Policy Briefs

C. Bastasin: The Year of “Eufouria”

The resolve of a self-professed geopolitical European Commission will be severely tested in the coming months. President Ursula von der Leyen took office in December 2019 in a very defiant context plagued by huge external challenges. The Libyan turmoil and the U.S.-Iran tensions are forcing Europe to adopt a strategic role for which it is remarkably unprepared. Trade negotiations with the U.S., more conflictual than ever in the last seventy decades, demand a deep reflection and revision of the European economic role in the world. Brexit’s potential implication on fiscal competition at Europe’s borders also throws a gauntlet to the traditional openness of European policies. Such a hostile external context may transform Europe and make it more inward-looking, protectionist or even isolated. I will briefly describe some of the challenges and show that the EU Commission agenda requires an urgent and open assessment of Europe’s objectives by the governments of Germany, France, Italy and Spain, as well as their consistent commitment to it.

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