Friends of Europe’s annual State of Europe high level roundtable highlighted the pressing need to rewrite the rules of politics at a time of surging support for populist leaders. The event focused on issues ranging from democracy in the digital age, to the future of work and changing migration dynamics.
Speakers urged Europe to move past its leadership crisis and counter the rise in populist sentiment by creating a different kind of politics aimed at improving citizens’ lives. Brussels’ movers and shakers need to get out more, said Carl Bildt former Swedish Prime Minister and Trustee of Friends of Europe. “Move out into the rest of Europe, because there has been a growing disconnect between the bubble talk in Brussels and the fears and the dreams and the possibilities that you encounter in Leipzig or Luleå or wherever.”
The need for Europe to recover confidence in its democratic values is important not just for the EU’s internal health, but also for the rest of the world, said Australia’s former prime minister Kevin Rudd. “What you’ve managed to do here since the Treaty of Rome is fantastic,” Rudd said. “Your voice is needed in the defence and expansion of the democracy project which is now in retreat globally.”
Migration and its impact on European society, economics and politics was a major theme. Speakers stressed the need to change to a positive narrative that counters the hostility towards migrants touted by nationalist politicians and to develop a common approach to migration and refugee issues. “It’s absolutely crucial that we manage to find a common response in the European Union, a common regulation, and all European Union member states must take their responsibility to create a good welcome and an integration plan for refugees,” said Ylva Johansson, Swedish Minister of Employment and Integration.
Europe also needs a stronger policy to frame cooperation with nations in the Middle East on the frontline of the refugee crisis, stated Jordan’s HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal, Chairman of the WANA Institute. “The Europeans have the choice, if they are going to formulate … a policy as opposed to responding only to politics, to begin to consider what good neighbourhood really mean.”
The impact of social media on the democratic process was another key theme. Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, pointed out that the problem of “fake news” is not limited to social media. “Look at Brexit,” De Croo said. “Some people say it was linked to Facebook, but I think the problem is the tabloids, which came way before social media.”
The event ended with a series of table discussions led by senior decision-makers and European Young Leaders, in which participants generated proposals to adapt the future financing and investment framework of the European Union to a post-Brexit context.
Mario Monti, Prime Minister of Italy from 2011-2013 and Trustee of Friends of Europe, said the current system of seven-year financial frameworks for EU budget allocation risked being overtaken by events. He pointed to major changes since the 2013-2020 framework was adopted.
“The EU relative to 2013 is more isolated and more threatened, and we remain as almost the only standard bearer of certain European values that used to be brought along strongly also from the US side,” Monti concluded.
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It’s democracy, but not as we know it. People power is changing the rules of politics, economics, society and global relations.
Moods and attitudes shape political debates: frustration with the established order; a sense of loss of control or of being left behind. Technology amplifies these feelings, underpinning new movements and leaders that shake the old order.
The results can be unsettling: facts dismissed; hard-won rights threatened; deals and threats replacing negotiations and diplomacy.
But opportunities abound too: the chance to bring more people into the democratic process; to shake up sclerotic institutions; to use automation and robotics to change rather than replace jobs, and to relaunch Europe’s economy.
This year’s State of Europe roundtable is focused on how people are rewriting the rules of politics. How does Europe turn an age of uncertainty into an age of opportunity?
Welcoming remarks by
Managing Director at New Horizons Project
Table 1 - Afghanistan
Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights (AIHR) and Afghan Minister of Women’s Affairs (2001-2003)
Table 2 - Libya
Journalist and analyst specialising in the Euro-Mediterranean region with a particular focus on Libya, European Young Leader Alumna
Table 3 - South Sudan
Africa Correspondent, The Wall Street Journal, 2017 European Young Leader
Table 4 - Syria
Professor at SciencesPo Paris and Senior Fellow at the Vienna Center for Disarmament & Non-Proliferation
Table 5 - Ukraine
Executive Director of the Integration and Development Center for Information and Research, Ukraine
Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company and Director at the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI)
Populist politicians have eroded support for the EU and prised votes away from Europe’s centre-right and centre-left. These politicians – often working across borders as a ‘Populists International’, with similar themes and approaches – offer simplistic solutions to globalisation’s challenges and reflect dissatisfaction with mainstream parties.
