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2024, challenges and unresolved issues: the EU needs authoritative leaders, like Draghi

January 2024
By Gianni Pittella

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As I kick off 2024, I’ve got my hands on this interesting book called “Future.” It delves into the nuances between authority and authoritativeness, making a clear distinction. Authority is about using force to impose decisions, while authoritativeness is built through a track record of consistent achievements day after day.

When we look at the major issues of 2024 – spanning immigration, steering the green transition, handling artificial intelligence, and crucial electoral competitions (like the one in the USA, which holds significant importance) – it’s evident that liberal democracies are facing mounting challenges. They’re up against monocratic regimes and are fatigued by their own inaction. Dealing with these challenges will demand a great deal of authority.

This necessity applies not just to the USA, where the looming threat of Trump persists, but also to the European Union. The EU has been hit repeatedly by the pandemic, the invasion of Ukraine, Qatargate, and the resurfacing conflicts in the Middle East. If the Trumpian ordeal becomes a harsh reality, the EU will require strong, authoritative leadership more than ever.

We need leaders who can initiate internal reforms, starting with overcoming the unanimity rule. They must also step into a global role, paying more attention to the Balkans and Africa – regions from where critical issues like immigration and Putin’s intervention stem.

It’s crucial not to ignore the ongoing disintegration of several African states and the growing influence of Russia, both in those regions and in select Balkan countries. The most authoritative figures must be actively engaged and at the forefront during one of the most challenging periods in European and global history.

In my view, a figure like Mario Draghi possesses the necessary qualities to respond effectively. He embodies authority, competence, and holds significant prestige, both within and outside the European Union.