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European Union

A personal readout of the three ESPAS reports (2012, 2015 and 2019)

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Saturday, September 14, 2019
Abstract in English: 
In this summary, Dr Franck Debié outlines his views of the key findings of the three ESPAS reports (2012, 2015, 2019) on long-term trends to 2030 for the Ideas Network 2030.
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8
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Ideas and Perspectives: Priorities 2030

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, September 13, 2019
Abstract in English: 
In this short presentation, Dr Franck Debié, Director of the Library and the Knowledge services in the European Parliament, Associate Professor of Geopolitics at Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris (Paris Sciences et Lettres University), Member of the Steering Committee of the European System for Policy Analysis and Strategy (ESPAS) outlines his view of the key findings of the three ESPAS reports (2012, 2015, 2019) on long-term trends to 2030 for the Ideas Network 2030, an Oxford based network regrouping policy-makers, business actors and researchers. The discussion took place on 14 September 2019. In his conclusions he stressed that: 'the successive ESPAS reports help us to progressively narrow our focus on those issues which will force Europeans to engage in a joint conversation on policy options for the future: the rise of China, climate change, aging and migration, digital disruption, and the growth of nationalism.
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36
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The future of work? Work of the future!

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, May 3, 2019
Abstract in English: 
We are used to thinking about artificial intelligence (AI) in the future tense, speculating how technological developments in this area will affect us. But if we spend too much time trying to figure out what to expect in the future, we risk not seeing that AI and robotisation have already started transforming our daily lives.
While historical evidence suggests that previous waves of automation have been overwhelmingly positive for the economy and society, AI is in a different league, with the potential to be much more disruptive. It builds upon other digital technologies but also brings about and amplifies major socioeconomic changes of its own.
What do recent technological developments in AI and robotisation mean for the economy, businesses and jobs? Should we be worried or excited? Which jobs will be destroyed and which new ones created? What should education systems, businesses, governments and social partners do to manage the coming transition successfully?
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160
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Protecting Europe: The EU’s response to hybrid threats

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Abstract in English: 
The EU takes hybrid threats seriously and has designed an array of policies to counter them. Its main focus is the ongoing crises beyond its borders, throughout its eastern and southern neighbourhoods. In Ukraine and elsewhere, the EU is trying to counter hostile Russian actions. But its countermeasures are focused inwards too as its own member states come under attack. These measures are helping more generally to ‘future-proof’ the EU tself, to shore up its own internal structures and networks in the face of a rapidly shifting international landscape.They are helping Europe respond to powers such as China and the use of new technologies such as 5G. These countermeasures now cover everything from the European digital economy to its cyber, maritime, space and energy domains. But they play a particularly important role in three sectors, namely the security of EU borders, its critical infrastructure and the information environment. These three fields constitute quite literally the nuts and bolts of the European Union. Protecting them means defending the very cornerstones of the EU – the three fields are vital to the continued integration of the European economy and to the health of the democratic institutions underpinning it. Predictably, they are the subject of our in-depth case studies.
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Healthy boundaries: remedies for Europe’s cross-border disorder

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Abstract in English: 
The migration crisis that engulfed Europe in 2015 highlighted the EU’s vulnerability when faced with major instability and disruption at its borders. Although the Union has internal and external security arms – comprising the ten home affairs agencies that underpin its Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ), on the one hand, and the international missions undertaken under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) on the other – it still struggles to deploy these instruments effectively. This Chaillot Paper examines how the EU, bearing in mind its evolution as a multinational bureaucratic organisation rather than a traditional state actor, can successfully develop meaningful security capabilities. It explores possible new formats for AFSJ-CSDP cooperation, outlining four options for joint deployment: ‘demar­cated’, ‘sequential’, ‘modular’ and ‘integrat­ed’. Stressing the importance of a clear-eyed diagnosis of the changes underway in the global security environment, the paper explores how these four joint security formats might be adapted to address crises with maximum effect.
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The Future of Work OECD Employment Outlook 2019

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, July 1, 2019
Abstract in English: 
The world of work is changing in response to technological progress, globalisation and ageing populations. In addition, new organisational business models and evolving worker preferences are contributing to the emergence of new forms of work. Despite widespread anxiety about potential job destruction driven by technological change and globalisation, a sharp decline in overall employment seems unlikely. While certain jobs and tasks are disappearing, others are emerging and employment has been growing. As these transformations occur, a key challenge lies in managing the transition of workers in declining industries and regions towards new job opportunities. There are also concerns about job quality. While diversity in employment contracts can provide welcome flexibility for many firms and workers, important challenges remain in ensuring the quality of non-standard work. Moreover, labour market disparities could increase further unless determined policy action is taken to ensure a more equal sharing of the costs of structural adjustment in the world of work. While there are risks, there are also many opportunities – and the future of work is not set in stone. With the right policies and institutions, the future of work can be one of more and better jobs for all.
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OECD Sovereign Borrowing Outlook 2019

