Five factors that will shape your life in Europe in the 2020s

If the second decade of the 21st century demonstrated anything, it's that we live in an age of constant change.

Five factors that will shape your life in Europe in the 2020s

From the Trump presidency to the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve almost come to expect the unexpected. However, there are some significant global trends that, it’s safe to say, will shape the next decade.

Together with online learning expert GetSmarter, and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), we look at five of the factors that will influence the professional and personal lives of international workers in Europe over the next ten years. 

Gain an understanding of the world in the coming decade, in just eight weeks online with LSE and GetSmarter

1. Populism and economic nationalism. Donald Trump was only the most prominent manifestation of a populist surge in the second half of the last decade that afflicted many Western democracies. It was driven by disenchantment with globalisation and seemingly detached elites or technocrats.

The recent war of words between Germany and Hungary, over anti-LGBTIQ legislation, and the ensuing, very public demonstrations of support by many German sporting clubs, is only a glimpse of the ‘culture wars’ that seem to dominate the politics of central Europe in the next decade. 

Political turmoil, fanned by state and extra-state actors, may become more normalised, and that has implications for where you choose to live or take a job.

2. Cybersecurity. As more and more of our lives move online, powerful corporations handle our data and digital networks are exposed to criminal and extremist groups. What are the long-term consequences of the digital economy? How will privacy and cybersecurity concerns be addressed, such as those raised by the European Union, and who will control the new digital monopolies?

An example of how one of these issues may impact international workers in Europe is the recent ransomware attack on Swedish supermarkets, which not only saw shoppers unable to buy goods, but the entire business crippled for a number of days, costing millions of dollars in lost revenue and additional costs. 

As a benefit, however, IT specialists in cybersecurity will become more sought after, and many will need to be trained to meet the demands of corporations on the ground.

Enrol by October 5th in the Business, International Relations and the Political Economy online certificate course from LSE and GetSmarter to help you navigate the next decade

3. Brexit. It’s been five years since the United Kingdom voted to separate from the European Union, and despite half a decade of negotiations and diplomatic wrangling, tensions are still very much alive between the EU and its neighbour.

Aside from the very obvious changes to the way that many live and work in Europe, many smaller businesses are finding it impossible to ship goods, or provide services to the UK, due to spiralling freight costs, or lack of clarity about trade agreements. For many international workers in Europe, this has implications for businesses and employment – Britain may not maintain the market status it once did. 

Pic: The Local Creative Studio

4. US Elections. The 2024 US Presidential Election, and the midterms before that, will be a test to determine whether Trumpism was an anomaly, or remains an unpredictable, destabilising force in American politics for years to come.

On this side of the Atlantic, we’ve seen that the American isolationism of the previous administration has been replaced with a more cooperative approach and a military presence that is stabilising, if not increasing. For those who work in Europe as defence contractors, or with firms that do business with the military, there are more opportunities for growth after a period of stagnation. For serving personnel, they may find that their time in Europe is extended, with more opportunities to experience life in other nation

5. Climate change. The COP26 summit in Glasgow later this year will be a defining moment in the struggle against climate change. The United States and China, but also other major emitters, will need to make bigger global efforts after five years to implement the Paris Climate Agreement.

While you may be asked to use new power sources, or technologies with better energy efficiency, Europe is already being impacted by hotter summers and wetter winters, changing the way many work and go on holiday – something that you will have to get used to in the long term. 

Stay ahead of the curve. If you’re an international resident or your career requires an understanding of major global issues, it can be hard work keeping informed of these massive changes.

The Business, International Relations and the Political Economy online certificate course from the London School of Economics and Political Science, in collaboration with GetSmarter, explores some of the significant global trends that will define the decade, and have very real consequences for business and society.

Flexible, online learning designed by leading LSE academics enables anyone to develop the skills needed to think critically and make informed decisions during times of change and uncertainty.

Embrace change: enrol by October 5th in LSE and GetSmarter’s eight-week Business, International Relations and the Political Economy online certificate course

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UPDATED: What do we know about Sweden’s energy subsidy?

Sweden's government is offering two energy subsidies this spring, one which will only be for users in southern Sweden, and one which will be offered to all Swedish residents. So, how will they work?

