The liberal European order has been under attack from within and without in recent years. The EU became a convenient punching bag for opportunistic politicians in many of its member countries, and centrist political parties are being challenged by a populist wave that may not have yet crested. The work to rebuild trans-Atlantic ties with the U.S. under President Joe Biden has begun, even as Russia's attempts to destabilize the European order have not abated.
The impacts of climate change are advancing faster than experts had previously predicted, and they are increasingly irreversible. But persistent climate skepticism from key global figures, motivated in part by national economic interests, is slowing diplomatic efforts to systematically address the drivers of climate change.
Boris Johnson finally delivered a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU on Jan. 1, 2021, more than four years after British voters narrowly voted to leave the EU in a 2016 referendum. But the deep divisions that delivering Brexit opened up have remade the U.K.’s political landscape and show no signs of healing. Meanwhile, the future of the U.K.’s trade relations with the U.S. and the rest of the world, as well as its global role, remain as uncertain now as they did before Brexit.