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2021 Strategic Foresight Report. The EU’s capacity and freedom to act

Title Original Language: 
2021 Strategic Foresight Report. The EU’s capacity and freedom to act
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Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Abstract in English: 
The European Union is charting a strategic path to becoming the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, grasping the opportunities of the digital age, building an economy that works for people, promoting the European way of life, strengthening our unique brand of responsible global leadership, and nurturing, protecting and strengthening our democracy. Openness, as well as rules-based international and multilateral cooperation, are strategic choices. They stimulate prosperity, fairness, stability, competitiveness and dynamism within the EU and beyond. The history of the European project demonstrates the benefits of well-managed interdependence and open strategic autonomy based on shared values, cohesion, strong multilateral governance and rules-based cooperation. The pandemic has only strengthened the case for international cooperation to address global challenges. This 2021 Strategic Foresight Report presents a forward-looking and multi-disciplinary perspective on the EU’s capacity and freedom to act in the coming decades. Based on an expert-led, cross-sectoral foresight process, it presents global trends, uncertainties and choices that will shape Europe’s future. The report provides the context for possible policy responses. It builds on the 2020 Strategic Foresight Report, which introduced resilience as a new compass for EU policymaking. Section II identifies important structural global trends towards 2050 that will affect the EU’s capacity and freedom to act: climate change and other environmental challenges; digital hyperconnectivity and technological transformations; pressure on democracy and values; shifts in the global order and demography. Section III sets out ten areas in which the EU could strengthen its open strategic autonomy and global leadership. The report stresses that the EU’s future capacity and freedom to act will depend on whether the EU is able to make ambitious choices today, guided by its values and interests, across the identified policy areas.
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23
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El Gran Giro de América Latina

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El Gran Giro de América Latina
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Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, May 27, 2021
Abstract in English: 
This book analyses the structural and short-term causes of Latin America´s crisis and build scenarios of alternative post-pandemic trajectories. The authors show that the optimal scenario requires a Great Turn of fundamental transformations to build full democratic governance and move towards a sustainable future.
By Sergio BITAR, Jorge Máttar, Javier Medina.
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168
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Towards a more resilient Europe post-coronavirus: Capabilities and gaps in the EU's capacity to address structural risks

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, October 1, 2020
Abstract in English: 
The current coronavirus crisis emphasises the need for the European Union to devote more effort to anticipatory governance, notably through analysis of medium- and long-term global trends, as well as structured contingency planning and the stress-testing of existing and future policies. In order to contribute to reflection on and discussion about the implications of the coronavirus pandemic for EU policy-making, this paper builds on an initial 'mapping' of some 66 potential structural risks which could confront Europe over the coming decade. Taking 33 risks which are assessed as being more significant or likely, it looks first at the capabilities which the EU and its Member States already have to address those risks, and then looks at the various gaps in policy and instruments at the Union's disposal, suggesting possible approaches to overcome them in the short and medium terms.
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114
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Towards a more resilient Europe post-coronavirus: An initial mapping of structural risks facing the EU

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, July 20, 2020
Abstract in English: 
The current coronavirus crisis emphasises the need for the European Union to devote more effort to anticipatory governance, notably through analysis of medium- and long-term global trends, as well as structured contingency planning and the stress-testing of existing and future policies. In order to contribute to reflection on, and discussion about, the implications of the coronavirus pandemic for EU policy-making, this paper offers an initial ‘mapping’ of some of the potential structural risks which could confront Europe over the coming decade, with 66 such risks analysed briefly in a series of short notes. The document then goes on to take a closer look at some of the more immediate risks to be considered in the near term and outlines possible EU action to prevent or mitigate them over the remainder of the 2019-24 institutional cycle.
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100
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Russian futures 2030 - The shape of things to come

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Abstract in English: 
This Chaillot Paper seeks to provide readers with ambitious foresight analysis and insights on how to be prepared for unexpected twists and turns in Russia’s future trajectory.
The opening chapter highlights a set of key megatrends that will shape how Russia evolves in the decade ahead. Subsequent chapters focus on key sectors and analyse critical uncertainties that will influence Russia’s future course of development. They cover state-society relations in the country; its economic development and the evolution of its military posture; as well as how Russia’s relations with the EU’s eastern neighbours and China may unfold by 2030. Each of these chapters presents three alternative future scenarios. While they zoom in on specific themes and sectors, the concluding section offers a panoramic view of the various possible futures – combining elements of all of the preceding chapters to produce three holistic snapshots of Russia in 2030.
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108
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Shaping a Multiconceptual World - 2020

Title Original Language: 
Shaping a Multiconceptual World
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Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Abstract in English: 
In the report’s opening chapter, “The Expansion of Geopolitics”, World Economic Forum President Børge Brende argues the number of actors exerting geopolitical influence is growing and domains for geopolitical competition or cooperation are also expanding. Within this context, Brende calls for a cooperative order: “The more powers compete and pursue strategic advantage at the expense of addressing shared technological, environmental and economic challenges, the more likely it will be that a broader sense of friction will develop across the global system. A rivalrous global system will in turn make it more unlikely that shared priorities are fulfilled,” he writes. Brende notes that global coordination in the wake of the 11 September 2001 terror attacks and the 2008 global financial crisis offer a paradigm for a more collaborative response to geopolitical challenges. Cooperation, he argues, will ultimately prove more beneficial to individual states – and to the world at large. “As the world becomes even more interconnected in terms of flows of information, capital and people, states will be more reliant on one another to realize positive outcomes for themselves and the global community,” Brende writes. “At a time when power dynamics are in flux, there is an opportunity for stakeholders to make the decision to shape geopolitics in a cooperative, rather than competitive, manner.”
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78
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Global risks 2035 update: Decline or new renaissance?

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Global risks 2035 update: Decline or new renaissance?
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Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Abstract in English: 
In the best case, we forecast a world headed toward multipolarity with limited multilateralism. At worst, we projected a multipolarity that devolved into another Cold War bipolarity—with China, Russia, and their partners pitted against the United States, Europe, Japan, and other allies. In that scenario, war seemed inevitable. The fracturing of the post-Cold War global system would be accompanied by internal fraying caused by technological advances. No one was spared. Robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing, and automation were already upending both skilled and unskilled occupations in the developed world. As the cost of robots came down and automation and 3D printing spread, still-struggling emerging markets could no longer rely on lower labor costs, as China did to fuel its rise. This is a far cry from the earlier notion that globalization and technological change would “lift all boats.” Under any scenario, many of the poorest of the developing countries will face stiffer, potentially existential, challenges linked to climate change, poor governance, higher incidences of civil conflict, and overpopulation. Climate change will impact everyone in the coming decades, but the poorest areas—sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia—will be hit hardest by increasing temperatures and rising sea levels.
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88
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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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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.
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52
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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?
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19
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