John Palmer's 2006 forecast

9 January 2006
John Palmer looks at the paradox that confronts the EU in 2006: despite difficulties, EU expansion is set to continue in 2006. By the end of the year, there will be 27 EU countries, and still more looking to join. With a revitalized economy, and with the EU presidency for the second half of the year, Germany will return to being a key European actor. Austria, EU presidency holders for the first half of 2006, will want to focus on the Lisbon agenda; transatlantic relations with the United States will remain unpredictable, because of instability in the US administration and a decline in US power. A weakened US may necessitate a stronger EU, with some additional forms of shared sovereignty being a critical part of this.

Who's getting rich from COVID-19?

Boris Johnson's government stands accused of 'COVID cronyism', after handing out staggering sums of money to controversial private firms to fight COVID-19. Often the terms of these deals are kept secret, with no value-for-money checks or penalties for repeated failures which cost lives. And many major contracts have gone directly to key Tory donors and allies – without competition.

As COVID rates across the country surge, how can we hold our leaders accountable? Meet the lawyers, journalists and politicians leading the charge in our free live discussion on Thursday 1 October at 5pm UK time.

Hear from:

Dawn Butler Labour MP for Brent Central and member of the House of Commons Committee on Science and Technology

Peter Geoghegan Investigations editor, openDemocracy, and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Jolyon Maugham Barrister and founder of the Good Law Project.

Peter Smith Procurement expert and author of 'Bad Buying: How Organisations Waste Billions through Failures, Frauds and F*ck-ups'

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief of openDemocracy

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