2022: The year ahead | Opinion

Everything looks to take a decisive course in the year 2022 that is now beginning: the end of the pandemic, economic recovery, the future of democracy, the world geopolitical order and even the environmental governance of the planet. If the end does not come soon, the most populist disruptive instincts that have fueled the protests against lockdowns, masks and vaccines will receive new impulses, until they influence beyond what is reasonable in the sign of the most transcendental electoral appointments of the year: the presidential ones in France and Brazil, the general ones in Hungary and the mid-term ones in the United States. The far-right populism plays strong in all these games, but also two leaders of the opposite sign such as Macron and Orban decide their future and that of the 27, as does the United States, where Trumpist republicanism intends to recover both cameras.

The now faltering or retreating democracy should benefit from an immediate exit from the pandemic and an accelerated recovery, ideally accompanied by a persistence in stimulus plans and expansionary policies, not only to ensure digital change and the economy. green, but also alleviate the extension of the new poverty and the increases in inequalities that have accompanied this crisis. The high levels of indebtedness, the inflationary horizon and the disruption of global production and distribution chains will not facilitate a robust and shock-free recovery, not only those produced by the pandemic, but also those that are the result of the incipient war cold with Russia and China.

In 2022, the geopolitical dilemma that defines the time must be resolved. The greatest lever for Russia and China to satisfy their authoritarian projects at home and expansionist abroad, Ukraine and Taiwan specifically, is the energy, technological and scientific interdependence of global economies. The growing difficulties posed by the asymmetries between authoritarian regimes, opaque and hostile to outside influence, and democratic regimes, open and vulnerable, will have to be resolved, especially when they serve to showcase the speed and effectiveness of the autocratic decisionism model over the slow ones. and difficult parliamentary and democratic processes.

At the end of next year we will also know the degree of compliance with the agreements on climate change and energy transition of the COP26 meeting in Glasgow. So far, two recommendations of the summit have already been breached, such as the gradual elimination of coal combustion and fossil fuel subsidies. From this year that is now beginning, it will be clearly deduced if humanity as a whole has any effective capacity to govern our common home, the planet, just after the first global pandemic and an incipient division of the world organized around two political ideas. and opposing models of society.

The reformist agenda of the Spanish Government will test both its internal cohesion and its capacity for resistance

No Western government will have firm control of its political calendar next year, not even the Spanish one. Nothing is easy at this time, but Pedro Sánchez can exhibit approved budgets with a comfortable majority of 190 deputies and an unprecedented labor reform in 40 years, agreed with unions and employers. Its two possible ways of ratification carry risks in this same January: the Government does not have guaranteed votes to validate the reform as a decree-law in Congress and, in the case of processing it as a bill, the amendments of its parliamentary partners could end up removing the employer from the agreement.

Without credible arguments for an electoral advance and with employment growing at a good pace, the Government is ahead of the fulfillment of half of the investiture agreement, according to the president’s calculations, but also the management of pending issues with destabilizing potential. The PP keeps the renewal of the judiciary blocked, despite the gesture of the government coalition to agree to a highly questionable renewal of the Constitutional Court. In the first quarter of the year, the Supreme Court will rule on the appeals of PP and Vox against the pardons of the independence prisoners, while the judicial mess in Europe with Puigdemont continues. The Constitutional Constitution must also pronounce itself in 2022 on laws of political significance promoted by this Government and highly attacked by the right: the Celáa law of Education and the law of Euthanasia, in addition to the sentence of the Law of the abortion of Zapatero, appealed by the PP 11 years ago.

But the reformist agenda of the Executive will continue and in the coming months the reform of the university, the gag law, the housing law and the democratic memory law. In some of these cases, the internal cohesion of the Government will be put to the test with an opposition in permanent electoral campaign. Pablo Casado has managed, forcing the dissolution of the courts of Castilla y León, to design a staircase with which he hopes to reach La Moncloa. These elections and those of Andalusia will put the central government parties, whose electoral expectations in both places are bad, to a resistance test, in addition to assessing the political path of the platforms of empty Spain. The hypothetical return of the emeritus king will also fly over the year, particularly if the attorney general files, as planned, the criminal case, without progress in the regulation of transparency and control of the royal house.

Spanish democracy is not immune to the shaking that democratic systems are suffering throughout the world. For this reason, perhaps the greatest challenge we face is the responsibility with which public representatives face the task that they are constitutionally envisaged. Institutional blockades, personal insults, lies and misinformation have populated the sessions of Congress in 2021. The greatest risk for coexistence is that the same deputies who represent the citizens do not take it seriously.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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