RSS:

Newsletter subscribe:

Politics

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.
File: 
Country of publication: 
Cover page image: 
Share: 

ESPAS Report 2019 : Global Trends to 2030

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, April 5, 2019
Abstract in English: 
For something as unknown as the future, it appears to have become surprisingly predictable. A Google search of ‘future 2030’ yields more than 97 million results, all more or less claiming similar things: that 2030 will see a more connected, yet fragmented world, with hazardous shifts in demography and energy, and dangerous changes in technology, environment, and politics.
The future, while overall negative, appears to be a rather certain place.
This illusion of definitiveness is created by two dynamics: first, the pessimistic tone that runs through the vast majority of foresight reports. This is a common feature when it comes to future thinking, with one study showing that all studies undertaken on the future over the last 70 years have one thing in common; pessimism. The reason for this is simple: although both optimism and pessimism are natural human dispositions, the latter is more prevalent by far. Humans are, genetically speaking, biased towards the negative – some studies even indicate that this is particularly the case for Europeans. Second, pessimism in foresight is encouraged by the grave air that surrounds it: in general, negative statements are given more attention than positive ones. That said, more pessimism in foresight does not equal greater accuracy, as one study shows.
File: 
Country of publication: 
Cover page image: 
Number of pages: 
52
Share: 

Trends in Artificial Intelligence and Big Data

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, January 24, 2019
Abstract in English: 
This paper addresses the present state of play and future trends, uncertainties and possible disruptions of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data in the following areas:
Political: AI is biased, difficult to scrutinise and to estimate its power, and – more so when embodied in autonomous systems – potentially dangerous. Policy responses are accountability, transparency, safety and control, and public debate. These should be based on ethics. AI will lead to better governance, more debate, new policy actors and processes, a contest over centralisation, and the EU catching up. AI might progress in a revolutionary or evolutionary mode, lead to new political divisions, and change democracy. AI might be misused as a “superior orders” defence. What if data analysis changes or replaces democracy?
Socio-economic: Big Data is changing the role of data, is often dependent on sensitive information, is handicapped in the short term but better in the long term due to data protection, and its industry is in danger of monopolisation. AI lowers the cost of prediction, replaces human prediction and human labour and causes social problems, increased nudging and misuse of the term AI. AI will lead to more data, economic growth and more job market distortions. AI might lead to new industry giants, a request for more privacy, new state solutions, yet unknown jobs, AI taxes and increased state ownership. What if new economic ideologies emerge, singularity strikes or AI monopolies are broken up?
Geopolitical: AI is increasing the power competition between the US and China and gives both more power. Europe tries to create businesses and find its strengths. All are investing in military solutions and the west has a slight disadvantage here. AI will lead to a shakeup of the international system, hierarchies and networks becoming more powerful, and real-life deception being more difficult. AI might lead to China becoming the most powerful power overall and in AI. The future of AI R&D and the success of Europe’s broad approach is uncertain. What if there are two digital worlds, China becomes a data-privacy defender, and AI become targets?
Technological: Superintelligent AI is invested in and researched, challenged by philosophy, and possible this century. It might imitate the brain, be assembled together or be designed by other AIs. An intelligence explosion or a conscious AI could be possible, and might be the last invention of humanity. It would require long term funding, need to overcome many technical hurdles, be dangerous due to its intellect, possibly be contained with collective intelligence, and maybe have humans lose their jobs, safety or purpose.
Key questions for policy-makers: What makes European AI distinctive? What areas can and should we prioritise, if any? What should be regulated? How could and should the EU foster AI development, avoid monopolisation, provide data pools, use high data standards, link researchers and corporations, balance fundamental with applied AI research and private with state funding, boost applications, compensate for job loss, keep AIs away from dangerous actors, support EU foreign policy (neighbourhood, FPI, democracy and human rights, aid and development, economic freedom), improve our lives with AI, change the geopolitical AI race, deal with autonomous weapons and superintelligent AI and organise Foresight?
File: 
Country of publication: 
Cover page image: 
Number of pages: 
19
Share: 

The Future of Government 2030+ - A Citizen Centric Perspective on New Government Models

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, March 1, 2019
Abstract in English: 
The Future of Government 2030+: A Citizen Centric Perspective on New Government Models project brings citizens to the centre of the scene. The objective of this project is to explore the emerging societal challenges, analyse trends in a rapidly changing digital world and launch an EU-wide debate on the possible future government models. To address this, citizen engagement, foresight and design are combined, with recent literature from the field of digital politics and media as a framework. The main research question of the project is: How will citizens, together with other actors, shape governments, policies and democracy in 2030 and beyond? Throughout the highly participatory process, more than 150 citizens, together with CSO, think tank, business and public sector representatives, as well as 100 design students participated in the creation of future scenarios and concepts. Four scenarios have been created using the 20 stories emerged from citizen workshops. They served as an inspiration for design students to develop 40 FuturGov concepts. Through the FuturGov Engagement Game, the project’s ambition is to trigger and launch a debate with citizens, businesses, civil society organizations, policy-makers and civil servants in Europe.
File: 
Country of publication: 
Cover page image: 
Number of pages: 
102
Share: 

