Director's Cut: Wrapping up 2018
With 2018 drawing to a close, and the dawn of 2019 imminent, Bruegel's scholars reflect on the economic policy developments we can expect in the new year – one that brings with it the additional uncertainty of European elections.
These elections will be a bellwether for the continent-wide rise of populist politics that has been a defining characteristic of the year past. The results will certainly have profound consequences for all policy debates within the EU, but also for the bloc's relationship with external partners. The shifts in the geopolitical landscape have borne a trade war, prompting renewed talk of closer ties between China and the EU, the potential internationalisation of the euro, and how the multilateral trading system might be saved, reformed, or left behind.
Meanwhile, 2019 promises fierce debate of the next EU budget for 2020-2027, not entirely separate from the mooted euro-area budget and the ongoing efforts at euro-area reform and expansion. The upcoming elections will be pivotal in determining the complexion of these discussions as the year progresses.