2nd Oct 2023


The stories you should have read in 2022

  • Some part of me hopes that next year turns out to be slightly more laid back. (Photo: phil_k)
Listen to article

I won't bore you with platitudes about what a momentous year this has been, you'll probably have enough of those conversations tomorrow at your New Year's Eve.

But what a year this has been. From the first whiffs of lockdown lifting straight into an all out war on the European mainland, slipping into a historic energy and cost-of-living crisis, fuelled by inflation, etcetera, etcetera.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

And that's just skimming the surface. We ended the year with what might have been the biggest corruption case ever for the European Parliament, saw Hungary and Poland slip further down the apparently slippery rule-of-law slide, Sweden and Italy vote in far-right parties, Frontex migrant abuses uncovered, an unintended boost for renewables, big tech taking a beating and honestly, too much to list.

Some part of me hopes that next year turns out to be slightly more laid back. Give us a little time to breathe and reflect on decisions made over the past few years. But rationally, I don't think any of us sees that happening.

As the Russian war against Ukraine draws out, and fiscal and monetary policy aimed at suppressing inflation start biting regular consumers, tensions over what to do next are all but certain to rise — money being expensive at a time when more money is needed is never a recipe for success.

These tensions will not only be visible in next year's national elections (in Czechia, Finland, Spain and Poland, most notably) but also in the run-up to the 2024 European Parliament elections, as groups and parties gear up for their campaigns in the shadow of the Qatar graft scandal.

Even though support for supporting Ukraine remains high among Europeans, I'm willing to bet that political parties are ready to exploit the 'supporting Ukraine versus supporting businesses and households' dichotomy to split electorates for electoral gain. Mark my words.

And as inflation remains high (and don't forget, prices don't tend to fall — so what we're paying now is the new norm, even if inflation drops) workers across the bloc will demand wages to match as their only way to maintain the standard of living they're used to. Which is incidentally why we'll be devoting more attention in labour coverage in Europe next year.

We'll also continue our coverage of the issues that fall between the cracks of commercial media and more national-focused publications, scrutinising EU institutions and policy on topics like migration, rule of law, foreign policy and the green economy. On top of that we'll be doing a number of themed weeks on topics ranging from shifting demographics to space regulation to influence.

So even as next year looks to be at least as torrid as this past one, our whole team and I are looking forward to keep on doing the reporting that matters, uncovering the stories that others might ignore and hopefully, being of service to you, our reader.

Finally, to cap off the year, our reporters shared their favourite stories of year, for you to peruse at your convenience. And so here goes, in no particular order, the stories you should not have missed this year:

Revealed: Who were Russia's spies in the EU corridors?

Dmitry Kirizliyev — a Russian 'senior advisor' on human rights expelled in April (Photo: Dossier Center)

Ukrainian refugees 'told to vacate Brussels homes'

Ukrainian refugees in Brussels are being told to vacate homes because their hosts no longer want them there. (Photo: William Murphy)

A 'silent pandemic' the EU is not prepared for

About 30 percent of Europeans reported at least one health problem such as fatigue, headaches, eyestrain, muscle problems or pain, caused by work. (Photo: Nedad Stojkovic, Flickr)

Central banks can't fight inflation alone — their tools are too blunt

Philipp Heimberger: 'I think there is something wrong with prevalent monetary policy ideas when central banks protect their credibility by pushing economies deeper into recession' (Photo: Philipp Heimberger)

How Nato's Bucharest summit came back to bite in Ukraine

Theres's a cliche that backroom negotiations at big summits sometimes feel as if they're taking place in a "hall of mirrors." In the case of the 2008 Nato summit in Bucharest, where Ukraine was first offered the now red-hot issue of joining the Western alliance, it was also literally true. (Photo: Flickr/Matt Kieffer)

Dismay over EU plans to keep paying to promote meat

Calls have emerged to phase out EU funding for campaigns promoting European meat — since livestock farming is estimated to produce 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. (Photo: Kelly Hau)

Mysterious Atlantic cable cuts linked to Russian fishing vessels

Few took notice when a 4.2-km subsea cable in the Arctic Ocean vanished without trace back in April 2021, but these days undersea infrastructure security has become a hot topic. (Photo: LoveOcean/Institute of Marine Research Norway)

Putin and the threat of a tactical nuclear attack

A US Titan class nuclear missile, from the Cold War, now decommissioned and held at a museum in Nevada. (Photo: jonkeegan)

See you next year, thanks for reading and, if you can miss it, consider a membership.

Weekly digest: The comfort of spreadsheets

In which we appreciate the spreadsheet. Also, Spanish colonial crimes in Morocco, how to look at 'power' in the EU and all the other articles you should have not missed this week.

Okay, alright, AI might be useful after all

Large Language Models could give the powers trained data-journalists wield, to regular boring journalists like me — who don't know how to use Python. And that makes me tremendously excited, to be honest.

Okay, alright, AI might be useful after all

Large Language Models could give the powers trained data-journalists wield, to regular boring journalists like me — who don't know how to use Python. And that makes me tremendously excited, to be honest.

Latest News

  1. EU women promised new dawn under anti-violence pact
  2. Three steps EU can take to halt Azerbaijan's mafia-style bullying
  3. Punish Belarus too for aiding Putin's Ukraine war
  4. Added-value for Russia diamond ban, as G7 and EU prepare sanctions
  5. EU states to agree on asylum crisis bill, say EU officials
  6. Poland's culture of fear after three years of abortion 'ban'
  7. Time for a reset: EU regional funding needs overhauling
  8. Germany tightens police checks on Czech and Polish border

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  2. International Medical Devices Regulators Forum (IMDRF)Join regulators, industry & healthcare experts at the 24th IMDRF session, September 25-26, Berlin. Register by 20 Sept to join in person or online.
  3. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  4. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA
  5. International Medical Devices Regulators Forum (IMDRF)Join regulators & industry experts at the 24th IMDRF session- Berlin September 25-26. Register early for discounted hotel rates
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal interest in the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations – here are the speakers for the launch

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers20 June: Launch of the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations
  2. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  3. ICLEISeven actionable measures to make food procurement in Europe more sustainable
  4. World BankWorld Bank Report Highlights Role of Human Development for a Successful Green Transition in Europe
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic summit to step up the fight against food loss and waste
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersThink-tank: Strengthen co-operation around tech giants’ influence in the Nordics

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us