Navigating the EU’s sustainability transitions in a polycrisis world

Past event In person & livestreamed

Climate, Energy & Natural Resources
Friends of Europe Navigating the EU’s sustainability transitions in a polycrisis world 2024

What happened?

This event was organised on the occasion of the launch of the foresight report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) “Europe’s Sustainability Transitions Outlook, thinking long-term while acting short-term”.

Navigating polycrisis – a convergence of economic, social and environmental crises – requires systemic thinking and integrative policy approaches. The interconnectedness of these crises impacts Europe’s food, water, energy security and macroeconomic stability, further complicated by social inequalities and security concerns.

Our discussion will focus on how to address the polycrisis during the next institutional cycle, achieving synergy between competing priorities and ensuring that environmental goals are not sidelined, but rather integrated into broader strategic frameworks. Key points of debate will include the balance between economic growth and ecological resilience, the role of security in sustainable development, and how to ensure a fair transition that addresses social equity concerns.

The EU faces significant tensions between risks and opportunities in its sustainability transitions. In terms of competitiveness, the shift towards decarbonisation and a net-zero economy is critical, yet Europe lags behind Asia and the US in digital technologies, increasing pressure to lead in clean technologies. Failure to do so could mean missing out on the industrial benefits of the digital and green revolutions. For security, climate change and other shocks disrupt stability, underscoring the importance of resilient communities and economies. Social fairness was highlighted through the need for a just transition, ensuring that the costs and benefits of the sustainability transitions are equitably distributed, mitigating societal pushback and protests.

This event took place in Brussels and was livestreamed for a wider audience. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, and join the #FoEDebate conversation.

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Photo credits: Shutterstock / Alexandros Michailidis



Registration and welcome coffee
Navigating the EU’s sustainability transitions in a polycrisis world
Expand Navigating the EU’s sustainability transitions in a polycrisis world
  • How can Europe maintain its competitive edge while pursuing ambitious sustainability goals?
  • In which ways can security policies be aligned with environmental objectives to create a more resilient society?
  • What strategies are needed to ensure that the transition to a green economy is just and inclusive for all societal groups?
  • How do we address the dilemmas of combining long-term thinking and short-term policy steps in the EU’s sustainability transitions whilst we face challenges stemming from different priorities?
Reception and networking


Dupont Claire
Claire Dupont

Research Professor of European and international governance at Ghent University

Show more information on Claire Dupont

Claire Dupont is a research professor of European and international governance at Ghent University, whose research interests focus on climate policy and governance in the EU. She specifically explores the governance challenges associated with transitioning to sustainability, as well as the integration and mainstreaming of policies across different sectors. Dupont’s research significantly contributes to knowledge and scholarship on sustainability, public policy, governance of complex issues at the European and international level, multi-level governance, democratic governance and European studies. Additionally, she serves on the editorial board of ‘Politics and Governance,’ chairs the Scientific Committee of the European Environment Agency (EEA) and is a member of Luxembourg’s Climate Policy Observatory.

Hobza Alexandr
Alexandr Hobza

Chief Economist at the European Commission Directorate General for Research and Innovation

Show more information on Alexandr Hobza

Alexandr Hobza is the Chief Economist at the Directorate-General for Research & Innovation of the European Commission. Together with his team, he aims to enhance the evidence base in support of science, technology, and innovation policies for the European Commission. He also serves as the Vice-Chair of the OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy. In his previous roles, he led teams working on assessments of structural reforms and advised the Director-General of DG ECFIN of the European Commission. Prior to joining the European Commission, he was a Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels.

Dharmendra Kanani
Dharmendra Kanani

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Spokesperson of Friends of Europe

Show more information on Dharmendra Kanani

Prior to joining Friends of Europe, Dharmendra Kanani was director of policy at the European Foundation Centre (EFC). He was the England director at the Big Lottery Fund, the largest independent funder in the UK and fourth largest in the world. Dharmendra has held senior positions in the public and voluntary sectors and advisor to numerous ministerial policy initiatives across the UK.

Koskinen Eero
Eero Yrjö-Koskinen

Executive Director of the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP)

Show more information on Eero Yrjö-Koskinen

Eero Yrjö-Koskinen is the Executive Director of the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), an independent think tank based in Brussels. Before taking on this role, he held positions as the Director of the Finnish Institute in Hungary, Sustainability Adviser at the Finnish Chamber of Commerce, Secretary General of the Finnish Network for Sustainable Mining, and the Executive Director of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, the largest environmental NGO in Finland. Additionally, he has extensive experience working for international organisations, having spent seven years at the European Parliament and four years at the United Nations.

Photo of Leena Ylä-Mononen
Leena Ylä-Mononen

Executive Director at the European Environment Agency (EEA)

Show more information on Leena Ylä-Mononen

Leena Ylä-Mononen has worked with national, European and international environmental policy and administration for over 30 years. Before joining the EEA, Ylä-Mononen was director general at the Finnish Ministry of the Environment, where she was in charge of the Ministry’s Climate and Environmental Protection Department, dealing with environmental policy issues and EU files. Prior to joining the Ministry Ylä-Mononen worked in management positions at the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki, first as a head of unit and then as one of the directors. She also worked at the European Commission, Directorate-General for Environment, on policy files related to chemicals, pesticides and multilateral environmental agreements related to chemicals.

Photo of Dr Dzhordzhio Naldzhiev
Dr Dzhordzhio Naldzhiev

Head of Science at Plan A

Show more information on Dr Dzhordzhio Naldzhiev

Dzhordzhio Naldzhiev currently serves as Head of Science at Plan A, Europe’s leading corporate carbon accounting, decarbonisation and CSRD reporting software provider. Naldzhiev holds a PhD in Environmental Engineering and Air Quality from UCL and is responsible for the scientific credibility underpinning Plan A’s platform and client-facing sustainability advice. As a Chartered Engineer, he is an honourary research fellow and guest lecturer for Architecture and the Built Environment at Bartlett University.



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