This session will look at how Europe moves past its political and leadership crisis and ask whether populism can be harnessed to create a genuinely different kind of politics at national and European level – one that has popular support, input and trust – and so improve people’s lives. The 2019 European elections will see the children of the 21st century voting for the first time: can we rethink Europe to match the expectations of this new generation?
We will ask innovative thinkers to pitch their ‘wild ideas’ for a more citizen-focused Europe, going beyond the options set out in the Commission’s white paper on the future of Europe.
President of Friends of Europe, Belgian Minister of State and former vice-president of the European Commission
Co-Chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), former Swedish minister for foreign affairs and former Swedish prime minister
Caroline de Gruyter
Author and EU Correspondent at NRC Handelsblad
Founder & Director of the European Democracy Lab and Author of “Why Europe must become a republic”
Chairman of the Supervisory Board, RSJ Algorithmic Trading, 2013 European Young Leader
Director of Insights at Friends of Europe
PARALLEL SESSION I
Democracy in the digital age
The paper ballots still used in most elections around Europe symbolise a refusal to rethink our democracy. Many of our democratic practices are stuck in the era of the first or second industrial revolutions while the world moves into the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Digital technologies are changing politics. They are giving – for good and ill – a platform to those who were often ignored, including activists, citizen journalists and extremists. They are also hastening the fragmentation of the predominantly left-right political spectrum, already weakened by changes in society and the economy.
We will debate the implications of digital for democracy in Europe. Do online platforms such as Debating Europe offer lessons for the development of online democracy, and for reducing the voting age? What can be done to counter the rise of ‘fake news’ and hacking? And can we channel the positive elements of ‘people power’ online but prevent the rise of demagogues?
Alexander De Croo
Prime Minister of Belgium
Founder of Voting Counts
Estonian Deputy Minister for European Affairs
Director of Insights at Friends of Europe
PARALLEL SESSION II
Global leadership and governance: Harnessing unusual suspects to define a new world order
Brexit, Trump and populist movements around the world are shaking the post-war consensus. Institutions such as the European Union, NATO and the World Trade Organization were built by earlier political generations. They now have less currency and importance for many leaders and the public, as well as for emerging powers like China which is developing new multilateral organisations.
Is this just a sign of the times – a consequence of economic and social difficulties? Or are we seeing a more fundamental shift from openness to protectionism, from diplomacy to deal-making, from multilateralism to bilateralism and even nationalism?
This session looks at whether multilateralism still has a place in the 21st century – and if so, how we reshape, rebuild or even replace the current framework of institutions, making them fit to address such global issues as Artificial Intelligence, robotisation and increasing inequality within and between nations?
Columnist, Leader Writer & Foreign Affairs Commentator for the Guardian
President of the Asian Society Policy Institute (ASPI) and Prime Minister of Australia (2007-2010, 2013)
UN Under Secretary-General & Executive Director of UN Environment
HIGH-LEVEL MEETING ON MIGRATION (by invitation)
Towards the global compacts on migration and refugees
This high-level meeting on the sidelines of State of Europe gathers a select number of leading stakeholders under the chairmanship of HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, Chairman of the West Asia and North Africa (WANA) Institute. As the international community works to formulate and agree upon two global compacts on migration and refugees, this “brainstorm” will allow for a frank dialogue with the aim of forging a shared and agreed sense of how a multi-stakeholder perspective and approach can make meaningful inroads to this complex, unpredictable issue underscored by both politics and geopolitics.
Founder and Chairman, Friends of Europe
IDEA SHARING I
Artificial intelligence: Shaping the politics and economics of tomorrow
AI Pioneer and Professor of Computer Science at the University of California
IDEA SHARING II
Bringing back the ‘left behinds’: Is a universal income the way ahead?
Philippe Van Parijs
Political Philosopher and Political Economist
PARALLEL SESSION III
The future of work: Jobs, education and welfare in the new era
Inequality remains the scourge of our era. The bargaining power of the low- and middle-skilled workers has been severely undermined by automation, overseas competition and weaker trade unions. Zero-hour contracts, the gig economy and other precarious forms of work mean that many people experience constant stress. The ‘Future of Work’ may well prove to be the greatest challenge yet to the European project: the information age is not only transforming jobs but polarising societies and creating social tensions that encourage populism.
