EU Commission's Strategic Foresight 2020 published.

JS – 09/2020

The European Commission published its first strategic foresight on 9th September 2020. The approaches contained therein will flow into major policy initiatives and the Commission's work programmes. This is intended to improve the consistency of the strategy's direction.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlighted the EU's weaknesses, the strategic perspectives include, in particular, an approach to improve EU's resilience. The EU Commission wants to focus on its measures in a "facts-based, future-proof and resilient manner", explained the EU Vice-President, Maroš Šefčovič. The Foresight states that resilience is a "new compass for EU policy".

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen explained: "In these difficult times, political decision-makers must look far into the future. This report shows how important resilience is for a strong and lasting recovery. We are committed to bringing about the necessary changes in a sustainable, fair and democratic way."

Four dimensions of resilience

The strategic foresight addresses four dimensions of EU's resilience: the social and economic dimension, the geopolitical dimension, the green dimension and the digital dimension.

The Foresight analyses the capacities, weaknesses and opportunities of each of the dimensions mentioned, which the EU Commission intends to address in the medium to long term. In doing this, the Commission aims to ensure that short-term actions work towards long-term objectives and ensure coherence across policies.

The Strategic Foresight 2020 also contains models for resilience overviews. These overviews will help Member States and other stakeholders to discuss how best to monitor and control resilience. This should help to identify and address strengths and weaknesses at EU and Member State level more quickly in the event of new megatrends or future challenges.

Annual Strategic Foresights planned

The EU Commission plans to publish annual forward-looking strategic foresights to analyse new developments and challenges. They should then accompany the work programmes of the Commission accordingly and be reflected in the annual State of the Union address by President von der Leyen. The foresights could also provide thematic areas for the Conference on the Future of Europe (we reported in our June newsletter here).

The ESPAS conference (ESPAS - European System for Strategic and Policy Analysis) scheduled for November 2020 will discuss the main contents of the 2021 strategic foresight.

It remains to be seen whether the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lessons learned will also shape the foresight for 2021.