PANEL A: Economic Dimension
There are many hot issues that have to do with the future of international trade and the European Union. The global economy is seemingly going into depression as GDP contracts, unemployment rises, and deficit spending explodes. How has the policies of the Federal Reserve and other central banks helped the average citizen? Will the exploding deficits and quantitative easing cause future inflation or deflation? Will the current global monetary system change significantly in the near future? Does the 2020 US stock market rally rely on healthy fundamentals or is it just the bubble about to be burst?
The world is changing and it is no longer divided on the basis of individual military powers but increasingly according to the economic background which brings up the role of Europe, USA and China. The crucial partner for the EU is the USA, as it helps Europe to remain economically stable. The partnership between the USA and Europe has been steady but the current political situation and the pandemic may have a significant impact on the future of transatlantic trade.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson led the Conservative Party to a decisive victory and led the UK through the process of leaving the EU. The EU-27 will be dealing with Britain in accordance with simple WTO rules, starting in 2021, if no new free trade deal is reached. Is there a chance that the UK will have a trade deal with the US first? Is it possible for the UK to negotiate two free trade agreements at the same time?
The opposed US and Chinese ambitions have set off a trade war that puts globalization into danger. On the one hand, there is a strategic geopolitical and technological confrontation with China, which is here to stay and with no sign of abating. On the other hand, we have the new US-Chinese provisional trade deal and ceasefire in trade disputes.
What should be the position of Europe in all of this? Should a more proactive approach be taken?
PANEL B: Political dimension
The US 2020 presidential elections are coming. American presidents are often re-elected, but the political atmosphere has been shaken up this year. While the virus spread, BLM took to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd and systemic racism. Has the movement shifted the political sphere to the left to aid Senator Biden or have the riots and death strengthened President Trump’s emphasis on law and order?
In Europe and the US, the threat to democracy has returned as governments presume emergency powers and lockdown. Will the EU become tougher on Hungary and Poland’s ruling parties? Media has played a big role in creating a sense of fear and precaution with coronavirus, but some citizens are tired of restrictions on their individual rights and have led protests to convey this. Will the second, third, or even fourth wave be handled differently because of new evidence, popular demand, or a vaccine?
Europe and the USA are now divided about what steps to take towards ensuring the stabilization of the Middle East or what position to take towards Iran. Both partners also have different opinions on how to react to global challenges such as climate change. One of the most important challenges Europe is now facing is the question of an approach toward anti-monopoly policy and the definition of the relevant market. There are many conceptions on how to perceive this market in the globalized and digitalized world.
PANEL C: Security dimension
Europe and the USA are facing the same threats and challenges in addition to infectious disease control, which means we need to cooperate to protect liberty and citizen health. NATO has been active in the medical distribution and working to update precautions. On the other hand, across Europe, there are increasing calls for a common military so that we minimize our security dependence on the USA. This would mean higher contributions to the military for every EU member state. But it is not just about higher investments, we need to focus on efficiency. With new threats like cybersecurity comes a need for a strategic turnabout that emphasizes unity.
How does the coronavirus threaten military operations? How should Europe work on strengthening the transatlantic partnership?
China. Polls of public opinion in the US, France, and Germany show that people’s view of China as a threat has doubled and people’s perception of China as the most influential state has doubled this year. EU-US cooperation before the pandemic focused on climate change and counter-terrorism intelligence sharing. With a focus on the pandemic, will China take a more aggressive stance in the South China Sea, Taiwan, and Africa?