Britain’s referendum vote to leave the European Union has delivered a profound shock to the continent. The looming departure of one of the EU’s strongest economic, diplomatic and military powers has raised doubts about the very survival of a Union already divided over management of the eurozone, the economy and the refugee crisis. Europe’s political certainties are questioned by the rise of populist forces both within and without – the external challenges including Russian belligerence, Middle Eastern turmoil, a truculent Turkey and Trumpism in the United States.
To address this toxic mix, Friends of Europe’s annual high-level roundtable gathered more than 200 influential figures. Their aim was to seek ways for Europe to move forward from the current morass. They looked at how to end infighting, so the remaining 27 EU member states can confront Europe’s raft of problems and present a united position on Brexit. Topics in the sessions ranged from Europe’s role in a fast-changing world, to finding the right economic models, to the impact of migration. However, the urgency of confronting the new wave of nationalist, protectionist and populist politics dominated much of the debate.
A key thread emerged on need to tackle both the immediate threats posed by populism and the root causes of voter discontent that have allowed populists to thrive. The first, delegates argued, involves building on Europe’s strengths, forging greater resolve among the defenders of Europe’s democracy and using pro-active communications to recapture the initiative from ‘post-truth’ politicians who present simple, populist ‘solutions’. The second requires longer-term action to spur growth in the European economy while avoiding social tensions between the winners and losers of technological advances and open markets.
Social inclusion must be a priority. Migration – including intra-EU labour movement – must be managed to avoid rifts between incoming and native communities. Crisis breeds opportunity: the current shocks to the system can be used to spur reforms that make the EU more transparent and accountable. Mainstream politicians need to re-connect with citizens – in particular young people. And Europe needs to build on its strengths as a motor of innovation, a driving force in the fight against global warming and the world’s biggest provider of development assistance.
Europe has never simultaneously faced so many challenges. Brexit, the eurozone crises, sluggish economic growth, high unemployment and immigration along with social inequality weigh heavy on Europe’s future. Terror attacks have spotlighted the dangers of violent radicalisation. These developments come against a background of technological innovation that, from a competition viewpoint, is too slow, but in social terms others see as too fast.
Technological progress is mostly empowering and positive. But although it boosts innovation it can also be disruptive to labour markets, health and social systems. Other challenges include calls for a re-think of the EU’s democratic mechanisms and the future of foreign policy and new and old security threats.
This 13th ‘State of Europe’ high-level roundtable will discuss the risks and the opportunities of disruptive change in four areas: economic models, social integration, leadership and geopolitics. It will look at Europe’s resilience in the increasingly turbulent, unpredictable and volatile domestic and global environments.
From Brexit to the US presidentials, from China’s slowdown to the problems of the global economy, change is accelerating. Both the pace of technological and digital advances are driving this change while also creating a force of disruption, throwing predictability and experience out of the window.
Belgian Minister of State and former vice-president of the European Commission
Deputy Governor at the Bank of France and former member of the European Parliament
Senior Director and Head of EMEA Public Policy at Google, Adjunct Professor of Innovation at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Author of three books on information technology
Journalist, Film Director of ‘The Great European Disaster Movie’ and Founder and Director of The Wake Up Foundation
Director of Insights at Friends of Europe
BREXIT AND THE EUROPEAN LEADERSHIP
- The EU’s legitimacy and accountability: the search quickens
- Referenda and parliamentary democracies: voters, 24-hour news and social media
- Europe’s “new leaders”: Populists, left and right extremists and illiberal democrats
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Minister of State, President of the Dutch Advisory Council on International Affairs, former NATO secretary-general and former Dutch foreign minister
CEO of eXplain, 2014 European Young Leader
First Elected Member of Parliament for the UK Independence Party (UKIP)
Dr. Kirsty Hughes
Associate Fellow at Friends of Europe
BUILDING TRUST BETWEEN COMMUNITIES
- Migration is not a burden but an asset in an ageing Europe desperate for skilled labour and tax payers
- Ensuring disadvantaged communities are not bypassed by policymakers
- Education to counter youth disenchantment and violent extremism
European Commissioner for the Security Union
President of the Green Party of the Belgian Senate, Senator for the French Community Parliament and Vice President of the Senate’s Justice Commission, 2013 European Young Leader
Director General of the European Muslim Network, Doctor of Sociology from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and Author
Secretary General of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
Anneleen Van Bossuyt
