From March 15 to 17, the Dutch are being called upon to renew the 150 members of the House of States General after a campaign without meetings because of the pandemic. 37 parties are in the running. According to the latest opinion poll, the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) of liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte is due to come out on top with 38 seats. It is due to be followed by the PVV of right-wing populist Geert Wilders (22 seats), the Christian Democrats of the CDA (20), the centrists of D66 (15), and the Social Democrats of the PvdA (12).
The pandemic has revealed Europeans' dependence on supplies, but the EU has shown a form of responsiveness and pragmatism. Its strategic autonomy requires a renewed trade policy, based on a comprehensive economic policy, with its agricultural, industrial and defence aspects truly designed on a European scale.
Culture has been very much affected by the pandemic, but it is also taking advantage of it to reinvent itself. Because the construction of Europe is also a cultural project, the EU must redefine how to support this development and promote cultural action in the world, says Gitte Zschoch, director of the network of national cultural institutes of the European Union.
An area of trade and conflict since antiquity, the Mediterranean Sea remains a major crossroads for the interaction of the main strategic competitors. The multiplication of actors, and the inevitable duplicity that goes with it, generate the ambiguity of stated or real intentions. But Europe is best placed to understand this uncertain space and take a more active part.
The European Union, the main provider of official development aid together with its Member States, has created a new Instrument for Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation, with a budget of €79.5 billion for the period 2021-207. In Africa, it should focus more on agriculture and training, particularly for young people, which is a prerequisite for future development. It could also support industrialization, strengthen research or support local authorities engaged in international cooperation actions and, finally, include military spending.