2019 was the year when climate change went mainstream. The climate strikes in September, with the public face of Greta Thunberg, and against a backdrop of extreme weather events (heatwaves, the Amazon fires, flooding in Venice) really made people sit up and take notice. Air pollution and ocean plastics were also big topics this year, with environmental issues finally catching public attention alongside topics like migration, terrorism, and the economy.

The Notre Dame fire in April was one of the most-Googled news items of 2019. The thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall in November also attracted global interest, and the cricket and rugby world cups were the sporting events that trended internationally.

Globally, 2019 was marked by protests and power politics: the Trump impeachment, mass protests in Hong Kong, the Xinjiang “re-education” camps, the livestreamed attack in Christchurch, the crisis in Venezuela, and more.

In Europe, the EU elections in May were obviously pretty important. Voter turnout increased, and the big story was perhaps that smaller parties did well, though traditional centre-right and centre-left parties just about managed to hang on (and populist and far-right parties failed to break through in a big way).

Brexit has been a long-running and confusing drama. Theresa May formally resigned in July, and most recently Boris Johnson won a stonking great majority in December. There will be plenty more Brexit drama in 2020, no doubt.

2019 is a year of fresh starts. There is now a new European Commission in place, a new European Parliament, a new head of the European Central Bank (and a new chief of the International Monetary Fund). Could this be the opportunity for a change of direction, and a more outward-looking Europe? Let’s see what 2020 brings.

Was 2019 a good year? And what will 2020 bring? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below!

IMAGE CREDITS: (c) BigStock – Daniele Cossu

16 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    Politically and socially speaking, definitely not. Another year of growing instability and marginal groups challenging the established order. The world is rapidly resembling that of the 1930s with a protracted and crawling crisis in the making.

  2. avatar

    I had beer and pizza most nights. I’d say that was a pretty good year

  3. avatar

    What does that mean? It was good for some people and terrible for anothers.

    • avatar
      Debating Europe

      Hi Chris, how was it for you?

    • avatar

      @Debating Europe Not great, but not terrible. Thanks for asking!

  4. avatar

    Why a good Year? For me it was a good Year with health for my beloved and me. In terms of politics, no , Portugal is a Socialist country for more than 40 years. A poor country where the Oligarcs rule.

  5. avatar

    What Europe did for me this year?

  6. avatar

    Personally ok…, politically we are heading to a massive chaos. After communism and fascism, we got extreme liberalism… Unfortunately it will eventually lead to 3rd ww. Common sense and normal human nature is getting to a destorted gender terror, migration terror and extreme pc terror. Very sad….

  7. avatar

    Yes… quite good for the USAn military industrial complex – NATO seeding confrontations, new sanctions against Russia, EU media supporting islamist-side propaganda (from Syria / shady helmets, OPCW doctored reports, Chinas’ fight against islamization and India’s new laws).
    Thank you EU for making this happen.

  8. avatar

    2019: The Year of Hypocrisy.

  9. avatar

    @Debating Europe, Honestly I see a striking resemblance with the 1920s-1930s
    The coming of Dadaism; the expansion of feudalistic laws of properties back then – the nowadays digital feudalism as patents, intellectual property; the rise of far-left as opposition to democratic representation or direct democratic vote; speech censorship in hopes of curving nationalism / conservatism; so forth…
    There are plenty of signs out there we are going through the same turmoil as the 30s:
    -> People feel that some people should be silenced in order to promote peace
    -> Important problems like poverty is not solved, and poverty turns to votes, votes might turn to evil
    -> Taxes get harsher for lower-income or mid-income people, turning living in almost a impossible achievement, while the high-income get tax reductions
    -> More State intervention in small to medium businesses through unhealthy too strict regulations might run SMEs into the ground, much like the Great Depression. Young people can’t afford to create and sustain a small family business.
    -> Landlords are getting more land, with the help of the State, be it physical or virtual+digital. Consumers are left with no power at all. For example buying a movie, a game or a song is very similar to tying a chain to your neck: you’re a suspect in a possible crime of sharing in the future, even if you bought the product, and by property laws it’s your own.
    -> Medicines are starting to be expensive again, due to patent laws being imposed by international USA-Canada-Europe proposed treaties, people can’t afford meds, or can neither produce meds if they need to, nor donate to someone that wants to produce meds and help people.
    -> Not enough freedom for small and medium banks to survive, and instead become centralized to big banks or the national banks in order to survive. That puts the economic system into concentration of power, with only a small handful of individuals holding the economic system – Banking in Europe in the 30s
    Signs are extremely visible, few of the causes I have explained above

    • avatar
      Catherine Benning

      @ Stefan

      When I read your post this morning the connection was remarkable to me. Only yesterday, at a large extended dinner, we were discussing the political situation we find ourselves in here in the UK. And the thrust of the conversation was just as you have written above. We all were afraid the signs looked as if, here in the UK, we are on the brink of civil unrest and that the similarities to the 1930’s we astounding.

      My fear is, politicians have no idea how far they have gone against the will of the citizens in their misuse of power in a democracy. And no matter what they are told by the voter on the doorstep, we have just had a GE, they either do not listen or remain simply deaf to the message.

      If in this country, if you try, as a citizen, to use the blog of our parliamentarians, what you write to make them aware is censored or binned, so as not to be revealed. It appears, from my point of view, they are either, afraid themselves to express their honest opinions, as to do so will end their career. Or, they are simply so politically ignorant they truly do not feel or understand what they are doing, or what is going on in the communal psyche of Western nations and that it is dire.

      My view is, instinct is telling us Westerners we are fighting for our collective survival and that, that factor overrules all other concerns. Hence the obvious unrest and the unexpected voting patterns we are witnessing.

      Let us hope we are wrong and our fears are irrational.

  10. avatar

    It was a great year. One of the better ones

  11. avatar

    The EU is a fiasco for the majority of citizens and for the world in general. Good and cheers for the British.

  12. avatar

    I am not ashamed to say I have no knowledge on Eu and global politics in general. Personally it was an amazing year. One in which I started the process of knowing myself and I hope I never stop.

  13. avatar

    This is such an open-ended and personally subjective question. Why answer?

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