04 January 2021

COVID-19: A Booster for European Integration?

COVID-19: A Booster for European Integration?
© Günther Henschel, CC-BY-NC 2.0.

“The future belongs to those who anticipate opportunities before they become obvious.” These words of Oscar Wilde illustrate that positive change can be spurred at any time – even in times of crisis. In this sense, COVID-19 also enables new future paths of a united Europe: while European governments initially relied on national solutions in order to contain the pandemic, the Franco-German proposal of a European Recovery Plan is celebrated as a historic step towards European solidarity.

The months ahead will be crucial for the future of Europe. Hence, the Aspen Institute Germany facilitated a Strategic Foresight process between July and September 2020. For this purpose, the Bureau für Zeitgeschehen (BfZ) designed and moderated four online workshops with 16 hand-picked experts from EU member states, the Western Balkans Six, the US and UK. In these sessions, the invited participants developed different scenarios that could define the future of Europe in terms of security, trade, and green recovery. Beyond that, the experts devised an early warning system that enables policy makers to track and trace actual developments as they occur: Will the EU be able to build an autonomous security system until 2027? What are “missions possible” when it comes to trade? How can the EU benefit from recent developments in order to become a “Global Green Superpower”? Last but not least, the track’n’trace system serves to identify and mitigate emerging risks at an early stage as well as to seize existing opportunities as they arise. The detailed results of the workshops are available via the link below.

Esch, Valeska/ Remme, Yannik (2020): Aspen Strategic Foresight. The Future of Europe, Aspen Institute Germany.