Finally, some good news for Europe! The Eurozone economy is booming, eclipsing the United States. Economic growth in the 19-member currency bloc is nearing its highest level in a decade. Joblessness is falling, and the rate of hiring for new employees is at a 17-year high. Consumer and business confidence are at numbers undreamed of since 2001.
The election of Emmanuel Macron in France has put a spring in the steps of pro-Europeans. The EU has recovered from the initial shock of the 2016 Brexit referendum and has displayed uncharacteristic unity and discipline during the negotiations. Losing Britain as a member will be painful, but it may also be a catalyst for change; the UK is, after all, widely seen as an impediment to deeper integration.
With US foreign policy drifting under President Donald Trump, the EU sees its chance to play a bigger role in world affairs. After Trump announced his intention to pull out of the Paris Agreement, Europe has taken the opportunity to once again position itself as the global leader in the fight against climate change.
Yet let’s not get carried away. Public frustration and anger are still high, with populist movements capitalising on widespread resentment of the political class. There were major terror attacks in Barcelona, London, and Manchester. The European response to migration flows and refugees still seems confused, and thousands died in 2017 attempting the Mediterranean crossing.
Was 2017 a good year for Europe? And what will 2018 bring? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!