Home Les bulletins GEAB GEAB Special file What will post-COVID-19 Europe look like? (Mar 2020)

GEAB Special file

The monthly bulletin of LEAP (European Laboratory of Political Anticipation) - 14 Aug 2020

What will post-COVID-19 Europe look like? (Mar 2020)

The prospects for social reorganisation that can be imagined from the current health crisis are enormous. We have, therefore, decided to focus on Europe, about which we are much more certain than we are about the rest of the world. But certain trends of transformation will be the same everywhere.

Governance: strengthening regional and global policy coordination bodiesIn the 2010s, the “populists” took over the technocracies of the 90s and 2000s, once again linking governance to the concerns of “the people”. That said, they still aren’t at the right level of power and, for at least a year, we have been analysing a transfer of their political agendas to supra-national levels. By affecting all economies without exception, COVID-19 considerably reinforces the relevance of the “major levels” of decision and action – much more surely than the migration crisis, for example, which led most EU countries only to pass the responsibilities on to border areas (Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Spain); or the terrorist crisis, whose federating potential was ethically dangerous. The virus has a great quality: it is a “humanist”. Although the Chinese and Americans are starting to cast aspersions on one another each accusing the other of being at the origin of the problem, whether men, women, gays, heterosexuals, Jews, Arabs etc., the virus itself puts us all in the same bag. [1]

Inflation: towards a returnAt the beginning of the health crisis, the much hoped for inflation receded.[2] But we don’t think this situation is set to last long or beyond the crisis. In reality, the disruption caused to supply and production chains will create a situation where production methods will become more expensive and will be forced to reorganise (knowing China has probably permanently turned part of the flow of its immense production machine back on itself) and goods will become scarcer as demand picks up again… even if oil prices remain below 50 USD/barrel. Another argument in favour of inflation is linked to the point on banks (below). Banks are loaded with reserves of liquidity from QE and it is this storage that has prevented monetary printing from producing galloping inflation.[3] If we are right, and European banks are set on a plan for the economic and financial reconstruction of the continent, this liquidity, when it comes out of their coffers, will recreate inflation. This mechanism could even carry a risk of hyperinflation, but if everything is in place to absorb this money in large modern infrastructure projects (railways, health, social, defence, AI…) as we analyse it, this trend should be contained.

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In summary

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