At a time when the new European Commission announced that it will concentrate on bold initiatives, it is important to recall that any policy decision has complex ramifications. Indeed, an increasing number of decisions affect several policy portfolios, and they need to take into account an increasing number of parameters, like geopolitics, economics, finance, security, health, environment, climate change, sociology, urbanisation, ageing society, and integrate fundamental European social values such gender equality and ethics. In addition, the technological breakthroughs are accelerating as never be-fore in history and social innovation (e.g. social media) augments the speed of information gathering and dissemination.
Because societies become ever more complex, collaborative long-term anticipation must replace the "silo" thinking habits and the short-termism that has characterised many aspects of policy-making in Europe.
Foreseeing is not sufficient anymore because it is only a tactical extrapolation of current trends; it is the future of the past. Foresighting however is strategic because it is based on more disruptive views; it is about the future of the future.
ORBIS is powered by ESPAS, the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System, a unique inter-institutional project aimed at strengthening the EU's efforts in the crucial area of forward planning. ESPAS brings together the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Secretariat General of the Council of the European Union and the European External Action Service to strengthen the Union's collective administrative capacity to identify and analyse the key trends and challenges, and the resulting policy choices, which are likely to confront Europe and the wider world in the decades ahead.