Europe needs to rise to the challenge to create the environment for new types of jobs, and make the most of the opportunities of the 4th Industrial Revolution, such as AI and automation. Given the link between employment and health, how do we strengthen resilience in a future with fewer jobs? How could education and training structures be adapted to ensure that the benefits of digitalisation are evenly spread? Should we be thinking of ‘skills security’ rather than ‘job security’ (and how do we explain the difference)? Should social security and economic policies be reformed? And what roles should be played by national governments and by the EU through its long-term budget?
Carl Benedikt Frey
Co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Technology and Employment
Director for EU Public Policy and Government Relations at Google
Deputy High Court Judge and Co-Chair of the Future of Work Commission
Director of Insights at Friends of Europe
PARALLEL SESSION IV
The changing face of Europe: How migration and local development policies can bridge electoral divides
Europe’s post-industrial service-based economy is throwing longstanding trends and loyalties into question. The support that mainstream political parties relied on from rural or manufacturing regions is shifting to the far-left and right. Populism is also being fuelled by concerns over immigration, even though an ageing Europe badly needs new manpower and a growing number of employers are taking migrants onto their payroll.
What priority should be given to integration of migrants and their children? How do we ensure that local development and infrastructure support designed to give opportunities to migrants doesn’t place excessive pressure on scarce capacity and alienate long-term residents? How do we change the narrative on migration at a time Europe needs new blood to fuel its economies and to contribute taxes to EU countries’ social support mechanisms?
HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal
Chairman of the WANA Institute
European Commissioner for Home Affairs
Deputy Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Managing Director at New Horizons Project
The future financing of the European Union is a hot topic, with the European Commission’s High-Level Group on Own Resources publishing new budget recommendations. In a post-Brexit environment, the EU budget will be smaller so tough choices will have to be made. Now is the time to decide how we should invest and what financial choices should be made.
As Europe faces up to the big challenges like climate change, demographics, digitisation and security, what should scarce EU funds be spent on and what should be left to member states? More than half of welfare and social spending worldwide is within the EU, but can we afford to continue this?
The session features parallel table discussions with top-level decision-makers on how to balance the needs of Europe. If we were to design the Multiannual Financial Framework to reflect the chief demands of EU citizens, what would it look like? How better could EU spending improve the daily lives of Europe’s citizens?
Italian Senator for life, Chair of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development, former prime minister, former European commissioner and Trustee of Friends of Europe
Table 1 - Developing sustainability for people and the planet
Professor of Economic Statistics at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Co-chair of the UN Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development, and Italian Minister of Labour and Social Policies (2013-2014)
Founder and President of Women’s WorldWide Web and European Young Leader
Table 2 - Removing barriers to innovation and entrepreneurship
CEO of Beats Medical, 2017 European Young Leader
Head of Cabinet to EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas
Table 3 - Making food and agriculture policy work
Director-General at the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture
European Commission Director-General for Agriculture and Rural Development
Table 4 - Delivering a safe and secure Europe
Director of JEDI, former special advisor to the French Minister of Defence, Founder of ACAPITAL, 2013 European Young Leader
Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence at Friends of Europe and Contributing Editor to Politico
Table 5 - Moving towards a fair, inclusive and cohesive growth
Silvia Console Battilana
Co-Founder & CEO of Auctionomics, 2017 European Young Leader
European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, former Luxembourg minister for labour, employment, and the social and solidarity economy
Table 6 - Tackling growing health challenges
Co-Founder of Transplants without Donors, 2017 European Young Leader
Xavier Prats Monné
Special Advisor of Teach For All, former European Commission Director-General for Health and Food Security
Senior Fellow for Health at Friends of Europe
Ideas on these topics will feed into a wider discussion in which representatives of each table debate policy choices and political challenges. These will examine how we design a budget that delivers for Europeans, providing effective government and a desirable and sustainable future.
