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European Strategy and Policy Analysis System

The Future of Warfare (ESPAS Ideas Paper)

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The Future of Warfare (ESPAS Ideas Paper)
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Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, September 20, 2018
Abstract in English: 
Warfare is shaped by geopolitical, societal, technological, economic and military trends:
Geopolitical: The multipolar relations between ever bigger political entities with overlapping spheres of influences are defined by surpise and uncertainty. Smaller political entities will be weaker and proxy wars more common in the future. Detterence will be reinterpreted, vulnerable states more prone to aquire nuclear weapons and international norms weakened. Megacities will be central battlefields that leave ground forces vulnerable.
Social: Warfare will shift to the internet, it will be uncontrollably ‘open-source’, live and shocking, with ever more spectacular terror. Armies will be more network-centred, waging more personalised wars and will have to find new ways to interact with democratic societies. Women in combat and the disappearance of world war veterans change the way people think about war.
Technological: Mankind becomes more powerful over time, with non-state actors possessing capabilities currently restricted to super-powers. It will struggle to outlaw technological advances and wage war without violence. The West will lose its technological superiority and will have even bigger problems in knowing how and what to research. Both inferior and highly developed armies will develop new ways of engaging the enemy. Artificial intelligence (AI) will mean that democratic armies have to balance the ‘human in the loop’ policy against effectiveness.
Economic: The economy of the opponent will be a bigger target than in the past, with commercial and dual-goods becoming more important, and the environment a more widely used weapon.
Military: Possible future military situations will be more diverse then ever. Western armies will be vulnerable to cheap weaponry. The idea that wars will be easy to win will make the world more dangerous.
Key uncertainties are China, the cyber-dimension, robotics, autonomous systems and artificial intelligence, paradigmatic breakthroughs such as quantum computing, general AI and anti-ballistic systems, nuclear detterence and nuclear bargaining. Ten key questions for policy-makers focus on strategic autonomy, adaptation, balancing reserves, R&D, cooperation and export, interventions, China, weakening norms, anticipation, communication and procurement.
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Global Trendometer - Essays on medium- and long-term global trends

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Publication date: 
Monday, September 4, 2017
Abstract in English: 
The European Union has come through difficult years. A succession of crises, often interlinked, have been the major concern of European leaders for much of the past decade. This experience has driven home the lesson that prevention is better than the cure, and that more can be done to identify and prepare for future challenges. The EU as a whole has worked to enhance its foresight capacity, notably through the work of the inter-institutional ESPAS process. For its part, the European Parliament is placing greater emphasis on agenda-setting and on horizon scanning, both to support its work in shaping the future through legislation and to improve the quality of public policy discussion of key challenges and choices ahead.
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62
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Shaping the Future - Thoughts on the Future of Society and Governance

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Publication date: 
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Abstract in English: 
The ESPAS process is committed to identifying global long-term trends facing the European Union and its decision-makers. In addition, it is intended as a framework for engaging with international strategic allies, counterparts and experts from around the world in order to reflect on common global trends and challenges.
This publication represents an important step in this direction and we are tremendously grateful that amidst their heavy professional, academic and personal commitments, our speakers generously responded to our request for contributions. The result is a unique collection of over 40 original short essays addressing the different themes of this year’s Annual Meeting. The diversity of perspectives, we hope, will stimulate our readers’ thinking about the ways in which mega-trends, game-changers and our policy and political choices intersect and what this may mean for the future.
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84
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ESPAS in Brief - #espas16

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Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Saturday, October 1, 2016
Abstract in English: 
The European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS) provides a framework for cooperation and consultation at administrative level, on a voluntary basis, between the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, and the European External Action Service, with the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee as observers, to work together on medium and long-term trends facing or relating to the European Union.
In 2015, we inaugurated a three-year work programme of events, built around key themes laid out in the ESPAS Report on Global Trends to 2030: Can the EU Meet with Challenges Ahead?
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Citizens in an Interconnected and Polycentric World

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Publication date: 
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Abstract in English: 
The report correctly draws a picture of global multipolarity. Of particular interest is the scope of its content and research, which was conducted not only in the developed world but also in the major poles of the emerging world. The analysis of the report is based on thorough and far-reaching research which is very useful to understand the complexities of the present global context.
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Executive summary: 
The report correctly draws a picture of global multipolarity. Of particular interest is the scope of its content and research, which was conducted not only in the developed world but also in the major poles of the emerging world. The analysis of the report is based on thorough and far-reaching research which is very useful to understand the complexities of the present global context.
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Global Trends to 2030: Can the EU meet the challenges ahead?

