2019 Global Outlook: Market forces move developments in energy
2019 begins with the U.S. a dominant producer of oil and gas, while OPEC has allied with countries like Russia to try to put a floor under prices. Green energy sources continue to rise in popularity, but still have only a small impact on global consumption. And while developed nations phase out coal, developing countries will likely remain dependent on the fuel for the foreseeable future. How will all of these factors affect the global energy market going forward?
A year of change for the European Union?
The European Union, which still lacks a post-Brexit vision of itself, will be changing the leadership of almost all its leading institutions over the next few months. Candidates are already jostling for position to take over at the European Commission and the European Central Bank, and surprises could be in store. With non-mainstream parties likely to gain seats in the May European Parliament elections, the EU-27 seems headed for even less harmony and more dissension.
Thank you, Mr. Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump is right that both the EU and China use unfair trade practices. Now, his threats to impose tariffs on European goods – hypocritically branded “protectionist” by many countries with higher trade barriers – have brought EU officials to the negotiating table. Perhaps the EU will finally engage in freer trade, to the benefit of Europe and the world.
Cold war between Visegrad and Brussels
Brussels is angry with Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia for allegedly lacking solidarity and “EU values.” But the European Commission’s plan to use financial pressure to rein in the four politically conservative Central European members is nearly certain to backfire.
New narratives emerging on EU finances
The European Union’s inflexible budget process – constrained by seven-year Multiannual Financial Frameworks (MFFs) – has left the bloc almost incapable of handling major crises. The resort to ad hoc solutions over the past decade has only made the situation worse. Now, reformers are considering new revenue sources, and even more revolutionary steps such as EU taxes or a separate eurozone budget.
Opinion: Europe’s misguided tax crusade
While the United States cuts taxes to spur growth, the European Union is blacklisting countries regarded as threats its fiscal system. The contrast speaks volumes about the economic priorities on both sides, and does not bode well for the long-term viability of Europe’s welfare states.
2018 Global Outlook: Another challenging year for Europe
The European Union is facing internal and external challenges that will continue to test its leadership in 2018. Politicians will struggle to agree on a reform agenda for the union against a background of tepid economic growth, Brexit, the migrant drama, geopolitical realignments, a rethinking of the international role of the United States, technology-driven economic dislocations, secessionist movements, and many other problems. Europe’s outlook is not entirely gloomy, however.
Opinion: EU-60 summit evades disaster and reform
The European Union avoided embarrassment at its 60th anniversary reunion thanks to British Prime Minister Theresa May, who tactfully stayed away before signing her divorce papers. But with the bloc facing tough choices about its future course, its leaders merely raised their champagne glasses. The EU fiddled at the Rome summit while its citizens did a slow burn.