Your (annotated) guide to the year ahead
Your correspondent's personal take and predictions on the key events that will shape 2022 — or at least keep us entertained.
French presidency of the Council of the EU begins
Main priorities include Africa, EU defense, industrial policy and getting Macron re-elected.
French presidential election first round
SPOILER ALERT! Macron and Le Pen come out on top (again)
French presidential election second round
AHEM (see above): Macron wins (again)
Hungarian parliamentary election
Everyone against Orbán in the only EU state no longer considered a democracy by Freedom House.
World Press Freedom Day
The EU noisily celebrates press freedom just days after Reporters Without Borders publishes its World Press Freedom Index — which in 2021 had Hungary at 92nd and Bulgaria at 111th place out of 180 countries.
The day in which millions of Europeans take to the streets waving EU flags, singing the EU anthem — Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” — and quoting from founding father Robert Schuman’s May 9, 1950 declaration that kicked off the whole EU project. In federalists’ fantasies, anyway.
Eurovision Song Contest final, Turin
The real moment that brings Europeans together. Will Cyprus and Greece break the habit of a lifetime and not give each other douze points? And will anyone give any points at all to the U.K. — if it makes the Grand Final — after its dismal nul points in 2021?
Czech presidency of the Council of the EU begins
For the next six months, the EU will be led by a country whose recent leaders include president Miloš Zeman (an ailing pro-Kremlin, anti-Islam populist who brandishes Kalashnikovs at journalists) and Andrej Babiš (a billionaire businessman turned prime minister who is under investigation for allegedly siphoning of millions of euros of EU funds). What could possibly go wrong?
70th anniversary of the entry into force of the European Coal and Steel Community, which ultimately led to the creation of the EU. Also, a timely reminder that the world’s most ambitious climate bloc was built on coal, steel and nuclear power.
World Air Guitar Championships, Oulo, Finland
From the country that brought you the World Wife Carrying Championships and competitions for swamp football, ant nest sitting and mobile phone throwing, comes the annual festival of guitar riff fakery on the edge of the Arctic Circle.
Swedish general election
All eyes will be on the far-right Sweden Democrats. All foreign journalists’ eyes that is.
U.S. mid-term elections
A biannual event in which Europeans obsess about the intricacies of American domestic politics — to the dismay of those who wished they did the same about EU politics.
The only holiday EU officials don’t get — which is strange since it commemorates an end to fighting between European nations.
FIFA World Cup final
Italy wins — as it won pretty much everything in 2021.
30th anniversary of the dissolution of Czechoslovakia — the only time in history the words “velvet” and “divorce” have been uttered in the same sentence.