7 thoughts on “A New Year

  1. 1. Posts on demographics from Edward!

    2. Germany’s unemployment will decrease, slowly and surely, as more labour is needed for export-driven growth. Domestic demand from this won’t pick up until the end of the decade; at which point a virtuous circle will kick in, as closer EU relations with Turkey offer better employment and trade opportunities to people without the science and English-language skills to do well in the areas Germany’s currently succeeding at.

    3. France’s electorate will start wanting to vote for the left, but there’ll be a death of good candidates. Villepin will succeed Chirac. There will be some tension when Chirac retires as to whether to prosecute him or not; Villepin will intervene, openly or less openly, to prevent it.

    4. Russia will remain surprisingly stable. Economic growth, based in large part on exploiting mineral resources, but also on the return of some sort of stable society, compared to the more anarchical climate of the nineties; no relaxation in the climate of historically mild repression, but also no significant worsening of it.

    5. Revolution in Saudi Arabia before the end of the decade.

    6. Estonia applies to join one or more of the Nordic formal structures.

  2. Various industrialized states caught between evolution to welfare state and increasing international corporate pressure to gouge said states for entertainment dollars will create angrier poor bored people. Look for more anti-government activity in EU, more demonstrations and civil strife. This will lead to greater volatility in various parlaiments and generally less effective national government. EU government will increasingly bow to multinational corporate pressures. Increasingly oppressive copyright restrictions, increased unemployment worldwide and status quo in the third world: nasty brutish short lives.

  3. A huge political scandal (possibly fraud-related) will threaten to tear Belgium apart literally* and seriously this time.

    *For those who are wondering, this is not wishful thinking on my behalf. Is grapevine thingy.

  4. Not very original perhaps considering recent developments, but: Russia continues its rise to become a major player in world (especially Eurasian) politics due to its position on the energy market. This will trigger countries in Eastern Europe (both EU members and EU fringe like Ukraine), which suffer most from Russian power play, to call for a unified EU response (i.e. a common foreign policy). With some initial result, but the EU members+fringe coalition falls apart as soon as the EU members, one way or the other, have received assurances on their energy supply. From then on, it is “divide et impere” as usual. Putin’s policies on Chechnya

    Ukraine unilaterally decides to initiate a major administrative and legal reform process to adapt its legislation to EU law in much the same way as EFTA countries have done, but without being offered any prospective on future EU membership.

    The Austrian presidency commissions a report on future forms of association to the EU that do not amount to membership. Government leaders deny that “as things stand now” this has any connection with Turkey. They do mention Ukraine as a possible future associate or privileged neighbour.

    The European Commission will present plans for an overhaul of the Own Resources system with its iterative range of rebates and exceptions on exceptions on exceptions on exceptions. EU governments continue to prefer short term local optimisation to larger long term optimisation: the existing system offers more possibilities for electoral gain, so it stays also after 2008/9.

    Late 2007 will see a resumption of talks on the EU Constitution, although this time governments will universally call it a “treaty between sovereign states” instead of a constitution.

  5. 1. Nuclear energy reappears on the agenda as a realistic option for many EU countries. Germany decides to reverse an earlier decision by SPD/Greens to close its nuclear power plants.

    2. There will be no reforms about agricultural subsidies in 2006 but GMO crops/plants will make more inroads because the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly positive.

    3. The Dutch will make it to quarter final of the soccer WC, but fail on the penalties.

  6. Agree with nuclear power and will see it in other states, like Sweden.

    Yuschchenko will win the election in Ukraine and continue reforms, but the pace will be disappointing.

    The EU will continue to muddle along as it has done and will move forward on incorporation of other countries, despite Austria’s best efforts. There will be a deal on Croatia that requires more effort from Turkey.

    There will be a more overt last gasp from the Turkish military as reforms continue and the Kurds get more assertive. It might be a soft coup, but it will not succeed.

    There will be no major progress on Northern Ireland, and there will be more cockups involving police and Special Branch shenanigans.

    The Basques and Catalans will get more autonomy.

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