Covington’s Senior Advisor Carl Bildt, former prime minister and foreign minister of Sweden, analyses the key trends expected to drive geopolitics and business over the near term.

Globally, strategic competition between the United States and China, and to some extent with a revisionist Russia, continues to be a source of geopolitical tensions. At the same time, global challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change require cooperation among the major powers, particularly in the run-up to the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November. In Europe, the shape of the new German government, and how quickly it can begin to form and implement its policies, will determine to what extent European policy-making can resume pace once Angela Merkel steps down after 16 years in power. At the transatlantic level, relations between Europe and America have strengthened significantly with the Biden-Harris team, notwithstanding a slightly rocky period over the past couple of months. In particular, the EU-US Trade and Technology Council ministerial in Pittsburgh last month launched regulatory cooperation in a series of important policy areas. In Asia, China’s President Xi Jinping has increased regulatory activity affecting a variety of sectors. Finally, the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to cast a shadow over our lives until, according to the World Health Organization and other experts, 70% of the world’s population is fully vaccinated by September 2022. We are less than halfway there, at 32% vaccination rates globally. Until the pandemic is globally under control, there is a risk of new variants developing and endangering everyone.

These developments raise complex questions of regulation, policy, politics and diplomacy. Drawing on the experience of our diverse global team, Covington’s Global Problem Solving helps clients navigate these challenges across the world, protect their core business interests and further their commercial objectives.

 

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Photo of Carl Bildt Carl Bildt

Carl Bildt, Former Prime Minister of Sweden, draws on his extensive political experience to advise clients as a non-lawyer member of the firm’s global Public Policy and Government Affairs practice. Carl returned to government office as Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2006…

Carl Bildt, Former Prime Minister of Sweden, draws on his extensive political experience to advise clients as a non-lawyer member of the firm’s global Public Policy and Government Affairs practice. Carl returned to government office as Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2014.

As Prime Minister of Sweden from 1991 to 1994, Carl led the government that negotiated and signed Sweden’s accession to the European Union, reformed and liberalized the Swedish economy, and modernized its welfare system. After leaving office, he played a key role as a mediator in the Balkan conflict for the European Union and the United Nations. As Foreign Minister, he was an important proponent of the EU’s “Eastern Partnership” and of EU engagement in the Middle East.

His public policy profile and experience is extensive, having served on various boards, including of the Centre for European Reform, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the European Policy Centre, on the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, the European Council on Foreign Relations and as the first non-U.S. member of the Board of Trustees of the RAND Corporation.

Carl also has a well-established profile in technology circles. He is Chair of the Global Commission on Internet Governance, a former adviser to ICANN, and a high-profile proponent of a global digital marketplace. Carl recently co-authored a study with the Atlantic Council entitled “Building a Transatlantic Digital Marketplace.”