Welcome to 2020! Now the 20’s are starting. For the EU, they look better at first glance than the 10’s where the euro crisis raged and confidence was lost. But 2020 will be the year of truth.
Why? Because there are still some unresolved issues from 2019. Just think of the European elections and the unredeemed promise of democracy. Moreover, the EU is still in the midst of the crisis that began in 2016 with the brexite referendum in the UK.
At the end of January, the moment of truth will come – that’s when the brexite should actually be consummated.
Shortly thereafter, the new EU Commission must show its colours. It must back up the Wish You Something programme, with which Ursula von der Leyen faked her way into office, with concrete action. This is likely to be difficult and painful, especially with the Green Deal.
So far, the deal is not even remotely financed…
The EU budget is the third issue where the moment of truth is approaching. Hardly anyone in Brussels believes that it can be sealed before the German EU Presidency begins in July.
Instead, it is assumed that Chancellor Merkel will set the financial course for the future.
This is not only about the Green Deal, but also about the new defence fund, which could be financed at the expense of the poorest. Merkel also wants to make financial aid from the EU budget dependent on the rule of law in future.
This is likely to cause trouble, not only with Poland or Hungary.
Because if this is serious about the rule of law, the EU would also have to punish Malta, where corruption and organised crime have become entrenched – or Spain, where the separatists from Catalonia have little rule of law.
There are also problems in other EU countries.
2020 will also be the year of truth for relations with the USA. Will the EU find an answer to the new US sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline? Can it fend off new punitive tariffs against France or Germany?
And what actually happens if Trump is re-elected?
If 2019 was the choice of the Transfiguration – with all the unredeemed promises around the European elections – then 2020 could be the number of the brutal awakening. Or will the promised “Awakening for Europe” come after all?
Merkel has it in her hands from July 2020. The eternal chancellor is also likely to decide whether von der Leyen can implement her programme – or whether the “German Year for Europe” (ZDF) ends with another crisis…
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version). The original version (in German) is here.