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Addressing the future together: the Annual ESPAS Conference

Written by Leopold Schmertzing
Espas

This year’s Annual Conference of the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS) on ‘The Global Economic and Technological Revolution’ will be held on 12-13 November 2015 in Brussels.

The European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS) is a framework for cooperation and consultation at an administrative level, and on a voluntary basis, between the European Parliament, the European Commission, the European Council, and the European External Action Service, with the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee as observers. The aim is to work together on medium- and long-term trends facing the European Union.

This year’s ESPAS conference brings together some of today’s foremost thinkers and practitioners. Building on the recently-published ESPAS report, entitled Global Trends to 2030: Can the EU meet the challenges ahead?, it envisions a lively and innovative discussion on the future of ‘The Global Economic and Technological Revolution’. The report itself already highlights the transformative industrial and technological revolution that will gain speed in the next decade and asks how to reshape our economy and foster a society of change and innovation.

The first day of the conference, organised by the European Commission, is titled ‘Global Trends 2030: Economy and Government‘. Experts and policy makers will look at economic and technological issues such as: How will digital technologies transform jobs, economic well-being, value-creation and business models over the next 15 to 20 years? What is the future of work, education and government? How can we keep the internet open and collaborative? How might we embrace ‘breakthrough’ technologies already in the pipeline? Access to the event is by invitation only.

Day two focuses on ”Global Trends 2030: Future Society, Science and Geopolitics‘ and is organised by the European Parliament. The event brings together three panels of academics and practitioners for ‘armchair conversations’ on some of the key global trends redefining the future and reshaping the policy landscape. How will societies adjust to face such varied challenges as climate change and a new global middle class? How will scientific breakthroughs change our daily lives and define who we are as human beings and societies? How robustly will the transatlantic partnership deal with old and new challenges?

This conference launches a new cycle of events that will also explore the other two ‘global revolutions’ identified in the report. In 2016, the ‘social and democratic revolution’ focuses on the rising middle class and on dealing with inequalities and restoring trust in democracy. In 2017, the ‘geopolitical revolution’ will address issues like multipolarity and Chinas rise and will ask how to enhance the international role of the EU. In between future annual conferences, the ESPAS network will focus on a wide range of future issues in order to stimulate both debate and action.

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