Member of the European Parliament and of the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA)
Former Deputy Director for Security and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe and Vice-President of WIIS - Women in International Security, Brussels
OLD EUROPE’S NEW WORLD
- Europe’s response to its troubled neighbourhood, Asia’s rise and inward-looking America
- Global governance to meet new financial, trade and security demands
- Agenda 2030’s new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): finding the cash and the commitment
European Commission Director-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO)
Director of JEDI, former special advisor to the French Minister of Defence, Founder of ACAPITAL, 2013 European Young Leader
2015 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and President of the Tunisian UTICA
President of the Asian Society Policy Institute (ASPI) and Prime Minister of Australia (2007-2010, 2013)
Director of Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe
SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC MODELS
- Finding trade-offs between health, ageing, wellbeing and wealth creation
- Reducing the gap between the haves and the have-nots
- Reconciling sustainable development with business opportunities
European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness
Founder and Chairman of the Good Lobby, Jean Monnet Professor in EU Law at HEC Paris, Global Clinical Professor of Law at New York University School of Law and European Young Leader Alumnus
President and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur MSD
PhD Candidate in Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Director for Europe
Senior Fellow for Health at Friends of Europe
How do we fall in love with the idea of Europe as a political, social and economic force for good? These sessions will provide an opportunity to generate ideas and new thinking, enabling a different type of engagement in a format that stimulates the discussion of ideas on this key question.
Introductory remarks by
Founder and Chairman, Friends of Europe
Table 1 with
EU Commissioner for Education, Culture and Youth (2010-2014) and former Trustee of Friends of Europe
Multi-Media Editor (News and Current Affairs) at BBC World Service, 2012 European Young Leader
Table 2 with
Former Taoiseach of Ireland
Managing Director of the Clean Air Fund, 2015-2016 European Young Leader
Table 3 with
Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International
Member of the European Parliament
Table 4 with
Secretary-General of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and former European commissioner for employment, social affairs and inclusion
Founder and President of Women’s WorldWide Web and European Young Leader
Table 5 with
Chairman of the Administrative Board of the Czech China Chamber of Cooperation, former special envoy to the OSCE and the Western Balkans and former EU commissioner for enlargement and European neighbourhood policy
Blogger and independent consultant, 2012 European Young Leader
Table 6 with
Jean-Pascal van Ypersele
Professor of Climatology and Environmental Sciences at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) and Vice Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2008-2015)
Managing Director of the Re-Define think tank and European Young Leader Alumnus
Table 7 with
Minister of Defence of Lithuania
Ricardo Baptista Leite
Member, National Parliament of Portugal, 2015-2016 European Young Leader
Table 8 with
President and Founder of Women Political Leaders Global Forum (WPL)
Programme Director, The Hellenic Initiative, 2015-2016 European Young Leader
Followed by reactions and a debate on 'political engagement and leadership: what prospects for the next generation', with:
Italian Senator for life, former prime minister and former European commissioner
UN Youth Delegate to the General Assembly and Columnist at MO*
Belgian Minister of State and former vice-president of the European Commission
Citizens are losing trust in politicians, democratic institutions and the mainstream media. But recent referendums and elections suggest people are becoming increasingly engaged in new forms of political debate. This session brings together different generations to discuss whether and how this new-found political engagement can be harnessed and what it means for European democracy. Are political institutions in the EU and elsewhere fit for the 21st century? Does new technology and greater transparency mean an end to traditional political leadership? Can a new generation of leaders maintain popular support while taking tough and potentially unpopular decisions?
Senior Fellow for Health at Friends of Europe
Alberto is an academic, author and activist. He’s currently Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law at HEC Paris and Global Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. Committed to bridging the gap between academic research and policy action, Alberto pioneered innovative forms of civic engagement and campaigning in the EU transnational space via his civic start up The Good Lobby. His last book, ‘Lobbying for Change: Find Your Voice to Create a Better Society’ provides a timely analysis and guide to levelling the democratic playing field by empowering ordinary citizens to speak up and inform policy decisions at local, national and international level. A Harvard graduate, he’s a regular contributor to Le Monde, Bloomberg, Politico Europe, Forbes, and Il Sole 24 Ore, and his scholarly and public interest work has been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, the Financial Times as well Science and Nature.