President of Friends of Europe, Belgian Minister of State and former vice-president of the European Commission
Eleni has been working on artificial organ technology and regenerative medicine in hospitals across the world. After graduating in biomedicine, she participated in the first successful artificial trachea transplant operation on a late-stage cancer patient. She is also the co-founder of the London-based start-up Transplants without Donors, which aims to develop tissue-engineered organs that are transplanted into sick patients. Eleni also trained NASA astronauts in biomedical experimentation for the International Space Station (ISS).
Iryna is a Ukrainian civic activist and political expert with more than 15 years of research and teaching experience in identity-based conflicts. Originally from Crimea, she was an outspoken critic of Russian annexation and fled the region to avoid arrest, taking refuge in Kiev. She currently runs the Integration and Development Center for Information and Research, a non-governmental organisation, which focuses on training government officials and journalists in diversity management, on misconceptions and on stereotypes.
Jacques is a senior partner at McKinsey and a director of the McKinsey Global Institute, the firm’s business and economics research arm, and one of its three global co-leaders. Since joining the firm, he has worked with media, telecom, online services, healthcare, fin-tech, travel and logistics companies on a variety of issues. He is also the co-author of numerous reports on the Internet of Things, big data and social technologies, including “Digital Europe: Realizing the continent’s potential”. He is a fellow of the Aspen Institute, ECORE, and KUL University.
Ciara is a chartered physiotherapist and experienced researcher passionately dedicated to improving the management and treatment of people with neurological conditions. At the age of 22, she launched Beats Medical, a medical application available on smartphones, which aims to help people with Parkinson’s disease take control of their condition through technology. Ciara received the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists Anne O’Brien Prize for Clinical Excellence and the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award.
Silvia is a young economist and entrepreneur specialising in game theory and interest groups. She has extensive experience as a strategist in auction design. In 2008, she co-founded Auctionomics, a high-stakes auction consulting and software firm with clients ranging from governments to Fortune 500 companies. Silvia has acted as project manager on several high-stakes auctions in Australia, Canada, and the United States, in many European countries, and in Africa and Latin America. She is also the co-founder of xSwan, an interactive version of eBay that allows charities to raise more money via online auctions. Silvia frequently speaks at major universities both in the United States (including Berkeley and Harvard) and around the world.
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.
Alexander de Croo is a Flemish liberal politician, economist and businessman who leads the Belgian government’s efforts to improve digital growth and development. Most notably, he initiated the establishment of an advisory board called “Digital Minds for Belgium”, made up of the country’s top ICT experts, and launched an ambitious action plan “Digital Belgium”, aimed at positioning the country as one of Europe’s top three digital member states. This digital revolution includes developing 1,000 new start-ups, creating 50,000 new jobs, and achieving an electronic government by 2020.
Caroline de Gruyter is a well-known European affairs correspondent for the leading Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, currently based in Oslo. She is a regular commentator on the rise of populism, the use of the Internet in counter anti-immigrant and Eurosceptic messages on what the EU and its member states can do to create a greater sense of unity. An author of several books on Europe, she has been awarded three prestigious Dutch prizes and the Prix du Mérite Européen for political reporting of exceptional quality.
His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal has dedicated his life to promoting intercultural dialogue and regional cooperation. He has initiated, founded and is actively involved in around 20 prominent Jordanian and international committees and institutes, and served as a member of the Informal Advisory Group to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In 1981, HRH proposed the establishment of the New International Humanitarian Order, which led to a request by the Secretary-General to found and co-chair the Independent Commission on International Humanitarian Issues (ICIHI).
Rachael set up the Voting Counts website in 2014 to provide unbiased information on British political parties to potential young voters. The site aims to serve as a resource for users wishing to compare the policies of different parties, thus allowing young people to feel sufficiently informed to become involved in the democratic process. Through Voting Counts, Rachael has been able to contribute to the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy in the UK Parliament and consultations on the General Certificate of Secondary Education and A-Level reforms with the Department for Education.
