As if 2015 wasn’t exciting enough! Get ready for 2016

(Photo by iStock) (Photo by iStock)
January 8th, 2016 7:00 pm| by Ejvind Sandal & Ben Hamilton
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So, what will happen in 2016? Well, if 2015 taught us anything it is to expect the unexpected, and that might even include more than two Danish gold medals at the Olympic games in Brazil, although they’ll probably struggle to win more than ten overall!

SYRIA AND THE REGION
Foremost it seems that the world has come to a point when it has to do something to end the misery in Syria. The UN Security Council looks set to impose an armistice on all parties other than IS, which will be contained and probably run out of steam.

When even the Sunni Muslim brothers of Saudi Arabia feel that enough is enough, it is the end of them. Be warned: if they have the stamina to end their Caliphate with fireworks of terror, they will do it. But if recent history has taught us anything, their role as international public enemy #1 will be swiftly filled.


The Kurds will have their own state recognised – outside of Turkey. An armistice in Syria will lead to the end of President Assad’s regime. Now it is not a question of if – only when. Having come this far, momentum will often take over, so it will be no surprise if he is history before the year’s end. Most likely he will be exiled in Russia and not answer for his crimes. But better that, than another year of civil war. (ES)

REFUGEE CRISIS
In 2015 the EU’s politicians and citizens were taken by surprise when the refugees and migrants took to the motorways, recalling similar migrations that reshaped Europe in the past.  But following the shockwaves that eminated from the shores of Lesbos, the European authorities will not be caught off guard again.

After all, it is a question of proportion when it comes to absorbing 2 million migrants into 500 million EU citizens.

The heads of the EU governments learnt that a pluralistic defense is no good and that problems of this magnitude must be solved at a community level. This year the digestion of the 2015 events will lead us to a structured – and civilized handling. We hope to see construction cranes in Aleppo and Houm.

In Denmark, the main challenge facing everybody from the government ministers to the man on the street is to convert the migrants from tent camp occupants into integrated citizens. The PM said as much in his New Year address (see page 5) and nobody contradicted him. Hopefully it will turn into a blessing in disguise, as the country needs new blood. Angela Merkel, who has shouldered more than 1 million new visitors in 2015, said in her address that it was a challenge but also an opportunity. Maybe the Danes will come to the same conclusion?

And besides, it’s a two-way street. Barely a week will pass by without an example of active integration and impressive resourcefulness by the new arrivals. (ES)

POLITICS
The US will elect its first female president.  Hilary Clinton has been around long enough for use all to know what we can expect, which is more than can be said for the Republican candidates. And in turn her leadership of the US should inspire Europe.

Europe has come out of the financial crisis only so-so, partly in thanks to the ECB showing its muscle. We will probably see a British compromise end up in a more flexible EU with a leadership of Alfa countries leaving the slow movers in their trail.

After a year of terror, the refugee crisis, a general election that yielded an extremely slim minority government and a referendum with a no thank you to a lot of EU stuff that we will get anyway, we hope that 2016 will be an uneventful year. But it’s unlikely, isn’t it! (ES)

SPORT
Had she married Rory McIlroy, Caroline Wozniacki would have retired this year following the Rio Olympics at the age of just 26. That was her plan: retire at the same age as Bjorn Borg, but with 11 fewer grand slam titles, regardless of what she has achieved. It suggests she’d be content as long as she’s happy, and that’s a Danish mentality, not a winning one. Still, we spy a lifeline in the French Open. A perennial underachiever on clay, it should suit her game more than any other surface, and last year’s retention of Roland Garros queen Arantxa Sanchez Vicario as her coach for the clay court season suggests she might hire her again. The word is that the Spaniard is stony broke and needs the money.

Is Kevin Magnussen in danger of becoming the Nicklas Bendtner of the motorsport world: a talented nomad with questionable execution and decision-making? In late December, he spilled the beans on former team-mate Jenson Button’s u-turn at McLaren – burning bridges, some might call it. We predict another barren year in which he is once again linked to every conceivable form of motorsport – rally, endurance, Indycar – but not F1.

It’s looking good for Denmark’s sailors at the Olympics where we reckon they’re going to win two gold medals. World Fleet champion Anne-Marie Rindom will be hard to beat in the Laser Radial, as will Jonas Warrer and Anders Thomsen in the 49er class. While Jonas Høgh-Christensen will surely believe destiny is on his side in the Finn after his cruel last-day loss to Ben Ainslie in 2012. Elsewhere, expect at least one more gold from kayaker Rene Holten Poulsen in the K-2 500 or 1,000 metres, Lasse Norman Hansen defending his omnium title in the velodrome or handballer Mikkel Hansen, 28, and the rest of his team as he recovers his form to fire the men’s team to the final. But don’t bank on any golds in swimming, badminton or rowing.

Quietly humming along this season, Christian Eriksen could very well end up helping Tottenham to win the English Premier League. Realistically their best ever chance to win the trophy, we wouldn’t bet against the Dane scoring some trademark last-minute winners to fire them to glory. Elsewhere, Viktor Fischer looks set to leave Ajax, but will it be an English or German club? Something about him screams Arsenal, but let’s hope the fans don’t paint him with the Bendtner brush if he misses a few sitters. (BH)

CULTURE
While ‘Krigen’ (‘A War’) won’t be nominated for an Oscar later this month, you can stake your house on ‘The Look of Silence’ getting a nod. But while it looks set to benefit from the Academy’s fondness for ‘The Act of Killing’ (which narrowly missed out for 2012) in the same way the last film of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy benefited, it will ultimately miss out as more voters will be swayed by the tragic nature of ‘Amy’.

Mads Mikkelsen and Pilou Asbæk will both have massive years. ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ and ‘Doctor Strange’ should ensure that Mikkelsen can have his choice of Hollywood bad-guy roles for the next decade, while Asbæk has the chance through his ‘Game of Thrones’ role to become a genuine world star. And we expect him to take it.

Television’s always been a happy medium for Lars von Trier and we’re expecting great things from his serial killer series ‘The House That Jack Built’, which is due to be released later this year. This time next year, expect it to rock the Golden Globes and be sitting in the Metacritic top ten.

Elsewhere, Nielsen will overtake Jensen as the nation’s most popular surname; Danish director Michael Noer will score a mega commercial hit with his remake of ‘Papillion’; Denmark will fail miserably in its bid to win three Eurovisions in a row on Swedish soil; Guns N’ Roses will headline this year’s Roskilde Festival possibly with The Who in tow; and Noma will reap the rewards of its recent pop-ups and ambition to bounce back in the World Restaurant rankings – to number two. (BH)