The World in 2025

EIN DISCUSSION DOCUMENT: THE WORLD IN 2025: HOW THE EUROPEAN UNION WILL NEED TO RESPOND

Over the past eighteen months, the European Ideas Network has undertaken a major project designed to identify the key challenges and choices which decision-makers within the EU and its member states will face over the next two decades, and to develop forward-looking ideas to address them. The exercise is intended to promote greater coherence in the ideas process on the centre-right in European politics.

The project has been developed jointly with a series of partners, notably the EPP Group in the European Parliament (which sponsors the EIN), the EPP and national political parties, and the 40 think tanks and political foundations associated with the network. More specifically, it originated with work recently done by the Fondation pour l'Innovation politique which initiated a process to discuss major prospective reports on the World in 2025. These reports were submitted to critical assessment by Fondapol experts and advisors. The European Ideas Network and the Fondation pour l'Innovation politique decided to extend that process through the EIN network of working groups, think tanks and foundations, and to transform it into a common draft "2025" document. All the EIN activities during 2007 and 2008 have been organised within this broader discussion framework.

The outcome of this process was a discussion document entitled "The World in 2025: How the European Union Will Need to Respond" which was submitted for wider debate, first to a number of centre-right think tanks and foundations meeting in Brussels in late August 2007, then to the EIN Summer University in Warsaw on 20-22 September. Since then the discussion document has been used as the basis of EIN's seminars, with different chapters being discussed in more length. The 2008 Summer University was held under the them of 'The World in 2025: The Place for Values in an Uncertain World'.
 

Discussion Document content

This document, now available in nineteen languages of the Union, is being widely circulated by both traditional and modern means of communication.

It raises the issues of what are the trends underway over the next 20 years which, when clearly identified, will enable us to take the decisions necessary to ensure that Europeans can remain prosperous and firmly in the forefront of global leadership.

 

More specifically, the document focuses on four major policy areas and two major European implications for which greater time and efforts must be put on addressing urgent issues that can wait no longer:

  • Demography and Immigration
  • Terrorism and Security
  • Energy and Environment
  • European Governance
  • Transatlantic Cooperation

Its six main conclusions, as summed up in the executive summary, are the following:

  1. There is a significant change of tempo underway in the issues under discussion, and a shift of focus from constitutional ones toward the global challenges ahead.
  2. These challenges ahead are hugely significant in breadth and depth.
  3. In this evolving global environment, no member state is capable of solving these challenges alone.
  4. In a multi-polar world, Europe must keep touch in with all players, but closer Transatlantic ties will be essential to respond to such challenges, in particular relating to the economy, energy/environment as well as security matters.
  5. In a globalised world based on the digital economy, the main unit of importance will be that of the individual.
  6. For the EU there now should be less focus on extending frontiers eastwards.

2009 discussion process

Over the coming months, this Discussion Document will be refined further, its analysis and its policy options enhanced. The final report will then be available for parties within the centre-right political families to be used as a reference work for policy formulation and as a tool to stimulate further discussion.

In December 2007, the European Council decided to set up a Reflection Group under the French Presidency to look beyond its internal structures and re-focus on long-term threats and opportunities. Its work should be completed by June 2010. With its 2025 project, the EIN will be well placed to contribute positive ideas about how the European Union can tackle the global challenges ahead, not least in the run-up to the European Parliament elections in 2009.

Members of the EIN can contribute to this discussion process by logging on the private part of this website and by visiting its "Commenting on 2025" page. Access is provided to a webtool that allows adding comments to each chapter.