The pandemic is fueling pre-existing economic tensions and rivalries among the three big world powers. From trade to finance and currency, the post-pandemic world looks increasingly fragmented and regionalised. While this may benefit regional organisations and interests, it can hamper global economic cooperation, with bleak prospects for a resilient recovery and higher risks of financial crises.
2021 kicked off with some old and new challenges for Moscow: the economic and health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new administration in the US, sanctions and volatile oil prices, and political crises in Russia’s neighbourhood, where we are witnessing an escalating stand-off over Ukraine. At the same time, international concern over the health of the jailed Russian opponent Alexei Navalny is growing, while President Vladimir Putin has signed into law the results of last year’s constitutional referendum allowing him to potentially hold on to power until 2036.
The coronavirus pandemic that has been rocking China since December 2019 is a resilience test for the country’s national economy. To what extent has the pandemic affected China's strategy of international engagement? Which vectors will the China-USA competition adopt in the near future after tariffs and technology? Will the Health and Technology Silk Roads take the upper hand?
Since the dawn of time, the concept of “city” overlaps some of the most advanced and courageous visions of how the world should be built. Today, for the first time in the history of mankind, more than half of the world’s population resides in urban settings. And while today’s metropolises continue to produce innovations and new cultural trends, they are also at the root of pollution, global warming, and the proliferation of social inequalities.
Which measures has China implemented to confront the pandemic-driven national economic slowdown? Which sectors have been hit the most and what are the consequences today? Have previous crises (like SARS in 2003) been an advantage to perfect the country's responses? And which part has technology played in confronting the health crisis and spurring economic recovery?
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The coronavirus pandemic that has been rocking China since December 2019 is a resilience test for the country’s national economy. During the first quarter of 2020, China’s GDP fell by 6.8%, one of the worst performances in the contemporary history of the Chinese economy. Nonetheless, the Chinese economy has now picked up, expanding about 2.3% in 2020, the sole country in the world to register any growth. Which are the lessons learnt from the Chinese experience? What to expect next from the country's global stance?
Asia is not only home to enormous flows of trade, but also political and security challenges. Power imbalances at the regional level are particularly visible and risk undermining global stability. In particular, after the crisis, external actors like the U.S. and the EU will be looking for new roles in the region.
Overcoming the Hungarian and Polish vetoes is key to (at least partially) unblocking the EU budget: a pot of 1.8 billion euros, including the Next Generation EU package. These funds are an essential lifeline to European economies, after an estimated 7.4% drop in GDP this year.
What other steps are necessary to unlock the Recovery Fund for good? Will Europe be able to achieve this long-sought goal? When will the money be spent, and what for? Will we see a stronger and closer European Union emerge from the pandemic?
The Horn of Africa remains one of the most dynamic regions on the African continent. The political transition that started in Ethiopia little more than two years ago led to virulent domestic developments, as shown by the recent warfare in Tigray. But the Horn also crucially consists of other countries, most notably Eritrea, Somalia, and Djibouti.
How are ongoing dynamics in Ethiopia impacting the region’s political and security prospects? What trajectories are other states in the area following? How are their external – regional as well as non-African – relations evolving?