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In early January, the High Court in London will decide whether should British Parliament be involved in making the decision by the UK government on withdrawal from the EU. Then it will be clear how much room prime minister Theresa May would have for decision-making during the Brexit.
January 20, Donald Trump should take the post of US president. His policy of billionaires might challenge the whole world of politics that existed before. Critics of the future president fear that his lack of experience at the highest political positions and his desire to "make muddy water" could lead to new problems in the field of global security. Only his supporters hope on some positive surprises.
The Heads of State and Government of the 27 EU member states (excluding the UK) meet at a special summit in Malta to discuss the EU's future after Brexit. Enthusiastic and passionate ideas are still in minority. Everything points to a decisive course under the slogan: "Keep it up." However, fear of the collapse of the German EU would force Angela Merkel to get ahead. However, she does not have enough allies: the heads of government of the Netherlands and Italy, and the French president are "lame ducks" at that time.
In mid-March the Dutch would elect a new parliament. According to current polls, right populist Eurosceptic Party of Geert Wilders can form the largest faction. This particular political force is fighting against Islam and immigration to Europe. Wilders’s Idol is Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, even if he wins the election, Wilders will likely need to support at least two other political forces to form a government. The likelihood that a party will go for alliance with right-wing populists is very low. But the process of forming a new government after the election in any case promises to be difficult.
25 March, Rome to host celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the signing of agreements on which the EU was established. The celebration should send message of confidence and hope for the better future.
Around the same time, the British Prime Minister Theresa May has to formally launch the process of withdrawal from the EU under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Brexit is so far the biggest test of survival for the EU. However, today it is clear that supporters of the UK exit from the EU have seriously underestimated the difficulties and negative consequences for the process of their country. EU with formally remaining 27 members would determine the course of the procedure. Will the negotiations be completed in the next year and a half and what would be the result, the question is still completely open. Some believe that Brexit would stuck in a legal and bureaucratic swamp.
In late April, French citizens will come to the polls to determine the name of the next president. So far, it looks that the second stage of the race will be joined by the candidate of the conservative "Republican" leader Francois Fillon and far-right-populists Marine Le Pen from "National Front". The candidate from the ruling Socialists and the independent candidate for the post, former Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron is believed to have no chances of success. The second round of elections to be held, according to the rules, two weeks after the first one.
May 7, might be the probable day of the second round of presidential elections in France. It is expected that the candidate of the conservatives would with a wide margin defeat far-right Le Pen. Francois Fillon makes the rate in its campaign on the social-conservative values, advocating patriotism and emphasizing the role of the family. Nevertheless, there is one "but:" the EU is concerned by his passion of Vladimir Putin. In addition, his frank words of affection tough economic reforms "a la Thatcher" might have the negative effects during the vote. If the French ultimately still prefer Marine Le Pen and her far-right populism, the EU will count its days. Exit from the EU of a country with the second economic power and historical partner of Germany will be an insurmountable challenge.
In June, Italy might hold early elections, although so far it is unknown. The reason is the defeat of the former head of government Matteo Renzi in a referendum to reform the constitution in December 2016. Since then the country is led by a transitional government. According to a survey conducted late last year, a populist movement of former comedian Beppe Grillo is in the first place. He has no experience in government, he relies on Euroscepticism and basic democracy involving citizens in many decisions. By the way, this new political force was the first victim of the corruption scandals. So by the summer, Italians could change their attitude to the party. However, large public debt which hangs over the country, still is a significant threat to the stability of the Eurozone and political instability could threaten the fate of the EU.
The first major event after the summer break should be elections to the German Bundestag. So far, it seems that Angela Merkel has every chance to stay on her post, but which coalition would she lead? We cannot give clear answer to this question. In this situation, right populist party "Alternative for Germany" plays a great role in this play; it has the potential to gain significant results in the election. German federal canceller is perceived as the savior not only for Europe, but for the entire West. From democratic stability and economic strength of Germany depends many other things. Merkel is an anchor in a dangerous world: expectations for her are growing.
What else has to happen in 2017?
Refugee crisis has not yet been defeated. During the year, at least some solution for its resolution should be taken.
The war in Syria will continue. The entire Middle East region will remain unstable.
Relations between Turkey and the EU likely to become increasingly strained.
Greece will remain closely monitored for fulfilling its program to overcome the consequences of the financial crisis. Most likely, the country will hold new elections, in which the Conservatives might win.
The world might face new attacks committed by or at the direction of "Islamic state." Vladimir Putin will remain dangerous, he would try to influence the election in western democracies using cyber attacks.
Because of Brexit, relations between Brussels and London would deteriorate.
American future president Donald Trump might prepare different kinds of surprises that could have serious global consequences.
At the same time, let us hope for having more pleasant surprises in 2017!