Strategic Foresight – The Future of Europe


The Aspen Institute Germany

Europe Program


Among other factors of uncertainty, the COVID-19 pandemic and a shift in US policies have a particular strong impact on strategic considerations within the EU. Against this backdrop, the Aspen Institute Germany facilitated a strategic foresight process over the course of four online workshop sessions between July and September 2020. The foresight process focused on security, trade and green recovery and gathered experts from EU member states, the Western Balkans Six as well as from the US and UK to develop different scenarios on the future of the EU.


The Bureau für Zeitgeschehen (BfZ) designed and moderated the entire foresight process over a period of four months. The process was initiated by conducting an in-depth survey among the group of 16 hand-picked experts that aimed at identifying key drivers and uncertainties that will determine the future of Europe within the next five to seven years. From a 2027 perspective (the end of the upcoming EU budgetary cycle), the BfZ moderated a scenario back-casting exercise, looking at opportunities, risks, and counter-intuitive developments.


In four 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. A summary of the collected social, technological, economic, security, political, legal-regulatory, and ecological key drivers for the different scenarios can be found in the annex to the linked document below alongside the indicators of the early warning system.