Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:
Another year of the pandemic has passed. We are in a new wave in Europe, and that is dominating quite a lot of the politics of different countries.
But as we are looking ahead towards the next year, what do we see there?
We hope the pandemic will gradually fade away, but that is by no means certain. We do face a lot of worries of what's happening in the east of Europe, the intention of Russia. Will Putin really launch a major invasion of Ukraine, or a minor military operation? Or it’s just sheer blackmail under military pressure? I think the first weeks, the first months of next year will be decisive in that particular respect.
And then, the French presidential elections and a lot of atmospherics associated with that, and the French have the presidency of the European Union to the first half of the year. You will hear a lot of that, and a lot of discussions of what to do with the economic policy. What I call the rescue from the rescue. Can we get out of all of these aid packages and subsidies and exemptions for the normal rules and get back to a more competitive Europe in a global economy that is changing very fast?
So, certainly, no absence of big issues as we are preparing to celebrate the new year in Europe.