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The coronavirus pandemic is prompting contrasting trends in European democracy. While the crisis is aggravating many stresses that afflict democracy in Europe, it is also propelling democratic efforts in a number of areas.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, European security and defense cooperation reached a new level of ambition. With dark clouds building on many fronts, the EU must safeguard strategic autonomy and ensure democratic quality in defense integration.
While the principal concern about democracy during the coronavirus pandemic has been that European governments will be tempted to hold on to their new executive powers, pressure to restore democracy may now be propelling a predatory and polarized politics.
The EU’s new geopolitical narrative is based on some questionable assumptions about EU foreign policy. To avoid uncertainty over Europe’s international identity, its leaders must define a modern and innovative form of geopolitics.
Faced with no shortage of domestic challenges, Erdogan is expanding Turkey’s role in the Eastern Mediterranean—and antagonizing Europe in turn.
Germany is emerging from the first phase of the pandemic with some scars, but broadly in good shape. When Berlin takes over the EU presidency, Chancellor Angela Merkel will have to show the way toward a reinvigorated and more dynamic EU.
For a European Union with geopolitical ambitions, revamping its Iran policy into a regional Gulf strategy would be a good place to start.
While the coronavirus crisis has helped UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s approval rating, it hasn’t helped his party, and British voters are now losing faith in the government’s handling of it.
The rift between Europe and the United States over Iran is deepening. To regain leverage, the Europeans should engage all eight Gulf states in talks about regional security and nonproliferation.
By trying to manage the financial fallout of the coronavirus without also providing democratic reform, the EU will unleash another cycle of the legitimacy problems it has suffered since the eurozone crisis.