A happy and lucky New Year!
First things first: a Happy New Year to you all. In fact, I hope that 2013 will not only be a happy year for you, but also, as I said before Christmas, a lucky one.
German speakers often confuse the two words "happy" and "lucky" in English because they are covered by the same German word: glücklich. And just to confuse things even more, there is also the English expression "happy-go-lucky", used to describe someone who is carefree and not worried about the future. I hope that is you, too.I'll start the year, as I traditionally do, by looking back at the predictions I made the previous January and making some new ones for the year ahead.
Before I do that, however, let me say how delighted I am that my pre-Christmas prediction was correct that the world wasn't going to end on 21 December 2012. Frankly, I'm amazed that anyone could have believed such irresponsible, unscientific nonsense. Of course, some people would use the same description to describe economics — but that's another story.
OK, what exactly did I predict last January? In fact, I made just one prediction, as you can read here. Following a trip to Iowa, during which I listened to most of the possible Republican presidential candidates, I was totally convinced that Barack Obama would be re-elected. Strike!
If you read last year's post more carefully, however, you'll see that I (again) expected the value of the euro to fall to $1.20 or below. For the second year running, this prediction was wrong. The euro actually ended the year slightly higher, moving up from $1.29 to around $1.31.
This was because, despite all the carping from the euro-haters and euro-sceptics, the eurozone made significant progress in 2012 towards sorting out its problems. But enough about 2012, what are my predictions for 2013? This year, I have three, all relating to Europe:
- For the third year running, I predict that the euro will fall to $1.20. (If I predict this often enough, I'll get it right one year surely.) This level is where the euro needs to be if the eurozone is not to stagnate completely as a result of all the austerity packages.
- The EU will get increasingly fed up with Britain not knowing it if wants to be in or out. (As a Brit, I am also fed up with this attitude.) A pledge will be made in Britain — by both the coalition Conservative-Liberal government and the opposition Labour Party — to hold a referendum on Britain's EU membership, but not until 2015.
- Angela Merkel will lose her position as Chancellor in Germany following the elections in the autumn. Although her CDU party will win the largest number of votes, she won't be able to form a coalition government with the "frankly damn pathetic" FDP again. Instead, Germany will revert to a "red-green" coalition of the SDP and Green Party, led by Peer Steinbrück.
With elections in Italy and Germany — and, no doubt, a few other roller-coaster rides along the way — 2013 promises to be an exciting year in Europe. Fasten your seat belts!