2018 Global Risk Forecast - Europe
Italy's general election could prove to be the greatest European upset of 2018. The anti-establishment M5S, led by former comedian Beppe Grillo, consistently polls ahead of other parties, reaching around 27 per cent. However, A2 Global assesses that it is unlikely to be able to form a government even if it does maintain its approval rating in the election, because the party opposes coalitions. The far-right Lega Nord is currently polling at 15 per cent, and could conceivably form a coalition government with independent candidates and a right-wing party, Fratelli d'Italia. Any government led by Lega Nord would be highly Eurosceptic, inflaming divisions within the European Union. That could create major problems for the Euro currency zone, of which Italy is a part. However, A2 Global does not predict that Italy will leave the Euro in 2018, though the currency is highly unpopular among Italians and Lega Nord opposes it.
A2 Global does not predict that Italy will leave the Euro in 2018, though the currency is highly unpopular among Italians and Lega Nord opposes it
Russia will continue its attempts to influence politics in European countries, focusing particularly on Latvia's parliamentary elections in 2018. Ethnic Russians constitute around a quarter of Latvia's population, and traditionally vote for the SPDS, a left-wing party that advocates closer relations with Russia. The Balkan countries face a mixed picture. Macedonia is reaching political stability after a crisis-ridden two years. The centre-left government will continue to push for integration with Western Europe, to Russia's irritation. Serbia and Montenegro will also continue their long path towards E.U. membership; Montenegro's long-time leader Milo Đukanović will almost certainly run in the presidential elections in 2018 after a brief political hiatus. A2 predicts a low turnout for Bosnia and Herzegovina's general election, which is unlikely to solve the long-running deadlock in the country's complicated political system. Russia's presidential election in 2018 will yield no surprises. Despite opposition activist Alexei Navalny's publicity-friendly protests, Vladimir Putin will return for a fourth presidential term. A2 Global predicts that opposition protests will be held in major urban centres, particularly the western city of Saint Petersburg, which is traditionally more liberal than the capital Moscow. Russia will also host the Fifa World Cup this year, one of the most-watched sports tournaments in the world. As football fans flock to the country, violence is likely on a number of fronts from homophobia, racism and transphobia to terrorism. Also read: The Fifa World Cup in Russia: A poisoned chalice The key security threat that Europe faces in 2018 is terrorism. Major terrorist attacks are likely, particularly against countries that have a military role in the Middle East and Muslim countries of Africa. Tourist attractions and transport hubs will be key targets, and open, pedestrianised areas are particularly vulnerable if they are not protected by physical barriers. Far-right extremism will also continue to rise, and though such groups currently have lower capabilities than jihadist cells, it is possible that lone-wolf style assaults, probably targeting prominent individuals, will occur in 2018. Read the full 2018 Global Risk Forecast here
Russia will continue its attempts to influence politics in European countries, focusing particularly on Latvia's parliamentary elections in 2018