Can we all pretend 2020 never happened? The Tokyo 2020 olympics have been rescheduled for a year later, as have the UEFA Euro 2020 football championship and the COP26 climate conference. As vaccines are gradually rolled out and (hopefully) the pandemic starts to recede, perhaps we can just start 2020 over?
2020 was anyway supposed to be a fresh start for Europe. We had a new European Parliament, a new European Commission, and new presidents of the European Council and the European Central Bank (ECB). However, as the world limps into 2021, any new agenda these individuals and institutions might have hoped to steer has been largely overtaken by the pandemic. Coronavirus defined 2020, and it will no doubt cast a long shadow over the decade.
At least Brexit is finally over. It may be the first trade deal in history to have made trade more difficult and complicated for both sides, but at least it’s a deal. Alas, future EU-UK negotiations are inevitable – not just over services (and fish), but also over compliance and the dreaded “level playing field” – so even in 2021 we won’t fully escape from Brexit news.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the incoming Biden presidency offers Europe a chance to reboot relations with the US. However, four years of Donald Trump have already seen Europeans take real steps towards “strategic autonomy” and “European sovereignty”. Might it anyway be too late for Biden to restore the relationship to the way things were pre-Trump?
What do you hope 2021 brings? What do you hope to see happen over the coming decade? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reaction!