Europe in 2019: Chains of Cumulus or Thunderstorms in the Sky?

Here’s what 2019 may bring for politics in Europe.

Five months ahead of the European elections, it’s harder than ever to predict what comes next for Europe’s democracy. The uncertainty of Brexit, Russia’s disinformation campaign against the EU and voters’ turn away from mainstream parties are just a few of the components to be taken into account. Besides the European elections in 2019, 17 EU member states will hold parliamentary and presidential or local and regional elections, further increasing the uncertainty of the continent’s political future.

What is certain is that Jean-Claude Juncker will not run for the president of the European Commission for a second time, and his successor could be either Manfred Weber – if the European Peoples Party keeps its dominance over EU institutions – or the current first vice-president of the EC, Frans Timmermans of the Socialists & Democrats. This, of course, rests on the EPP-S&D mainstream party tandem not suffering losses in the EP elections. This is quite possible, as Green parties are also gaining greater support in a number of European states.

Just days ahead of Romania taking over the EU’s rotating Presidency (followed by Finland for the second half of the year), there are a lot of political uncertainties that could affect its efficiency and stance. The Bucharest government has since the summer complicated its relationship with Brussels through a number of disputes involving the rule of law and freedom of expression.

And if all this would not be enough, the EU’s common budget will be finalized too, presumably in the fall of 2019. This figures to make negotiations between national governments even more charged.

The above-listed European political events bring a lot of uncertainty regarding the future of our democracy, and particularly how we deal with governments dismantling the rule of law.