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"Facing the future: global challenges in 2025 and policy implications"

BEPA organised in 2008-2009 a series of activities to reflect on

  1. what will be the impact of long-term trends on the EU and its Member States; and
  2. how can or should EU policy making respond to such trends.

The Activities:

  1. A group of experts by BEPA and DG Research in 2008 on the world in 2025.
  2. The note about "the World in 2025 – rising Asia and socio-ecological transition" is already published and the contributions of the experts were already send to publication.

  3. A follow-up by JRC/IPTS (Institute of Prospective Studies) in 2009.
    1. Literature review: analysis of recent foresight and forward looking studies to identify Trends, Emerging trends, Unexpected and improbable (rare) events with high relevance for EU
    2. Online Survey: assessment of results on their relevance, novelty and probability in order to identify the most interesting issues for discussion during the final workshop
    3. A workshop with the JRC/IPTS on 11-12 June in Brussels, bringing together about 50 experts in foresight and Commission officials responsible for foresight activities in their respective DG's, to discuss cross-cutting challenges and policy implications .

The background document with the literature survey prepared for this workshop will be updated by IPTS.

Extract from the introductory speech by Peter Dun on behalf of BEPA Director Vitor Gaspar:

Globalisation and global governance

"One key element that has changed the way we look at and assess future trends is globalisation. Climate change, poverty and human development, the increasing internationalisation of economic activities and, last but not least, the current financial and economic crisis, have underlined the inescapable consequences of interdependence…

Few people now argue that the crisis is simply a temporary interruption to existing trends and that everything will return the pre-2008 situation in due course. What is clear is that there is now a wide recognition that our international financial institutions and our regulatory structures need to change. The crisis has also confirmed what we in the EU had already realised, namely that the borders between our internal and external policies are becoming increasingly blurred, and as a result the EU. And it has become increasingly clear that we can and should play a central role in the reform of the global governance structures."

The impact of innovation

"The second cross-cutting issue that will crucially determine the future of the EU and the prosperity of its economy: innovation and the changes in economy and society that it implies. Innovation is not something that you can command or order. It depends on individual initiative and creativity. But we can and we should create better framework conditions to develop an innovation-friendly environment and a dynamic entrepreneurial mentality. This will require an overall strategy, with implications for education, research and development, enterprise and internal market policies."

Climate Change

"The third cross-cutting issue that emerges from the JRC report is climate change, including the loss of biodiversity and two related, very important themes: energy and oil dependence and fresh water availability. These are areas where short term choices have a deep impact on long term evolution; hence the importance for prospective studies to show the possible implications of inaction or of wrong policies in respect of these long term issues."


"On health, it is clear that we are facing some difficult societal choices, linked to the changes brought about by technological development, the ageing of population and the challenge of pandemics.. A public debate is needed on research and investment priorities, on the role of the public and the private sectors, on the role of the EU in a sector that is competence of the Member States, and so on."

After a lively debate these topics were selected for the discussion during the conclusive part:

In his conclusions remarks, Vasco Cal (from BEPA) referred to the present crisis and to the structural changes ahead: in citizenship, low carbon economy and knowledge society, as well as to the impact of technology and globalisation, and to the need to develop a "smart regulation".