Strategic foresight in Europe: building a resilient Union 

prepared by ValueDo 

“Foresight is not about the next election, but about the next generation”, the words by Vice-President Šefčovič.  

On the 19th November, commissioner for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight, Maros Šefčovič, held an important speech at the annual conference of the European Policy and Strategy Analysis System. The full speech is available here.  

Vice-President underlined the importance of the collaborative work across EU institutions to build a resilient Union in the face of significant long-term challenges and palpable uncertainty. European Institutions cannot expect the future to become less disruptive. Recent months have taught us that we need to equip ourselves with the means to tackle whatever challenges may arise, while keeping a political eye on any warning signs on the horizon.  

This is what strategic foresight is about: anticipating, exploring, and ultimately, acting, in a collaborative manner. Before the pandemic, Europe was aware of the challenges posed by changing climate, facing liberal democracies, or created by new technologies. COVID-19 has accelerated many of these mega-trends. 

Foresight Commissioner pointed out that “the European Commission is the first major public administration to bring strategic foresight into the highest political level”. Because of this, he is launching an EU-wide Strategic Foresight Network, which will see EU institutions, Member States, think tanks, academia, civil society, and international organisations joining forces. First, the network will help share best practices and build evidence-based anticipatory capacities in each Member State. Second, it will work together on foresight projects of common interest. 

We hope that our project FUTURES could be a little piece of the big puzzle of foresight, developing the participants’ capabilities to “use the future” in the present by combining the pragmatic and experimental approaches to imagine their professional career paths. News as the one we presented here reassure us that the work we are doing (and we will do) is going in the right direction. 

Team building. Hands, together, tree