Written by Marcin Grajewski
Do the European Union, and indeed Europe itself, risk slipping into irrelevance on the global stage as its population ages, innovation weakens and the pivot of economic activity moves from the Atlantic to the Pacific? Or is the best yet to come for the continent? What needs to be done to arrest a possible decline of the homeland of Voltaire, Newton and Hegel, to turn challenges into opportunities? What long-term trends are shaping the world, and is Europe an active agent or a passive onlooker?
The European Parliamentary Research Service and Chatham House will try to answer those and other questions at a conference they jointly organise in the European Parliament’s Library Reading Room (Altiero Spinelli building, floor 5D) on Monday, 15 June 2015 at 18:00. The event, entitled ‘Navigating Global Trends: Options for Europe in a Changing World‘, will feature two experts from Chatham House – its Director, Dr Robin Niblett, and Research Director, Dr Patricia M Lewis, who will present their findings based on a report co-authored by Chatham House on ‘Empowering Europe’s Future: Governance, Power and Options for the EU in a Changing World’. They will be challenged by practitioners of global diplomacy Maciej Popowski, Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service, and Elmar Brok, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs. The conference will be opened by Ann Mettler, Head of the European Political Strategy Centre, the European Commission’s newly created in-house think tank, who will link the event to ESPAS, or the ‘European Strategy and Policy Analysis System’ – an inter-institutional project focused on improving understanding of the EU’s strategic options.
According to an analysis co-authored by Chatham House for ESPAS, in 2030, the world will be a more fragile and less predictable place. The rise of economic interdependence, the diffusion of power, and the disruptive potential of resource insecurities, climate change, and technological innovation, will pose major challenges for Europe. Current economic, demographic and military spending trends point to a gradual downsizing of the EU’s relative power and international influence over this period.
In this context, how can Europe utilise its combined resources, its experience of integration and its potential to implement unified foreign, trade and security policies to both temper geopolitical tensions and advance a rules-based global order?
You are most welcome to attend the conference to hear the speakers’ recommendations.