Welcome to the World in 2011, a short look into deciphering media activity that is expected to mark the coming year. There are many unknowns and question marks, but what is certain is the world will confront these 365 days with the economic crisis as a companion on the voyage. World leaders’ main challenges will be determined by complicated economic interplay.
We will see what subjects are in store, continent by continent, the ones euronews will pay special attention to this year.
We will see if the rescue plans for Greece and Ireland will manage to calm the markets’ insatiable appetites. And, on the other hand, we will see whether Spain will end up joining the group of countries in free fall. The other big question in Spain this year is whether the heirs of Batasuna will take part in local elections in May, following the announcement by the separatist group ETA of a permanent and verifiable cease-fire.
France will preside over the G20 in 2011, a very political year in France with the runup to the campaign for the 2012 presidential ballot. Nicolas Sarkozy will need to work in close collaboration this year with his potential election rival, the director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a possible candidate of the Socialists.
Portugal will hold presidential elections on 23 January. In Italy, we will follow the political crisis closely, including the general elections which could come in spring.
In 2011, macro-economic indicators suggest, Germany will confirm its status as the locomotive of Europe.
The UK will hold a referendum on the introduction of a more proportional electoral system, a longstanding aspiration of the liberal party, partner in government with the conservatives’ David Cameron.
In Russia this year we will see the equation worked out as to whether Dimitri Medvedev or Vladimir Poutin will be the official presidential candidate in 2012.
The year 2011 will not be easy for Barack Obama. The US president will have difficulty passing measures in a House of Representatives under Republican control. In foreign affairs, the year will be marked by the beginning of a retreat from Afghanistan, which will serve as an indicator on whether the new negotiating strategy with the Taliban is working, and, as in Iraq, the gradual transfer of control to local authorities.
New leaders are in place in Latin America. Dilma Rousseff has succeeded her mentor Lula, promising to carry on policy that appears to have produced excellent economic results. Roussef is already preparing a plan to eradicate poverty and corruption in Brazil.
On the whole, Latin America has managed the crisis better than other regions in 2010, and its growth in 2011 could reach four to five percent.
In Cuba, we will scrutinise the new Castro government’s reform plans. The island’s Catholic representatives say that, with this, more political prisoners will be released.
In Mexico, the war against the drug lords will take a major effort by the government of Felipe Calderón.
In the Middle East, we will see if the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks get out of the impasse they have been in since Abbas and Netanyahu met in September 2010 in Washington.
Iran’s nuclear aspirations and fears in the West that Tehran’s nuclear programme is concealing military intentions will remain in the forefront of the news, especially the Bushehr nuclear plant which is due to come online in the first trimester.
Tensions in the two Koreas will also figure high on the news radar.
This year will also see elections in 15 of the 52 countries of Africa. In 2010, unfortunately, we saw that elections such as in Ivory Coast were as much a problem as part of the solutions. We’ll follow that crisis closely.
We will also pay close attention to the referendum on the splitting up of Sudan, and the possible complications in the second round, concerning sovereignty for the oil region of Abyei.
We’ll follow presidential elections in Egypt, where the big question is whether the president for 29 years Hosni Moubarak will run again for office.
2011 will, more than ever, be the year of the Haka in New Zealand. The fearsome All Blacks will play on home ground from 9 September to 23 October, in the Rugby World Cup, as 20 nations contend for the prized Webb Ellis Trophy.
It will also be a year of wedding bells. Britain’s Prince William tie the knot with Kate Middleton on April 29 at Westminster Abbey. The other royal marriage will be of Prince Albert of Monaco with finance Charlene Wittstock, on 3 July.
The last voyage of the space shuttle Endeavor comes this year as well, in April.
We will discover 2011 with you, day by day.
The news expected to mark 2011