Brussels Economic Forum to begin today

Today marks the start of the 20th Brussels Economic Forum, an annual event hosted by the European Commission to deliberate

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Photo: AP Photo/ Markus Schreiber

Today marks the start of the 20th Brussels Economic Forum, an annual event hosted by the European Commission to deliberate on pan-European economic policy.

The forum ushers in the start of what is expected to be the most politically exhausting and economically ground-breaking year for the EU since the forum’s inception. The current economic crisis has brought together disparate political parties across Europe and resulted in the largest economic aid package in EU history.

Though the European response to the pandemic has so far been characterised by partnership and cooperation, this could change quickly. Significant challenges remain unaddressed: Poland and Hungary are moving to consolidate state power over their economies; southern Europe is contending with the disproportionate economic impacts of a migrant crisis; central Europe pushing for a separate path to recovery; and Greece and Turkey are setting up for war footing.

Brussels has been using the new pandemic aid package as a means for further economic integration. Yet if member countries don’t feel that Brussels’ agenda is fair, any single event may be the catalyst for the next round of Brexit-style populist anti-European political movements that bring into question the future of the EU.

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