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Publication date: 
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Abstract in English: 
Built on the previous reports drawn up under the ESPAS project to date, this study seeks to map more comprehensively the five major trends that are likely to shape the future and will need to be taken into account by the Union as it defines coherent strategic options for the next governance cycle. They include:
- A richer and older human race characterised by an expanding global middle class and greater inequalities
- A more vulnerable process of globalisation led by and economic G3
- A transformative industrial and technological revolution
- A growing nexus of climate change, energy and the competition for resources
- Changing power, increased interdependence and fragile multilateralism
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82
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Empowering Europe’s Future: Governance, Power and Options for the EU in a Changing World

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Publication date: 
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Abstract in English: 
Looking to 2030, global change will be occurring at an accelerated pace in an unpredictable fashion. The world in 2030 will be a more fragile place due to the rise of economic interdependence, the diffusion of power, and the disruptive potential of technological innovation and extreme events. Ten years ago, for example, the SARS outbreak cost businesses $60 billion – and caused the loss of about 2% of East Asian GDP. Vulnerability to unexpected events – such as the 2010 Icelandic ash-cloud or the 2011 Japanese tsunami – will only increase as global supply chains expose states and societies to the effects of political crises and disruptions, even in distant regions. Weak or rigid governance systems will increasingly struggle to respond to these trends.
In this less predictable world, power shifts will not be linear, not least due to the proliferation of domestic challenges in emerging economies. Whether they are in relative rise or decline, the risk may be that many governments become more introverted and less inclined to international engagement and compromise, as they cope with increasing turbulence at home. Conversely, a faster-changing world will offer wide-ranging options and new opportunities to more actors – both state and non-state – who are flexible and quick enough to seize them. Cities may lead efforts to reduce carbon emissions; smaller states, like Sweden, Singapore or Qatar, may shape international agendas and regional affairs through the use of technical leadership or coalition-building. Power shifts will not necessarily be a zero-sum game; the gains of some need not entail losses for others.
Governments, regional organisations and international institutions will struggle to cope with the twin trends of increased interdependence and greater fragmentation. With a larger range of influential state and non-state actors, managing complexity and setting political agendas will become more challenging at both the domestic and international levels. This could result in a deficit of leadership and governance on the global stage. Future influence in international affairs will depend on how state and non-state actors deploy their respective power assets. As power becomes more diffuse, it will also become more constrained, which will put a premium on the ability to partner and build political coalitions.
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Europe’s Societal Challenges. An Analysis of Global Societal Trends to 2030 and their Impact on the EU

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Publication date: 
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Abstract in English: 
This report presents the findings of a study of global societal trends and their impact on the EU in the next two decades. The work is part of the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS) set up to develop a lasting framework to assess global trends and to develop policy responses across EU institutions over the next institutional cycle (2014-2019). The first phase of the project culminated in a report on the long-term, international, domestic, economic and political trends facing the European Union; the second phase of the project split trends into three streams, focusing on the economy, governance and power, and society. This Trend Report aims to explore the evidence base, uncertainties and potential trajectories underpinning global societal trends and their impact on the EU. The work is based on a review of the available data and literature on societal trends in a number of thematic areas. It also builds on inputs harnessed through an online Delphi exercise involving more than 200 international experts, as well as a series of 29 semi-structured interviews, involving experts from academia and think tanks, policymakers, and leading thinkers from the private or third sector.
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Global Trends 2030: Citizens in an Interconnected and Polycentric World

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Publication date: 
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Abstract in English: 
This report, edited by Álvaro de Vasconcelos, contains the findings of the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS) research project. The EUISS was commissioned to produce the ESPAS Report on Global Trends 2030 by an EU inter-institutional task force. An interim version of this report was presented to the European Union in October 2011. The report identifies several global trends that will shape the world in 2030. They include: The empowerment of the individual, which may contribute to a growing sense of belonging to a single human community; Greater stress on sustainable development against a backdrop of greater resource scarcity and persistent poverty, compounded by the consequences of climate change; The emergence of a more polycentric world characterised by a shift of power away from states, and growing governance gaps as the mechanisms for inter-state relations fail to respond adequately to global public demands.
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The Global Economy in 2030: Trends and Strategies for Europe

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Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, November 1, 2013
Abstract in English: 
The main body of this report consists of four parts.
Part I sets out the main global trends and concentrates on a number of areas where our analysis deviates from received wisdom, namely population growth, globalisation and resource scarcity. This part is relatively technical and is meant to provide the analytical background to the remainder of the report. For the convenience of the busy reader, the other parts have been organised in such a way that they can be read independently.
Part II provides a snapshot of the global economy in 2030, documenting the likely evolution of the main trends combined with the outcome of a multi-country modelling exercise in terms of income and growth, but also in terms of affluence and poverty. This part also stresses some of the less conventional aspects that result from our analysis. The detailed description of the central scenario and an alternative scenario is available in Annex A.
Part III describes the trajectory of Europe’s transition from today’s depressed economy to 2030. The part also contains a summary of the main findings generated by an econometric modelling exercise focused on Europe. Greater details are presented in a separate Working Document presented in Annex D.
Finally, Part IV discusses the policy challenges that arise for Europe from this view of the world in 2030 and the possible emergence of game changers.
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