Happy New Year.
As you strategise on what 2023 holds, here are some of the events likely to dominate conversations in Europe and beyond.
1. King Charles III Coronation and Camilla, Queen Consort
Following the death of the towering Queen Elizabeth II, the UK and the world at large awaits the coronation of King Charles III as the new monarch. It’s the first coronation in the 21st century since 1953, and the world gets a rare glimpse of an event many may never experience again. Camilla will also be crowned as the Queen Consort and takes the record from Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, last coronated in 1937.
Unofficial reports say the celebrations, codenamed Operation Golden Orb take place at Westminster Abbey. The organisers want to keep it lowkey with respect to the departed Queen Elizabeth II and representatives across the world will attend. An interesting part to look forward to is the coronation of Camilla. How will it happen?
This will be an event likely to shape conversations over the next decades.
2. China’s National People’s Congress
All indications show Xi Jinping will still be voted as the supreme leader of the ruling party, and thus lord over China and the rest of the world. Therefore, the world can look forward to a continuation of most of the Chinese-led trade policies but with an emboldened Xi Jinping.
Li Qiang, notorious for his management of the Shanghai lockdown earlier in 2022, will most likely step up as the new premier, effectively taking over the economy docket. No one knows what changes to expect but we all could use some assurance that global supply chains will not face imminent closure.
3. Alzheimer’s Disease Drugs
In early 2023, the US regulators will announce to the world whether drugs that slowed down cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s Disease in a clinical trial are fit for human consumption. The drug manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Eisai and the biotechnology firm Biogen, lecanemab is a monoclonal antibody that clears amyloid-β protein that builds up in the brain and slowed down mental decline by 27%. There are safety concerns and its overall utility.
Another drug known as blarcamesine — developed by Anavex Life Sciences in New York City — will continue to make its way through clinical trials. It works by activating the protein that improves neuron stability and their ability to interlink.
Which way will the US regulators rule?
4. The NATO Summit in Vilnius
With the Russia-Ukraine war seemingly unending, Europe needs to relook at its security protocols and address any shortcomings. 2023 marks the first time when member states greatly depend on NATO’s functionality and capabilities to deal with any possible aggressions.
Some three years ago, the French President described NATO as being ‘brain dead’ but times have changed. NATO is relevant and critical to helping member countries fend off the fluid and complex security situation since the Cold Wars. Germany can expect a backlash for its reluctance to reach the 2% of GDP expenditure for military purposes. Sweden and Finland can also expect to be ratified as the newest members of the alliance.
5. COP – 28
Can the world rally and combat the threat of climate change? It will also be a time to question why Arabian countries seem to be always chosen as hosts for the conference. After the usual bickering and half-hearted pledges in Egypt the previous year, the world heads to UAE. COP – 28 must take the bold step of eliminating fossil fuels in Europe and push the rest of the world towards a green movement.
UAE is a net oil exporter and the looming showdown adds a twist to the meeting. Irrespective of how one looks at it, climate change is a topic for NOW. The question is whether world leaders share and appreciate the urgency.
6. FIFA Women’s World Cup
Lionel Messi finally won the World Cup in Qatar to cement his legendary status in the game. However, the women’s tournament will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, and 32 teams will battle it out for the honours. Expect the US to fiercely defend the titles to become five-time champions and become the first country to ever win a FIFA World Cup three consecutive times.
Brazil’s captain, Marta, will surely aim to steal the show and become the greatest female footballer of all time by adding to her impressive tally of 115 goals thus far.
May the best team win.