Emily Hawkins, Tony Allen, Adam Robertson Charlton, Orla Knox-Macaulay, James Chesson and Angel Loeraís predictions for the year ahead.

2017: ten years since the first iPhone and Windows Vista were released; 20 years since the UK governed Hong Kong, and the death of Princess Diana in Paris. While events like the latter will always come as a surprise, any year is a mix of the consequences of the previous ones, in addition to the unexpected.

The arrival of Donald Trump in the White House is expected to be the main issue of 2017. The global economy could be at stake, as Trump may make good on his claims to tax businesses who produce goods overseas, while it remains to be seen which actions will be taken over the deportation of US immigrants. Canada and Mexico have appointed people with relevant experience in trade and finance as new ministers of foreign relations, in an attempt to be prepared for any negotiations on the matter.

In Europe, the UK took its first step towards an exit from the European Union (EU) last year. Negotiations on Brexit are expected to begin in March. But 2017 will also mark the 25th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty which established the EU. It is yet to be seen how the EU-UK relations will change in terms of trade, finance and free movement.

However, Europe faces numerous other challenges: terrorist attacks continue to be a threat, and France’s presidential elections are also worrying for the EU. The new year brings many other issues in many other areas: a new Secretary General of the United Nations has just taken office. Germany will also hold presidential and federal elections. The country will host the G-20 Summit in Hamburg in July and the 23th Conference of Parties to UN Convention on Climate Change that will take place in Bonn during November. AL

United Kingdom

Recap: Theresa May announced that she would trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the official beginning to Britain’s exit from the European Union, by the end of March. This would mean Britain will leave the EU by summer 2019.

Predictions: However, the government has yet to announce the details of such an exit, with questions still in the air about access to the single market and business regulations. The government will also require an Act of Parliament to be passed in order to start the process. EH

Philippines

Recap: Police in the Phillipines estimate that more than 6,000 people have already been killed as part of a brutal war on drugs. In his first speech in position, President Duterte stated that his plan for drug users was to “slaughter these idiots for destroying my country.”

Predictions: The death toll in the Philippines is likely to continue to rise throughout 2017, especially with President-elect Donald Trump telling Duterte that he believed he was going about the drugs war in “the right way.” JC

Russia 

Recap: Although Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, few predicted the annexation of Crimea in 2015. This proved President Putin’s willingness to expand into what Russians call the “near abroad”, regardless of its proximity to NATO members. Putin’s hostility to NATO’s advance into regions traditionally within Russia’s sphere of influence is known. Whilst the inauguration of Donald Trump as US president may thaw Russo-US relations, troop build-ups in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, NATO

deployments to the Baltic and continuing Russian involvement in Syria suggests this one will continue to run.

Predictions: Sanctions and falling oil prices have hurt Russia, making it unlikely to attempt more overt expansion in the immediate future. Instead, Putin is more likely to continue to solidify and expand Russia’s growing sphere of influence into the Middle East, and attempt to establish himself as the primary powerbroker in the region. ARC

United States

Recap: It was 8th November when Trump was declared President- Elect with a result that shocked the nation, and the globe. He arguably ran the most controversial campaign that ended up with a split America; the Democrats and Republicans have never been so politically divided. The Electoral College confirmed his presidency in December. From then until his inauguration, which will take place on January 20th, people from around the world have never been so engaged in politics. Predictions: With a country so torn, it will likely take the whole of Trump’s presidency to rebuild  bridges burned on the campaign trail. Americans will lose health insurance if the Affordable Care Act is repealed: with 20 million more people now with healthcare, Trump is likely to put that figure back to zero again. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will be likely to need a lot of help as senior adviser, as he looks like he just came out of university. America will not in fact become “great again”. OKM

Recap: It was 8th November when Trump was declared President- Elect with a result that shocked the nation, and the globe. He arguably ran the most controversial campaign that ended up with a split America; the Democrats and Republicans have never been so politically divided. The Electoral College confirmed his presidency in December. From then until his inauguration, which will take place on January 20th, people from around the world have never been so engaged in politics. Predictions: With a country so torn, it will likely take the whole of Trump’s presidency to rebuild  bridges burned on the campaign trail. Americans will lose health insurance if the Affordable Care Act is repealed: with 20 million more people now with healthcare, Trump is likely to put that figure back to zero again. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will be likely to need a lot of help as senior adviser, as he looks like he just came out of university. America will not in fact become “great again”. OKM

Ireland

Recap: 2016 saw Ireland’s ‘Repeal the Eighth’ movement make great strides, with a poll by the Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI in the autumn suggesting that 74 per cent of Irish voters support repealing or altering the anti-abortion legislation in one way or another. The Eighth Amendment was enacted in 1983 following a national referendum and outlaws all forms of abortion, including in cases of rape and fatal foetal abnormality. In early January opinion amongst members of the Citizens’ Assembly, a group of 100 Irish citizens convened

by Parliament to evaluate the law, leaned towards repeal. The Citizens’ Assembly does not have any legislative powers but the Irish

government have said they will consider the conclusions drawn by the body.

Predictions: Some are optimistic that the Irish government will announce a referendum on the issue, but there is strong internal opposition which may prevent such a decision. Pope Francis has vowed to use his 2018 visit to  the country to campaign against an abortion referendum. EH

Italy

Recap: Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned in December following defeat in a referendum on his plans for constitutional reform. This led to calls for elections from opposition parties including Five Star and the Northern League, both of whom want to see the country leave the Eurozone. Italy’s fragile banking sector is already dogged by uncertainty. Recent high unemployment and economic problems, coupled with a rise in anti-establishment sentiment, has caused concern in Brussels.

Predictions: It’s not certain when elections will be called, but it is likely to be early this year after a hearing on Italian electoral legitimacy is to be held later this month. A right-wing coalition could challenge the current government alliance including Renzi’s Democratic Party. The Northern League would look to switch currencies as soon as possible while Five Star have pledged to hold a referendum on the issue. The most feasible alternative to the euro is returning to the lira, Italy’s currency before they adopted the euro in 2002. However, it would be challenging for Italy to withdraw from the single currency without leaving the EU altogether. TA

South Sudan

Recap: The conflict in the Sudan is Africa’s oldest, and in 2011 this led to the creation of the world’s youngest country: South Sudan. Celebrated as a solution to the ethno-religious wars between the Arabic government and the nation’s black south, partition has failed to halt the violence. Now in South Sudan, where a civil war between ethnic Dinka, loyal to President Kiir, and rebel leader Machar and the Nuers has erupted, the UN is warning of a “repeat of what happened in Rwanda.” Three years of war has seen tens of thousands of South Sudanese citizens killed. Accounts of ethnic cleansing and rape used as a weapon of warfare are widespread.

Predictions: With the war spreading into previously unaffected regions, and the UN’s failure to pass an arms embargo, the situation is deteriorating. If the UN doesn’t act, and the African Union continues its hands-off approach in South Sudan, 2017 may witness the quietest genocide for a century. ARC