01. 05. 2023
AUTHOR: Linda Kalcher
During the ‘polycrisis’ the EU is facing, the bloc has grown stronger and more united. Any assumptions of Brexit, the Covid pandemic or the Russian war in Ukraine “breaking” the European Union were proven wrong. The last years saw a remarkable affirmation of the “united in diversity” founding slogan.
Many EU countries had to learn it the hard way. They realised that their initial, purely national, responses to every crisis (unilateral deals on vaccines, domestic rescue packages, national deals on gas, …) were driving up costs, undermining the single market and risked growing fragmentation across the EU. Eventually, a joint-up approach has proven to be the most beneficial and impactful. In terms of crisis-response, there is a stronger and more affirmative European Union now, even after its most powerful leader – Angela Merkel – left a certain power vacuum in the European Council.
Naturally but unfortunately, the ‘polycrisis’ led to the EU focusing predominantly inwards. A dynamic that was reinforced by the return of a Democratic US government to the world stage. The EU is perceived as playing a more passive role internationally. While a remarkable assertiveness ultimately emerged towards Putin’s Russia, the EU is postponing the fundamental debate it is meant to have on China.
Bilateral EU summits were held predominantly with the G7 countries. Other regions in the world felt neglected at a time when Russia and China are growing their influence. As a result, there is a risk the EU fails to build its own diverse, pro-democratic and lasting alliance with partners across the globe. This could come back to bite in case of a return of a populist Republican president in early 2025.
Over the last years, the Green Deal grew stronger. Stronger than anybody might have expected. The opposition assumed it would “die” with every crisis that hit. Instead, the Green Deal showed remarkable resilience against attacks. The coalition of actors in support of the Green Deal grew and encompasses companies, trade unions and investors. They all recognise that the Green Deal is an economic, social and security policy.
Even more, the climate community showed how the Green Deal provides actual responses and solutions to the ‘polycrisis’. The climate pillar of the Green Deal led to the world’s biggest legislative package on decarbonisation to be adopted throughout the crises. In contrast to the proposals on biodiversity, nature and chemicals being weakened or dropped. And still, the implementation of these laws will be extraordinarily challenging. In fact, there are a few push-backs against some of the implementing measures already.
It’s in this context that I decided to found a new think tank that works on the politics and policies of the transition, that aims to become an agile agenda-setter, able to build broad coalitions in favour of change and that seeks to provide inspiring solutions to the ‘polycrisis’ the EU is facing.
Stay tuned, I hope you will like our work.