally received the accolades she deserved, and she was often rejected even after 2016. Along with right-wing populist narcissists such as Johnson and Trump, international media have begun to praise the calm and competence Merkel has ignored since becoming Chancellor in 2005. There is now a widespread European consensus that the return of the “mutty” will leave a very large void in the heart of European politics: in fact, some argue that Merkel, liberal democracy, is threatened throughout Europe even without the “liberal”.
Merkel has been the leader of the European Union’s most powerful state for more than a decade and a half. However, she has never been a strong European leader, nor has she defended liberal democracy in the European Union (and beyond). Angela Merkel was a “Germany first” chancellor who privileged German interests over European crises ranging from the Great Recession to the so-called “refugee crisis”. It also helped get Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to create a totalitarian state within the European Union, patronizing German (auto) industries with the patronage of its Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and clapping them with economic success . And good deals.
This is not to say that Merkel was Europe’s problem, but she was certainly not Europe’s defender. Furthermore, his successor as head of the CDU, and therefore almost certainly the Chancellor, will certainly have little change. For Germany, the European Union is fine as it is and there is widespread opposition in the country and not to mention a vision – to use a more active European leadership in the EU. If indeed there is a new European reality, which will move beyond a simple return to a slightly adjusted “pre-2016” position, it will be decided by the most important election of 2021 in Europe: one for the leadership of the CDU, 15 and 16 January To .
(Translation by Francesca Barca)
Devoted problem solver. Tv advocate. Avid zombie aficionado. Proud twitter nerd. Subtly charming alcohol geek.