Etienne (Stevy) is one of the few statesmen in Europe who has been actively involved in EU affairs from the beginning, from his early role as Chief of Staff to Paul-Henri Spaak to today. He has held high-level positions in both the public and private sectors, including as Vice-President of the European Commission, President of the Société Générale de Belgique, first President of the International Energy Agency and through various board mandates.
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is a Dutch politician who prominently served as the 11th Secretary-General of NATO. Previously, he worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and at the Dutch delegation at NATO headquarters in Brussels. He now works as President of the Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV) of the Netherlands, an independent body which advises government and parliament on foreign policy. Furthermore, he was appointed to the Pieter Kooijmans Chair for Peace, Law and Security at Leiden University.
Sylvie Goulard is a French politician who currently serves as Deputy Governor at the Bank of France She previously served as Member of the European Parliament and, having been appointed by Emmanuel Macron, Minister of the Armed Forces in the French government. She is also the former President of the Mouvement européen-France, the oldest pluralist association defending the European ideal, and was a founder of the Spinelli Group. Additionally, Goulard continues to write regularly in a wide range of both and international newspapers.
In his current role as European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen is at the helm of the Circular Plastics Alliance. The Circular Plastics Alliance gathers key stakeholders to promote voluntary action by industry for more recycled plastics. Katainen also plays a leading role in the EU Bioeconomy Strategy, published by the European Commission in October 2018. Before joining the European Commission, Katainen served as Prime Minister of Finland from 2011 until 2014 and as Minister of Finance from 2007 until 2011.
Zakia is President of the Green Party of the Belgian Senate, Senator for the French Community Parliament and Vice President of the Senate’s Justice Commission. She is a member of the PCF & PRB parties. Zakia has an extensive background in politics and project management and has comprehensive experience as a researcher in social issues. She holds a Social Studies degree from the ISFSC in Brussels as well as several other academic diplomas in public management, project management and solidarity studies. Zakia is an avid supporter of anti-racist movements and women’s rights and is a founding member of the Arab Women Solidarity Association and a member of the French Women’s Council in Belgium.
Julian King was appointed to his current role in 2016 in the aftermath of the UK’s decision to leave the EU. King has previously served as a British Ambassador to France and Ireland, and held the position of Director General of the Northern Ireland Office. As a Commissioner, he has been responsible for steering the EU’s anti-terrorism strategy, building a sustainable Security Union, and strengthening the common response to further security threats such as organised crime, radicalisation, terrorist propaganda and cybercrime.
Guillaume is an expert in electoral strategy. He began his career in Beijing before joining the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. for 4 years in France and in the United States. In 2012, he joined the French presidential campaign team of François Hollande, in which he oversaw the field campaign strategy to reach out to 5 million households, led the rollout of the campaign in 30 departments and coordinated the communication strategy. He then co-founded a political strategy firm Liegey Muller Pons to help other European political parties improve the way they run their election campaigns and engage with citizens before and after the polls. Guillaume is the co-author of Porte-à-porte, Reconquérir la démocratie sur le terrain (2013). He is also a lecturer at Sciences Po Paris, where he teaches a course on electoral campaigns. Guillaume is a graduate of HEC and Harvard, holding a Master in Public Administration and a MSc in Management.
André is a French-German entrepreneur who has held leadership positions in private equity, government and industry. Starting as assistant to the CEO of Aerospatiale-Airbus, he then spent 15 years in private equity and venture capital, including 10 years with China, investing in European companies with global ambitions. In 2017, he became special advisor to the French Minister of Defence, responsible in particular for European defence policy as well as technology and innovation. He is currently in charge of the Joint European Disruptive Initiative (JEDI), aiming to accelerate Europe’s leadership in disruptive innovations. He is also a lecturer at SciencesPo and a Non-Resident Fellow of the German Marshal Fund. His professional experience is complemented by his expertise in aerospace – he is a private pilot and a Colonel with the French Air Force People’s Reserve.
