At the global level, in the years of the Trump administration, we witnessed the questioning of the multilateral structure built after the Second World War, based on rules and cooperative relations, as well as of the institutions on which it is founded (UN, IMF, World Bank, WTO and, most recently, WHO). We have seen tensions multiply in transatlantic relations, in an international context where new continental actors have emerged, often with authoritarian regimes. The confrontation/clash between the US and China is worsening, which is a source of growing concern. This scenario is made even more uncertain by Covid-19.
The attack on multilateralism poses an existential threat to the European integration project based on “loyal collaboration” and the sharing of sovereignty. However, Trump’s election was also a powerful sign of the cracks in globalization due to its faulty construction and the lack of governance in recent decades. At the same time, Covid-19 has once again shown how global problems cannot be addressed with solutions confined to national borders. In this regard, in 2021 Italy will play a significant role on the international stage, with the Presidency of the G20, where it will host the Global Health Summit, and the COP26 co-Presidency in Glasgow (organized by the UK).
In 2021, the CSF aims to focus on three areas with targeted proposals: international trade and the reform of the World Trade Organization; the structure and possible reform of the international monetary system; the definition of global governance for some “global public goods”, linked to the “ecological transition” and also involving the health sector. In all three cases, the proactive role that the European Union can and must play will be stressed.
In the field of international trade, the focus will be on supporting multilateralism, centred on a properly reformed WTO, and on defending the role of the EU as sole negotiator on the matter. The issue of the growth of global trade is also intertwined with its environmental impact. This may lead to the introduction of forms of global taxation, also favoured by the aforementioned carbon border adjustments (see the section “Economy and Development”).
As regards the international monetary system, the reference partner is Robert Triffin International (RTI), for which since 2016 the CSF has been operating as the General Secretariat and Research Centre. Reports and initiatives have already been carried out with RTI, arousing considerable interest, in particular on the increased role of the SDR (Special Drawing Rights), the new geography of the world’s main financial centers, and problems related to international liquidity. In 2021, in-depth studies will focus above all on the international role of the euro as well as the functions and potential of digital currencies.
Regarding governance of “global public goods”, for the environment the reference point is the Paris Agreement on climate (at COP21 at the end of 2015), defended by the EU and China after the US’s withdrawal imposed by Trump – a choice that might be reversed by a Biden administration. The challenge of global containment of the pandemic and universal availability of future vaccines will again bring up the issue of shared management of “global public goods”. In 2021, the CSF will focus on the role that the EU could play in these two areas, thanks also to the European Green Deal and the possible redefinition (as indicated in the section “Economy and Development”) of EURATOM’s role and objectives, as the pivot of a European Community for Energy and the Environment.
(From CSF’s 2021 Guidelines - approved on 31 October 2020)