Europe in 2007

Article published on Dec. 21, 2006
community published
Article published on Dec. 21, 2006

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

What is in store for new year's Europe? We look at the upcoming leaders, movers and shakers who will transform the face of the EU in 2007

Jan­u­ary 2007: New faces in the Eu­ro­pean Union

Slove­nia joins the Euro zone

The Alpine state be­comes the first 'new mem­ber state' to join Eu­rope's sin­gle cur­rency, from the bloc of coun­tries that joined the EU in May 2004. 250 To­lars sud­denly be­comes one Euro - Slove­ni­ans have wel­comed the news warmly.

Bul­garia and Ro­ma­nia 2007 - 'young' EU debu­tantes

After seven years of fer­vent ne­go­ti­a­tions, two more post com­mu­nist coun­tries have been given the green light to join the EU fam­ily. Given their eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion - cur­rently plagued with cor­rup­tion and or­gan­ised crime amongst oth­ers - the union has im­posed harsh con­di­tions to as­sure that both Balkan coun­tries will ef­fec­tively fight afore­said scourges. Hope­fully, in the fu­ture we will have to pass just one fron­tier going to Ro­ma­nia - the of­fi­cial one.

Feb­ru­ary 2007 - Rus­sia cruises to Eu­ro­pean gas mar­ket dom­i­na­tion

Launched in 2005, the in­fa­mous Gazprom's Baltic pipeline pro­ject is sched­uled to reap its first ben­e­fits in early 2007. It will link Vy­borg and Greif­swald along a mam­moth length of 1200 km. The pro­ject it­self has sparked tu­mul­tuous dis­cus­sion, rag­ing most fu­ri­ously in Poland and Ukraine. The two na­tions can­not avoid hav­ing been by­passed; the trans­port route sim­ply does not tra­verse their ter­ri­to­ries.

March 2007: EU/EC blows fifty can­dles out

If there was a Eu­ro­pean God, then he cre­ated the 'EEC' on 25th March 1957. The 'leg­endary six' (France, Ger­many, Italy, Bel­gium, Nether­lands and Lux­em­bourg) signed the Treaty of Rome and the 'Eu­ro­pean Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity'was born. Though many pe­ri­ods of its Abra­hamian life were marked with painful draw­backs, the com­mu­ni­ties have al­ways been able to shrug off and stub­bornly cut their way for­ward as a team. Al­though the EU called off all the bom­bas­tic events orig­i­nally con­ceived to mark this an­niver­sary, we all should lift our gob­lets and give a toast: a long life!

April 2007: Royal! v. Sarkozy?

It seemed crys­tal clear for months that Nico­las Sarkozy would run for French pres­i­dency in April 2007. How do mat­ters ap­pear now? Sarkozy can­not even be sure which fe­male op­po­nent to shield him­self, and at which mo­ment to dodge the line of fire. Michele Al­liot-Marie has fiercely con­tested his can­di­da­ture within 'his own' party, whilst Sego­lene Royal has won So­cial­ist hearts (and Eu­ro­pean mag­a­zine cov­ers) in the joust for le Palais de l'Élysée.

May 2007: Bye bye Tony

After al­most ten years in power, the great­est new Labourer has fallen from pub­lic grace, and is set (or forced, as Cameron would say), to re­sign from his tenure. Gor­don Brown, his com­man­der-in-sec­ond, is sketched in to take over. Will Tony re­tire from pol­i­tics, or should the Union fear an­other pres­i­den­tial pre­tender (in case it ever needs one)?

June 2007: 27 chief­tains, one con­sti­tu­tion

Is the EU con­sti­tu­tion a 'let­tre morte', or is re­sus­ci­ta­tion at the very last mo­ment still con­ceiv­able? Will the EU lead­ers put on their sur­geons gowns or rather snatch at their un­der­taker's shov­els? This should be the prin­ci­pal issue of the '27'´s Brus­sels sum­mit in the twi­light of the Ger­man pres­i­dency.

July 2007: Por­tu­gal take the baton

José Sócrates will be the sov­er­eign over the EU for six months. Will the baton be­come a rather green scep­tre in his bright hands? Ex­pec­ta­tion is

rife that he puts an end to his coun­try's dai­mo­nion in en­vi­ron­ment ser­vices and starts a new era of pol­lu­tion shop­ping.

Au­gust 2007: EU hu­man­i­tar­ian work­ers head home

The United Na­tions As­sis­tance Mis­sion for Iraq (UNAMI), with EU hu­man­i­tar­ian work­ers on board, is sched­uled to leave the coun­try upon the ex­piry of its man­date. Through fac­ing the wind of Iraqi tribal wars, and the ever-in­creas­ing state

of sec­tar­ian vi­o­lence, these brave men and women of Eu­rope have valiantly taken up the spirit of top envoy Sérgio Vieira de Mello 's legacy. Will you dare to take the same step, Mr. B.?

Sep­tem­ber 2007: UN Pop­u­la­tion Fund stands up to count

US fig­ures are at 300 mil­lion - with Ro­ma­nia and Bul­garia in tow, will the EU set its record at 500 mil­lion? The re­port should pro­vide some clues. It is also ex­pected to tackle the hot Eu­ro­pean issue of im­mi­gra­tion, re­call­ing

big names such as Melilla or Lampe­dusa.

Oc­to­ber 2007: Schen­gen-ised Czech Re­pub­lic

The 2004 new­com­ers will fi­nally be able to enter the heart of the EU by the front door, with­out being com­pelled to sneak in through the back gate.

No­vem­ber 2007: Turkey gen­eral elec­tions - po­ten­tial turn to rad­i­cal­ism?

Turkey has been con­sis­tent in knock­ing on heaven's door' since 1963. Its ef­forts reached their cli­max in 2004. Nev­er­the­less, since then on, the EU has been forced to freeze one ne­go­ti­a­tion chap­ter after the other. These elec­tions will help de­cide whether the Union will ever wel­come the 'sweet­est' coun­try on the con­ti­nent - its sweet­ness of course judged on the grounds of its cof­fee.

De­cem­ber 2007: Slove­nia goes from eu­ro­zone to eu­roking

It's to be a spe­cial year for Slove­nia; they started off our agenda by mak­ing his­tory in join­ing the EU cur­rency club. We leave 2007's agenda by imag­in­ing how the first ex-com­mu­nist state will run the EU in a year's time. With a firm or­gan­i­sa­tional stance on how they will de­velop the union, and other politic en­large­ment am­bi­tions, it will be in­ter­est­ing to see what kind of EU they hand over to France six months later.