Author: Lawyer Enrico Germano
We are all familiar with the biblical account where a series of calamities fell by divine will and punishment on Pharaoh Ramesses II and the Egyptians because of their refusal to let the Hebrews leave under the leadership of Moses. The water turned to blood, the invasion of frogs from the streams, the invasion of mosquitoes, the invasion of poisonous flies, the death of livestock, ulcers on animals and humans, hailstones, the invasion of locusts, darkness and lastly the death of first-born sons.
Undoubtedly, the 1956 blockbuster film The Ten Commandments directed by Cecil Blount Demille, starring Charlton Heston as Moses and Yul Brynner as Pharaoh, described it very well, with memorable and cult scenes for every cinephile, so much so that the film was awarded an Oscar for best special effects in 1957.
According to biblical tradition, the event took place in the second half of the 12th century BC and today, after more than 3,200 years and with cautious comparisons, we seem to be reliving it.
I. It all started with Covid-19 pandemic in February 2019, which was never definitively defeated, and reappeared with virulence in the summer of 20221, raising serious concerns for the coming autumn. We are already working on the fourth dose, not knowing whether it will be the last or the next in a further endless series.
II. Then the war in Ukraine which started on February 24th 2022, which was supposed to be a Blitzkrieg but is sinking deeper and deeper, with worrying announcements and proclamations, such as the sending of 1 million Ukrainian soldiers, freshly equipped by the Western countries, to retake the territories occupied by the Russians, who have for their part said that the Americans “are moving towards an open military confrontation with Russia, which means a direct clash between nuclear powers”2. Not to mention, moreover, the wave of Ukrainian refugees towards Europe, of over 7 million people, uprooting an entire nation and creating not a few difficulties of a logistical and humanitarian nature for the European host countries.
III. The energy supply situation, deeply related with the on-going war in Ukraine, which mainly affects gas, oil and electricity sectors is further deteriorating3, particularly due to growing price increases. So much so that European governments are already announcing that shortages in supply, leading to rationing obligations in the population, cannot not be ruled out any time soon.
IV. Also An estimated amount of 25 to 30 million tonnes of grain has been halted in Ukraine, entailing scenarios of disruptions for the world food supply4 as well as apocalyptic repercussions in third world countries. The possibility that Ukraine’s grain reserves may be lost is a further sign of an ongoing food crisis5.
V. There is also the water emergency due to both the lack of rainfall and the excessive temperatures of these summer weeks in Europe. Climate change and the increase in the world population, which according to UN figures will reach 8 billion on 15 November6, will further increase the risk of droughts7.
VI. These days the most powerful heat wave of 2022 arrived, with scorching temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius8, and June 2022 was the third hottest month ever. In particular, Spain, France and Italy reached anomalies in temperature increases, increasing drought situations. However, extreme heat also affected North Africa, Siberia in the Russian Federation, Central China and Japan9. Violent fires also ensued, devouring Europe from Portugal to France.
VII. The perfect storm has already been unleashed on air transport, from high fuel prices, exponential increases in airline ticket prices, staff shortages and recurring staff strikes10, which has led to the cancellation of 25,000 flights, 60 per cent of all scheduled flights in Europe, in addition to the inconvenience for passengers.
VIII. The assault on the palaces of power of the Sri Lankan state, called the tear of India because of its geographical location, nomen omen, is the epilogue of a serious crisis that has not only a political origin, but also an economic and health one11, and risks involving other third world countries, such as Tunisia, already in crisis, and other African countries (Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad)12 also because of the food shortages and serious social situations that are pushing these countries to the brink.
IX. Inflation, which in some European countries has reached 8-10%, and the exponential increase in the prices of many basic food products as well as the rise of energy goods’ prices, is increasingly worrying citizens, who are grappling with a massive reduction in their purchasing power13.
X. Finally, the combination of these crises – war, energetic, alimentary, climatic, economic and social – will inevitably lead to an even greater flow of uncontrolled refugee landings to the shores of the already collapsing countries of Southern Europe14.
The challenges Europe will have to face, in order to maintain its own stability and prosperity, appear to be growing dramatically and, unfortunately, as well as projecting complex and uncertain scenarios for the coming months15.