31st of January: Brexit
In December 2019, the Conservatives’ with their idiosyncratic candidate Boris Johnson attained an absolute majority in the general elections. This is their best result since 1987 when Margaret Thatcher was elected as Prime Minister. This strongly boosts the chances of a Brexit at the end of January as Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to ‘get Brexit done’.
Now he has to show that he can keep his promise. However, there remain some uncertainties and it is not yet clear if Johnson will further soften his former hardline approach towards Brexit. Notwithstanding that negotiations and re-negotiations about many issues will probably last for years.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement is likely to be signed this year. The agreement inhibits fifteen countries in the Asia-pacific region, including China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Australia. If the RCEP is signed, it would be the largest trade agreement in history by considering nearly half the world’s population and one-third of the world’s GDP. Along with this trade agreement goes a deeper integration of the region with China. Therefore, the RCEP could substantively change geopolitical foci.
May 2020: Elections in Ethiopia (and other African countries):
Patrick Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, says that he will move to Africa at least for three months next year because he believes “the continent will decide the future”. Regardless of the political turmoil in some countries, there are some major political elections taking place in Africa in 2020 which are interesting to pay attention to.
In the Ethiopian parliamentary election at the beginning of May, the newly formed Ethiopian Prosperity Party (EPP) led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy Ahmed, will expect strong competition from the opposition parties considering the controversies regarding the formation of the EPP in December 2019. In any ways, the coming election will be a make or break for the country. Despite Ethiopia, Egyptians will also elect a new parliament.
In a political environment dominated by the disputes over the Nile river water usage with Ethiopia, the opposition parties are using the issue as a main political campaign. Tanzania, one of the countries in Africa which improved politically, will also come out for presidential elections in October. Other suspenseful elections include the ones in Ghana and the Ivory Coast.
8th to 11th of June: MC12
On the 10th of December 2019, the number of members of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) decreased to one because the United States refuse the introduction of new members since 2017. With just one member, the Appellate Body which settles disputes between WTO members is no longer able to operate.
Against this background, the twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) is of great importance for the development of the WTO and subsequently for a rule-based international trading system. It takes place in the capital of Kazakhstan, Nur-Sultan (formerly known as Astana), which is a member of the WTO since 2015. GED engages in the preparation process of MC12 to hopefully make it a successful event!
26th of June: 75th UN Anniversary
An anniversary is always a proper occasion for looking back on what has been. The United Nations (UN) was founded in 1945, quite directly after World War II came to an end. In its eventful history, it accomplished a lot of successes such as assisting to solve the Cuban Missile Crisis. But there have been also some crucial failures of the UN and their organizations, above all the actions during the genocide in Ruanda.
Those failures need to be processed appropriately to do better in the future. In times of increased emphasis on nation-states own interests, some member states do not pay their contributions to the UN as promised which disturbs its operations. However, especially today the UN is more important than ever as an actor which brings people together for peace and stability. A world without the UN is not a world we want to think of, so let’s not hope that it has a human lifespan.
1st of July: Start of the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union
The term of the German EU Presidency (second half of 2020) is also the start of the tenth trio presidency (together with Portugal and Slovenia). The idea behind trio presidencies is to improve coordination between the neighboring owners of the EU Presidency. The EU Presidency, in turn, enables Germany to set an agenda for the upcoming months and thus, to emphasise certain topics.
With respect to uncertainties in German politics and the upcoming parliamentary election in 2021 – if not before – the German EU Presidency is under sharp observation at home. This could imply that parties will try to use the presidency for their purposes and therefore, make the presidency distinctive in one direction or the other.
July 2020, BRICS Summit:
The Russian city of St. Petersburg will host the meeting of the council of Shanghai Cooperation Organization states and the annual meeting of the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) in July. The meeting of those large emerging countries is the 12th annual summit of them so far.
BRICS are expected to discuss on strengthening their inter and intra member economic as well as political cooperation, especially given their increasing opposition to the U.S. Thus, given the growing influences of the member countries and their economic sizes, the result of the summit is worth to pay attention to!
24th of July to 9th of August: Olympia and other Summer sports
Tokyo will host the Summer Olympic Games from the 24th July to the 9th of August, with three main fundamental principles to transform the world: striving for your personal best (Achieving Personal Best), accepting one another (Unity in Diversity), and passing on a legacy for the future (Connecting to Tomorrow).
Then there is also the UEFA Euro 2020. It will take place in a different format this time with the number 12 at its very core: from the 12th of June to the 12th of July, in 12 countries, and 12 cities. One more of the oldest continental football competitions, the Copa America, will also be co-hosted, with Colombia and Argentina taking care for this event.
The summer of 2020 will be a busy one for sports fans and can hopefully help to bring people and countries together for a better mutual understanding and co-operation.
Asian-European Meeting (ASEM):
The 13th Asian European meeting (ASEM) will be held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with the objective to enhance the relations and various forms of cooperation between Asia and Europe. The ASEM partners represent 60% of the global population, 65% of global GDP, 75% global tourism, and 55% of the global trade.
Being established in 1996 to foster dialogue and cooperation, the ASEM in the past has addressed different political, economic, social, cultural, and educational issues of common interest in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership among its 53 members (21 Asian countries, 30 European countries, the European Union, and the ASEAN Secretariat).
3rd November 2020: The U.S. election:
So far, Donald Trump’s Presidency caused a lot of controversies. The U.S. trade war with China, his stance towards climate change, and of course his tweets caused a lot of dispute with multiple actors. The turmoil which his Presidency goes along with probably peaked in the Ukraine scandal and the subsequent impeachment hearings.
Meanwhile, the democrats are underway to select their candidates for the presidential race. While Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders are the front runners, there is still no one clearly ahead in the Democratic Party presidential primaries and surprises are possible given promising candidates such as the aged under forty Pete Buttigieg or the recent campaign announcement of billionaire Michael Bloomberg.
Surprises are possible, given the controversies during the first term of Donald Trump and the tight race of the Democratic nominees. The world is waiting for the results to come!
21st & 22nd November: G20 summit
Multilateral meetings are not necessarily boring. Still in good memory is the action of Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit in Biarritz throughout which he met Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to appease tensions between Western countries and Iran.
The conditions under which the fifteenth meeting of the G20 will take place are no less suspenseful for observers. Shortly before the G20 summit, a new U.S. president got elected. Depending on the result of this election and if Donald Trump will be re-elected, the G20 summit will take place in a deeply different fashion. Furthermore, all eyes are on Saudi Arabia as the host.
Will they start to sincerely promote women’s rights or do they drop back again?