2020 Strategic Foresight Report: Charting the course towards a more resilient Europe

President von der Leyen’s political guidelines set a strategic long-term direction to achieve the transition towards a green, digital and fair Europe. They lay out a path for Europe to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, to be fit for the digital age, and to cultivate its unique social market economy and democratic order.

The COVID-19 crisis has shocked the world, both exposing vulnerabilities and highlighting capacities within the EU. The pandemic has already claimed the lives of almost a million people globally and has led to economic, social and psychological hardship. In the EU, it has exacerbated social and economic inequalities: in 2020, despite various safety nets, unemployment is projected to rise to more than 9% and real disposable income to drop by 1%, disproportionately affecting women and poorer households. The EU’s strongly diversified trade has proven to be a strength, even if reliance on a limited number of non-EU suppliers for some critical goods and services has been exposed as a vulnerability. The EU and its Member States were also able to rely on their social market economies, sustainable ecosystems, robust financial systems and an effective governance framework. The recovery plan for Europe3 now shows the way forward: Next Generation EU aims to build a more resilient, sustainable, and fair Europe through large-scale financial support for investment and reforms.
Strategic foresight will play a key role in helping future-proof EU policymaking by ensuring that short-term initiatives are grounded in a longer term perspective. To make the most of its potential, this Commission has a strong mandate to put strategic foresight at the heart of EU policymaking4. Strategic foresight can help build collective intelligence in a structured manner to better chart the way forward for the twin green and digital transitions and to recover from disruptions. With this Communication, the Commission sets out how it will integrate strategic foresight in EU policymaking and outlines related priorities. This is vital, as we are entering a new era, where action-oriented foresight will stimulate strategic thinking and shape EU policies and initiatives, including future Commission work programmes.
The central theme of this first report is resilience, which has become a new compass for EU policies with the COVID-19 crisis. Resilience is the ability not only to withstand and cope with challenges but also to undergo transitions in a sustainable, fair, and democratic manner. Resilience is necessary in all policy areas to undergo the green and digital transitions, while maintaining the EU’s core purpose and integrity in a dynamic and at times turbulent environment. A more resilient Europe will recover faster, emerge stronger from current and future crises, and better implement the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

This first annual Strategic Foresight Report outlines how foresight will inform policies with a view to strengthening the EU’s resilience in four interrelated dimensions: social and economic, geopolitical, green, and digital. It analyses the EU’s resilience in response to the COVID-19 crisis in the context of the acceleration or deceleration of relevant megatrends, long-term driving forces that will likely have a large influence on the future. This Communication shows how policies to improve resilience, by mitigating vulnerabilities and strengthening capacities, can open new opportunities in each of the four dimensions. This includes reconsidering the future of wellbeing, work, labour markets and skills, reconfiguring global value chains, supporting democracy, reforming our rules-based trading system, building alliances in emerging technologies, and investing in the green and digital transitions.
This new focus on resilience calls for close monitoring. This Communication proposes to move towards resilience dashboards, which, once fully developed in cooperation with the Member States and other key stakeholders, should be used for assessing the vulnerabilities and capacities of the EU and its Member States in each of the four dimensions. Such analysis can help answer the question: are we, through our policies and recovery strategy, effectively making the EU more resilient?
The strategic foresight agenda will encompass horizontal foresight activities and thematic forward-looking exercises. For the upcoming year, these include: open strategic autonomy, the future of jobs and skills for and in the green transition, and deepening the twinning of the digital and green transitions. This agenda will bring a dynamic perspective of synergies and trade-offs among EU policy goals, thereby supporting the coherence of EU policies.

Document type
  • Report


Publication Year


Geographical focus
  • European Union (EU 27)
  • Western Balkans
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary

Entry created by Admin WBC-RTI.info on April 16, 2021
Modified on April 16, 2021