Unexpected Developments in International Politics. Foresight Contributions 2018

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Abstract in English: 
How might we have to imagine the Middle East if there were a political thaw between Iran and Saudi Arabia? Could Turkey leave NATO in the near future? What would happen if security-related EU databases were successfully hacked; if South Korea were to arm itself with nuclear weapons; or if an American woman were to head the United Nations? Of course, these situations, as explored in the SWP’s latest Foresight research paper, are only hypothetical. Why address them? Because unexpected events have abounded in international politics in recent years. Brexit; the election of Donald Trump as US President; and Russia’s annexation of Crimea are only the most striking examples. Science and politics should therefore ready themselves for likely future surprises. The Foresight research paper aims to assist with this. We cannot and do not want to predict the future. However, with the help of systematic foresight we can better prepare for unplanned situations. This means improving our view of conceivable – albeit unlikely – developments that would seriously impact on German and European foreign and security policy. It also includes reviewing previous expectations – as this research paper likewise tackles. What actually happened to the battery revolution that was supposed to secure our power supply? Did the negotiation process on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU unfold as experts had anticipated? Such reviews are instructive, and can be used to gain insights for the future.
File: 
Country of publication: 
Cover page image: 
Number of pages: 
50
Share: 

Munich Security Report 2019: "The Great Puzzle: Who Will Pick Up the Pieces?"

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, February 15, 2019
Abstract in English: 
This year's report analyses the reshuffling of core pieces of the international order. Besides looking at major powers like the United States, China and Russia, the report also highlights actors of the "second row": liberal democracies such as France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan. In addition, the report assesses current security policy developments in selected regions such as in the Western Balkans, in the Sahel region and in the Middle East. It examines the global challenge to arms control against the background of the recently suspended INF Treaty and emerging technologies such as hypersonic weapons. Other global issues covered are the security policy implications of current developments in the areas of international trade, transnational organized crime and artificial intelligence.
File: 
Country of publication: 
Cover page image: 
Number of pages: 
102
Share: 

Global Trends to 2030: New Ways out of Poverty and Exclusion

Original Language: 
Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Abstract in English: 
This paper analyses the issues of poverty and exclusion in the context of the major trends that characterise the present and will shape the near future. It also explores the uncertainty that emerging trends may pose for EU societies in terms of poverty and exclusion, and looks at options and alternative paths to counteract these two phenomena.
File: 
Country of publication: 
Cover page image: 
Number of pages: 
20
Share: 

Rebalancing the Euro Area: A proposal for Future Reform

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Abstract in English: 
Under a monetary union, fiscal and monetary discipline have to go hand in hand if macroeconomic stability is to be maintained. The question is how to set up the right institutions to achieve this stability in a credible manner. This policy brief proposes a new institutional arrangement for the euro area to restore fiscal discipline. It places the responsibility for compliance entirely on the shoulders of the member states. It also provides for the mutualisation of 30% of the member states’ debt-to-GDP ratio.
This would help to maintain a stable currency and to limit the risk of contagion should another crisis occur in the future. However, this comes at a cost. Under the fiscal scheme proposed, member states, which would be fully fiscally sovereign, would need to run long-term sound fiscal policies to benefit from euro membership.
In addition, this brief proposes a reform of Target2 under which overspending economies would have to pay the financial cost of accessing extra euros, which would deter the accumulation of internal imbalances within the euro area. All this is expected to change the current fragility of the architecture of the euro, provide member states with the right incentives to abide by sounder economic principles and make them fully responsible for the policies they adopt.
File: 
Country of publication: 
Cover page image: 
Number of pages: 
20
Share: 

25 Years of Spitzenkandidaten: What Does the Future Hold?

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Abstract in English: 
This paper critically reflects on the development and implications of the Spitzenkandidaten system. It makes three claims. First, it argues that, despite the assertions of many commentators, this system did not appear out of the blue in 2014 but has a much longer history. Since the Maastricht Treaty, a series of steps have been taken that have clearly led the way to this outcome and, in fact, may even lead beyond it. These steps, including the role of the European People’s Party, are explained here as they cast a different light on the whole process, without which the success of the Spitzenkandidaten system cannot be properly understood.
Second, the paper claims that, from a political–institutional point of view, the system implicitly promotes the parliamentarisation of the EU architecture and might eventually lead to a stronger EU executive and a weaker European Parliament, as is the case in most national parliamentary systems. This would be the opposite of what many of its supporters would like to see. Third, the paper concludes that, in order to avoid this unintended consequence and fulfil the democratic potential of the Spitzenkandidaten system, the current procedure must be understood as an intermediate step on the road to the direct election of the president of the EU. This, however, requires its success and consolidation in 2019. The paper thus ends with some recommendations that will help to make this happen.
File: 
Country of publication: 
Cover page image: 
Number of pages: 
16
Share: 

Is the Internet Eroding Europe’s Middle Ground?

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, December 17, 2018
Abstract in English: 
Within Europe, public debate has become increasingly concerned with issues of identity, belonging and threats associated with ‘out-groups’ (such as immigrants and refugees). These issues are the focus of many insurgent populist parties, which are shaping debates in many countries across Europe.
When asked to identify the most important issue facing Europe, survey respondents in 2017 gave the highest rankings to terrorism and immigration – two issues that provoke public debate on the threat of minority ‘out-groups’ to majority ‘in-groups’.
Polarisation is reflected in deeper divisions and distrust between opposing groups. There are many indicators of increasing polarisation in European societies (though no agreed measure or major comparative study).
The issues around which polarisation is taking place are especially related to national identity, culture and inclusion, between people who espouse cosmopolitan values and people who espouse traditional cultural and nationalist values.
File: 
Country of publication: 
Cover page image: 
Number of pages: 
26
Share: 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Politics