© Theseamuss / Adobe Stock

The coronavirus crisis has underlined the need for the European Union to devote greater efforts to anticipatory governance, and to attempt to strengthen its resilience in the face of risks from both foreseeable and unforeseeable events. This paper builds further on an initial ‘mapping’ in mid-2020 of some 66 potential structural risks which could confront Europe over the coming decade, and a second paper last autumn which looked at the EU’s capabilities to address 33 of those risks assessed as being more significant or likely, and at the various gaps in policy and instruments at the Union’s disposal. Delving deeper in 25 specific areas, this new paper identifies priorities for building greater resilience within the Union system, drawing on the European Parliament’s own resolutions and proposals made by other EU institutions, as well as by outside experts and stakeholders. In the process, it highlights some of the key constraints that will need to be addressed if strengthened resilience is to be achieved, as well as the opportunities that follow from such an approach.

In April 2020, the participants in the inter-institutional European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS), which aims to identify and analyse medium- and long-term global trends facing the European Union, were invited by the Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for foresight to offer ‘food for thought’ on issues arising from the coronavirus pandemic, with a view to helping refine collective thinking on how to increase the long-term resilience of the Union over the coming decade. In this context, this paper, the third in a series, follows on from ‘An initial mapping of structural risks facing the EU’ (July 2020), which set out some 66 potential structural risks confronting the European Union in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis, and ‘Capabilities and gaps in the EU’s capacity to address structural risks’ (October 2020), which looked at those risks from the mapping which were considered as more immediate and significant, and considered ways in which the EU and Member States could address them, either with existing capabilities or through filling gaps in policies and instruments. The present paper drills down deeper in 25 areas presented in the previous papers, looking in greater detail at possible action by the EU and highlighting proposals from various quarters, including the European Parliament itself, and at potential or actual constraints that might hinder action in these fields.

Read the complete study on ‘Towards a more resilient Europe post-coronavirus: Options to enhance the EU’s resilience to structural risks‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.