UPDATED: What do we know about Sweden's energy subsidy?

Who is eligible?

There are two separate energy subsidies in the works, let’s call them energy subsidy 1 and energy subsidy 2.

Energy subsidy 1 (the subsidy announced in November 2022) will be available for energy users in energy zones 3 and 4 (most of southern Sweden), who had their own energy contract on November 17th, 2022. This means both houses and apartments, as well as companies and organisations (although it’s unclear when the latter two groups will receive their payout). This will be paid out on February 20th.

If you live in a cooperative housing association (a BRF) where your electricity bill is included in your monthly fee, the payment will go to the association instead, as the electricity contract is between the BRF and the energy company.

Energy subsidy 2 (announced in January 2023) will be available to energy users in all zones with their own energy contract.

How do I know which energy zone I am in?

Energy zone 1 – the cheapest energy zone – is in the far north of Sweden, and it includes Norrbotten county and part of Västerbotten county.

Energy zone 2 is slightly further south, and it includes Jämtland county, Västernorrland county, and parts of Gävleborg and Västerbotten counties.

Energy zone 3 covers central Sweden, encompassing Stockholm and Gothenburg, as well as Stockholm county, Södermanland county, Uppsala county, Värmland county, Västmanland county, Örebro county, Östergötland county, Dalarna county, and parts of Halland, Kalmar, Jönköping, Västra Götaland, and Gävleborg counties.

Energy zone 4 – the most expensive zone – includes Malmö, Skåne, Blekinge, Kronoberg, and parts of Kalmar, Halland, Jönköping and Västra Götaland counties.

How is it calculated?

It’s not yet clear exactly how the second energy subsidy will be calculated, as a system for paying out the subsidy needs to be put forward by relevant authorities and approved before it can be implemented, but the first energy subsidy will be calculated in the following way:

Firstly, which zone is the user or property based in? Each zone will offer a different payout per kWh.

Secondly, how high was the user’s energy usage between October 2021 and September 2022?

For those in energy zone 3, the subsidy will cover 50 öre per kWh used in that 12 month period. For those in energy zone 4, the subsidy will cover 79 öre per kWh over the same period.

This could mean energy users on a fixed tariff who paid lower than this per kWh in the qualifying period receive more money back than they originally paid.

Again, details for the second energy subsidy have not yet been confirmed, but it’s safe to say that the chance there will be different payout rates per kWh for different zones is high.

The second energy subsidy will cover usage between November and December 2022, as prices were particularly high during these two months.

How much will I get?

It’s difficult to say as it depends so much on individual usage, but here are some examples from a Svenska kraftnät press release explaining the first energy subsidy:

  • A tennis club in Halland with an energy usage of 45,000 kWh over the qualifying period will receive a 35,500 kronor subsidy (45,000 x 0.79 = 35,550).
  • A house owner in Örebro with an energy usage of 19,500 kWh over the qualifying period will receive a 9,750 kronor subsidy (19,500 x 0.50 = 9,750).
  • A bakery in Kalmar with an energy usage of 66,000 kWh over the qualifying period will receive a 52,140 kronor subsidy (66,000 x 0.79 = 52,140).

Regarding the second energy subsidy, again, details of the subsidy payout are not yet clear.

Having said that, an estimate by energy traders Godel on behalf of TT newswire, based on an average yearly usage of 20,000 kWh, with more energy used in the colder months, predicts the following:

Users in energy zones 1 and 2 can expect a total of around 3,800 kronor for November and December, with users in zones 3 receiving around 5,350 kronor and users in zone 4 receiving around 5,480 kronor for the same period.

Obviously, these figures aren’t final, and if you use less than 20,000 kWh per year (if you live in an apartment, for example), or your usage was lower than average in November and December, you’ll receive a smaller payout.

In addition to this, Energy and Business Minister Ebba Busch said on January 9th, 2023, when she announced the second price subsidy, that there could be an upper usage limit on the second energy subsidy, meaning that users could only receive support for usage up to a certain amount.

When will it come into effect?

The first energy price subsidy is due to be paid out in February 2023, the government has stated, although the date of payout for businesses and organisations is still unclear.

The second energy price subsidy will be paid out “at some point this spring”, Busch said.