The European Union in 2021: The pandemic and economic recovery are far from the only challenges

First, the emergence of vaccines hints at the end of the epidemic. Then, a plan to re-launch 750 billion euros, on the basis of a historic breakthrough – acceptance, for the first time, of the principle of joint debt.

Finally, the trade agreement with the United Kingdom, which demonstrated the negotiating strength of the European Union, given that its members remained united.

Hence, the outlook is promising for this year. But where the gate attracts attention AllEurope In a comprehensive analysis for the coming year, the challenges facing the European Union are more than just overcoming the epidemic through mass immunization or economic recovery.

For example, how will the issue of freedom of movement be addressed?

This basic principle of the union has been severely undermined by border restrictions in place by member states since the spring of 2020, and return is expected to be difficult.

Although the European Commission adopted a recommendation in October 2020 to avoid discrimination between European nationalities, countries continue to act individually under the pressure of a new pandemic wave. In addition, a new version of the disagreement has been announced regarding so-called vaccination passports, which some member states may want and others do not.

Another challenge is to make investments in the restart fund increase cohesion between the richer and poorer countries, which, by default, also have less absorptive capacity.

By April 30, 2021, member states must submit their recovery plans, which must be ratified by the European Commission and the Council within two months.

The crisis period put the green shift in the background. But the priority remains. Some of the regions that depend on polluting industries will undergo a transformation that promises to be deep and painful. And this is in a time of crisis.

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As the epidemic recedes, we can expect immigration to increase. The Commission proposed a new European compact on migration last fall, but there is still a long way to go before there can be real European solidarity in this area.

Renewing the transatlantic relationship after the inauguration of the new administration in Washington is another important item on the European agenda. And in close contact with this is the military and strategic dimension of the European Union.

Then there are the trade agreements that Europe needs to strengthen with the world’s big players.

Not to mention the threats to democracy and liberal regimes – and here, the last American lesson is pertinent.

Listen to the column “Eurocronica”, with Ovidiu Nahoi, every day, Monday through Friday, from 8.45 pm, and resume on Sunday, from 15.00, only on RFI Romania

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