From the very first days of January to the last weeks of fall, from the close neighourhood of Greece to the great wide world, the year 2020 – the first of the third decade of the 21st century by one counting; the last of the second one by another – will be a year pregnant in challenges and potentially heavy in consequences.
Let’s try the calendar approach. On the second day of the year, the consortium to start the EastMed gas pipeline (α venture having neither the gas to fill it, nor the finance to build it, but nonetheless with an important geopolitical function) will enter into a formal agreement in Athens: Israel, Greece and Cyprus – in descending order of importance – will be joined later on by Italy, that has some green reservations, or rather political ones masquerading as ecological.
Some days later, Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be meeting with President (“the Donald”) Trump. The Greek Premier will have in his retinue, further to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, those of Defense but also of Economy, of Digital Services and of Energy – so the range of talks will be wide enough. Still, the talks will mainly be on the East Mediterranean situation (EastMed gas pipeline included) and the Turkish sabre-ratting in the region. Trump unpredictability will hover over bilateral and regional-security talks.
Nearer the end of January, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will head to Ankara in a belated effort to stop the unraveling of the EU-Turkey Statement of March 2018, the agreement that is supposed to stop the refugee/migrant flow from Turkey towards Europe – through (mainly) Greece. End-January French President Emmanuel Macron will welcome Mitsotakis at the Elysée, to put some more substance to the France-Egypt-Greece-Cyprus - once more in descending order – meeting in Nicosia, on January 4th that will attempt to build a geopolitical node with energy-and-defense dimensions. To go just one step back, the second semester of 2020 will see Germany chairing the EU Council of Ministers; in that capacity Berlin is supposed to do some serious work on the refugee/migrant issue (treading on ground that will have be prepared by Croatia at the helm of the EU during the first semester).
To keep going Westwards, at some time in 2020 Brexit will be happening in a more tangible way now that Boris Johnson is squarely in power at the not-so-United Kingdom. While the first Tuesday of November the U.S. Presidential Election will present the world with one Trump encore or with the successor to “the Donald”. No lack of suspense…
… even if there is no flare-up in the Eastern Mediterranean or near the (claimed) Turkey-Libya EEZ, no new episode in the global trade war or some such high point.