With over 30 years of experience in the European Commission, Stefano Manservisi has covered a wide range of topics. Prior to his current position, he served as Head of Cabinet for European Commission Vice-President Mogherini, former Commission President Prodi and former Commissioner Monti. He also acted as Director-General for Migration and Home Affairs (HOME) and was Head of the Delegation of the EU to Turkey. In the past, Manservisi has been a visiting professor at the College of Europe, University of Roma III and the University of Bologna.
Giles Merritt founded Friends of Europe in 1999, and its policy journal Europe’s World in 2005. His career as a journalist spanned 15 years as a Financial Times foreign correspondent, the last five as Brussels Correspondent, and 25 years as a contributor of Op-Ed columns to the International Herald Tribune on European political and economic issues. In 2010 he was named by the Financial Times as one of 30 ‘Eurostars’ who most influence thinking on Europe’s future. His latest book is “Slippery Slope: Europe’s Troubled Future” (Oxford University Press, 2016).
A distinguished economist, Mario has cemented his reputation as a committed supporter of the single currency and a talented negotiator leading a government of technocrats in the wake of the Italian debt crisis in late 2011. Most recently, Mario chaired the High-Level Group on Own Resources, a consultative committee of the European Union, aimed at proposing new forms of revenue for the European Union’s budget, which resulted in the final report “Future Financing of the EU” arguing for new tax sources.
Having joined Médecins sans Frontières over 20 years ago, Jérôme Oberreit has worked in Kenya, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Palestinian territories, and subsequently in Brussels where he has been managing medical–humanitarian activities over the past decade. Oberreit has developed particular expertise in working in conflict settings and in managing HIV programmes. In his current role, he worked on many migration-related issues such as a relevant and cohesive response to the 2014 Ebola West African epidemic and on supporting strong public positioning linked to the protection of the medical mission and people on the move.
Annalisa Piras is an award-winning Italian director, producer and journalist based in London. Her latest documentary, ‘Europe at Sea’, has gained exclusive access for the first time to the work of the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy at a pivotal moment in time, when Europe is confronted by a changing geopolitical landscape and pressing migration and security challenges. Piras’s prior award-winning documentaries include ‘The Great European Disaster Movie’ (2015) and ‘Girlfriend in a Coma’ (2012).
As former Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin is internationally recognised as one of the founders of the G20. In 2015, he joined the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI), an organisation dedicated to assist businesses and governments in resolving policy challenges in the Asia-Pacific region. In his recent report entitled “UN 2030: Rebuilding order in a fragmenting world”, Kevin provides his personal views, based on his background as Prime Minister, on the world situation and suggests how the UN can adapt to cope with the rapid pace of change.
Dr. Kirsty Hughes is an Associate Fellow at Friends of Europe. She has worked at a number of leading European think tanks and has published extensively on European and international politics including books, reports and as a journalist. She was also a senior political adviser in the European Commission, head of advocacy for Oxfam, and CEO at Index on Censorship.
Shada works on issues related to the future of Europe, minority and integration challenges as well as on Europe’s relations with emerging nations. She set up the Asia Programme for Friends of Europe in 2011 and also leads its work on development issues. She is the former Europe correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and continues to write for leading international publications.
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 sector and advisor to numerous ministerial policy initiatives across the UK.
Pauline Massart leads Friends of Europe’s Peace, Security and Defence pillar, developing the work programme, projects and partnerships on global peace, security and defence issues. She has spearheaded projects such as the think-tank’s global cyber-scorecard and Friends of Europe’s global online brainstorm which gathers thousands of security experts from across the globe. Massart is also Vice-President for Operations and Outreach of WIIS – Women in International Security Brussels.
Tamsin Rose is Senior Fellow at Friends of Europe. Having studied international relations, she has 25 years of experience working across the European continent from Ireland to Mongolia. A natural communicator, Tamsin has been a radio reporter, worked on press for the EU Delegation in Moscow and is currently a member of the external speaker team for the European Commission Directorate General for Communication, describing how the EU works and key policies to visitor groups from around the world. Since 2002 she has specialised in public health and public participation issues, serving as Secretary General of the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), and providing strategic advice for health groups on how to engage successfully with the EU.
- Europe's World
- Europe's World
- By Cristina Pozzi
- Europe's World
- By Sieglinde Gstöhl
- Area of Expertise
- Peace, Security & Defence
Next event online
- Area of Expertise
- Peace, Security & Defence