European Futures

European Futures

Five Possible Scenarios for 2010

Gilles Bertrand, Anna Michalski and Lucio R. Pench

This book is an innovative and highly original exercise in scenario building, the aim of which is to investigate the future of Europe. The scenarios investigated by the authors include ‘triumphant markets’, ‘turbulent neighbourhoods’, ‘the hundred flowers’, ‘shared responsibilities’ and ‘creative societies’. These are five coherent and thought-provoking images of Europe in 2010. Rather than present a definitive picture of the future of Europe, the authors highlight the range of possible futures, and the factors and actors that are likely to shape them. Written in a narrative style, the scenarios are grounded in a rigorous analysis of the main trends affecting Europe’s future, including demography, technology, globalisation and post-modernity.

Introduction

Gilles Bertrand, Anna Michalski and Lucio R. Pench

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy

Extract

Every epoch is an epoch of transition. We know only one thing about the future or, rather, the futures: it will not look like the present. Jorge Luis Borges The notion that Europe at the start of the third millennium is facing many challenges has gained widespread credence. The fact that our societies along with their values and traditions are changing rapidly is also commonly accepted. Daily, the threats and opportunities stemming from new technologies are the subject of numerous public debates. Our political leaders incessantly reiterate that we must find new ways to deal with the complexity of our contemporary world. Very seldom, however, are concrete examples presented in order to give people the opportunity to form an idea of how the future of Europe might look. Even more rarely are coherent and contrasted illustrations given of how Europe may evolve in the future as the result of actions and decisions that are taken today. Aware of this lacuna, the Forward Studies Unit of the European Commission launched at the beginning of 1997 a project, Scenarios Europe 2010, with the objective of producing a set of coherent and thought-provoking images of the future of Europe. It is the hope that by studying these scenarios the reader will be encouraged to reflect both on the changes that are taking place in the world and on the options that lie ahead. Many elements contribute to the process of societal change. The transition from the agrarian and industrial societies to the information...