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How Covid-19 changed the future

Geopolitical implications for Europe
18 December 2020
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Covid-19 erupted into a landscape of change: even before the pandemic unfolded, the world was already grappling with major challenges and the emergence of new geopolitical fissures and trends.

In the face of the economic and societal changes brought by the coronavirus, as well as the structural fragilities that it has exposed, some argue that that the pandemic will merely accentuate pre-existing trends and dynamics, while others believe that the crisis will create a world profoundly different than before.

This Chaillot Paper examines both dimensions: it assesses the geopolitical trends the pandemic is perceived as having accelerated, and the scope for innovation and far-reaching change induced by the crisis.  In the final section it explores the interplay of trends and uncertainties in three distinct scenarios.  It concludes that to proactively shape the future, EU decision-makers have strategic choices to make – with the role that Europe wants to play in a world shaped by Sino-American antagonism being the most important.