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Abstract in English: 
More than a decade on from the Global Financial Crisis, while debt-to-GDP ratios are back around pre-crisis levels in some countries, debt burdens have continued to climb in others, exceeding 100% of GDP in some cases. The challenges sovereign debt managers are confronting in an environment of high debt burdens and relatively tighter financial conditions have been compounded by recent political uncertainties. OECD governments will also need to refinance around 40% of their outstanding marketable debt over the next three years. This means that most countries are focused on mitigating refinancing risk, maintaining flexibility in funding programmes, and broadening the investor base. In countries where financing requirements are limited and declining, sovereign debt managers face a “positive” set of challenges. For example, the minimal optimal size of outstanding sovereign debt required to maintain a vibrant government bond market and facilitate the implementation of monetary policy is currently under discussion in a few countries.
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OECD‑FAO Agricultural Outlook 2019‑2028

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, July 8, 2019
Abstract in English: 
Global agriculture has evolved into a highly diverse sector, with operations that range from small subsistence farms to large multinational holdings. Farmers’ products are sold fresh in local markets, but also across the world through sophisticated and modern value chains. Beyond their traditional role of providing humankind with food, farmers are important custodians of the natural environment and have become producers of renewable energy. In order to meet the high expectations society places on agriculture, public and private decision makers require reliable information on the likely trends of global demand, supply, trade and prices and the factors driving them. To this end, the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook is an annual reference that provides a comprehensive medium-term baseline scenario for agricultural commodity markets at national, regional and global levels. In addition to providing a plausible baseline scenario for agriculture markets in the coming decade, the Outlook identifies a widening set of risks to agricultural markets that can help policy makers better anticipate and manage them.These include the spread of plant and animal diseases and the growing risk of extreme climatic events, as well as possible supply disruptions from growing trade tensions. This OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2019-2028 foresees that the demand for agricultural products will grow by 15% over the coming decade.
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326
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OECD Economic Outlook

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Abstract in English: 
A year ago, the OECD warned about how trade and policy uncertainties could significantly damage the world economy and further contribute to the growing divide between people. A year later, global momentum has weakened markedly and growth is set to remain subpar as trade tensions persist. Trade and investment have slowed sharply, especially in Europe and Asia. Business and consumer confidence have faltered, with manufacturing production contracting. In response, financial conditions have eased as central banks have moved towards more accommodative monetary stances, while fiscal policy has been providing stimulus in a handful of countries. At the same time, low unemployment and a slight pickup in wages in the major economies continue to support household incomes and consumption. Overall, however, trade tensions are taking a toll and global growth is projected to slow to only 3.2% this year before edging up to 3.4% in 2020, well below the growth rates seen over the past three decades, or even in 2017-18. While growth was synchronised eighteen months ago, divergence has emerged between sectors and countries depending on their exposure to trade tensions, the strength of fiscal responses and policy uncertainties. The manufacturing sector, where global value chains prevail, has been hit hard by tariffs and the associated uncertainty on the future of trade relationships, and is likely to stay weak. Business investment growth, also strongly linked to trade, is set to slow to a mere 1¾ per cent per year over 2019-20, from around 3½ per cent per year during 2017-18. However, services, less subject to trade jitters and where most job creation takes place, continue to hold up well. In parallel, growth has weakened in most advanced economies, especially those where trade and manufacturing play an important role, such as Germany and Japan, with GDP growth projected to be below 1% in both countries this year. In contrast, the United States has maintained its momentum thanks to sizeable, albeit waning, fiscal support. Divergence is also visible among emerging-market economies, with Argentina and Turkey struggling to recover from recession, while India and others are benefitting from easier financial conditions and in some instances fiscal or quasi-fiscal support.
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Preparing for a more united, stronger and more democratic Union in an increasingly uncertain world

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, May 9, 2019
Abstract in English: 
On 9 May 2019, EU leaders will meet in Sibiu, Romania, to reflect on our Union’s political aspirations and prepare the ‘strategic agenda’ for the next five years. They will do so on the eve of the European Parliament elections where more than 400 million Europeans will take to the polls in the world’s largest transnational democratic exercise. They will do so thirty years after the end of communism and the fall of the Berlin Wall and fifteen years after the unprecedented enlargement of our Union, which overcame our continent’s painful division.
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