By 2025, Europe will represent only 6% of the world population, and its relative share of global wealth and trade will have shrunk. Contentious economic and welfare reforms as well as the integration of a growing migrant population will be among the key internal challenges for many EU Member States. Based on current trends, the EU may also be surrounded by an increasingly turbulent neighborhood, from Russia to the Mediterranean and Africa. The ongoing debate on the future of Europe suffers from a lack of perspective on the global developments that are changing the context of European integration itself. Too often European integration is regarded as a regular process, advancing or stalling, depending on endogenous or intra-European variables only. Absorbed in endless debates on the reform of their political, economic and social structures, there is a risk that the EU and its member states may loose sight on the momentous developments taking place beyond their borders, yet affecting their own future. While Europe ponders its own future, the future of the world is in the making. The risk is that the Union and its Member States will be increasingly subject to, rather than actors of, change.
[...] However in several areas current trends indicate that the EU might have difficulties maintaining its status (population ageing, industries offshore generating values outside the EU, competition in technologic areas, insecurity faced with globalisation, fear of European integration We can mention these internal challenges very briefly: - The need to renegotiate the social contract i.e., the entitlement programs of the social welfare state hammered out in the post-1945 period. This is not a choice but a necessity: a large, aging population sits atop a shrinking labor pool and declining birth rates, unemployment remains chronic - The need to take effective decisions in a wider EU, an effective instrument of policy deliberation and execution Decisions taken by the European Monetary Authority will carry more weight than national policies in Berlin or Paris. [...]
[...] The international political system will present two main features: Second the consolidation of regional multilateral frameworks of which the EU will continue to represent the most advanced example third the potential proliferation of weak states, which might fail to prevent disorder from spilling over their borders A turbulent neighbourhood The EU is surrounded by regions with a high potential of problems and tensions. By 2030 the political, economic and security outlook at the borders of the Union is likely to have deteriorated considerably even if catastrophic shocks do not occur. [...]
[...] Some argue that the EU should not duplicate what already exists in NATO, but the EU has agreed to establish a modest military planning center coordinated by the high representative of CFSP. European nations will need to continue to reform and to modernise their military capabilities. - the EU-US relation and cooperation affected by trends in the world Europe will be affected by trends elsewhere, in particular in the Maghreb and Middle East. Population growth, the potential for the massive flow of refugees, the need to ensure access to oil, and the economic potential for markets throughout the region will ensure that European countries will stay engaged. [...]
[...] That is why I will try to put together an overall picture of the world in which the EU will operate over the next two to five decades in order to put in perspective the immediate priorities and challenges of EU external policy General trends and internal challenges - Evolution of major regions and countries: demography and migration, economics, resource pressures and climate change, security and conflict Demography and migrations ( The world population will increase to 7.9 billion in 2025 and this population growth will be particularly strong in developing countries and remain relatively young, in contrast in developed countries (Europe, Japan, China ) population ageing will have major implications for the composition of the workforce and dramatically increase old age dependency ratios, and have an impact on approaches to migration, taxation, pensions, employment and public services. [...]
[...] The strength of the EU is that once sucked into its sphere of influence countries are changed forever. For fifty years, Europe has been creating a “community of democracy” and using its market size and the promise of enlargement to reshape societies from the inside. As India, Brazil, South Africa, and even China, develop economically and express themselves politically; the European model will represent an irresistibly attractive way of enhancing their prosperity whilst protecting their security. They will join with the EU in building a new European century. [...]
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