Mary is a journalist and analyst specialising in the Euro-Mediterranean region with a particular focus on Libya. She has worked on Libya since 2011 and lived there throughout 2014. Her work has appeared in publications including the Economist, Foreign Policy, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the Financial Times and the Guardian. She has conducted research on Libya for the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMED) among others. She is a contributing author to an edited volume on the Libyan revolution published by Oxford University Press. In her previous role as Irish Times foreign affairs correspondent, she reported from 40 countries across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. She is a member of the Global Women’s Forum ‘Rising Talents’ network.
Carl Benedikt’s academic research focuses on the transition of industrial nations to digital economies and the challenges for economic growth, labour markets and urban development that ensue. He is also widely engaged in advisory, media and policy activities related to these topics. Carl Benedikt has provided his expertise to governments and international organisations, working with the Digitalisation Commission of the Swedish Government, the Digital Skills Select Committee at the UK House of Lords, the OECD and UN agencies.
Enrico currently serves as the director of the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development aimed at increasing awareness on the importance of pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals. He has previously acted as Minister of Labour and Social Policies and has chaired the UN Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development. He also designed the Global Project on the ‘Measurement of Progress in Society‘, which fostered the development of numerous worldwide initiatives on the issue of moving beyond GDP.
Ulrike is the founder and director of the European Democracy Lab, a think tank dedicated to the future of European democracy, which emphasises the European common good and the transnationalism of all European policy beyond the nation state. Ulrike is also professor of European policy and the study of democracy at Danube University Krems. She is also a regular commentator and writer on European and transatlantic affairs and author of “Why Europe must become a republic: A political utopia”.
Karel is a Czech anti-corruption activist, mathematician and social-reformer, who is using his skills to rethink how democracy functions. Following a series of corruption scandals in 2013 that threatened to bring down the Czech government, Karel engaged in a number of initiatives aimed at improving governmental accountability through citizen action and electoral reform. One of these is Democracy 2.1 (D21), primarily based on the possibility to vote against a candidate. This concept is currently used by the cities of Prague and New York, and was also tested by the UK National Health Service (NHS).
German’s long career at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has earned him a reputation as a seasoned expert in the areas of consumer protection, food, and sustainable agriculture. German is currently in charge of dealing with EU policy, fisheries and international cooperation. In this capacity, he oversees the German fisheries sector, covering both the North and Baltic seas, and capacity building efforts in the respective partner countries aimed at simplifying international cooperation in the agri-food sector.
Ylva Johansson was appointed European Commissioner for Home Affairs in December 2019, taking up the position following years of service in the Swedish government. Having most recently served as Swedish Minister for Employment and Integration from 2014-2019, she previously held positions as Minister for Health and Elderly Care and Minister for Schools. A former teacher, Johansson has also served as a Member of the Swedish Parliament.
Lie joined Google in November 2015 when she was appointed the new director of public policy and government relations in Brussels. She has more than twenty years of European and international public affairs experience. Before Google, Lie led government affairs in EMEA for Goodyear Dunlop from 2008 and also managed corporate communications. Previously, she was senior vice-president of government relations for ABN Amro Bank and worked in the government affairs team of General Motors Europe.
Angela is a world-renowned expert on disarmament, negotiations, peace operations and political relations. She served as the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs where she took a leading role in delivering the UN’s multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation agendas. In this position, Angela was responsible for conducting, negotiating and planning the ground-breaking investigation of alleged chemical weapons use in Syria in 2013, which resulted in Syria joining the Chemical Weapons Convention and dismantling its chemical weapons stock.
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.
Matti has been heavily involved in effectively implementing the aims of the Estonian Presidency of the EU, the priorities of which include encouraging technological progress, from ensuring the availability and quality of electronic communications to developing cross-border e-commerce as well as digital public services. In addition, Matti works on implementing the Estonian Presidency’s initiatives in the field of migration, security and the EU neighbourhood policy, including fulfilling the objectives of the Eastern Partnership.
In his new role as chair of the newly-formed WHO Europe Commission, Mario Monti spearheads attempts to rethink health policy priorities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 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. He 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.
A versatile practitioner with a wide-ranging and successful legal career, Helen currently serves as barrister and mediator at Matrix Chambers. With a breadth of knowledge on equality and human rights, she has sat on the panel of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and served as a member of the Council of Justice. One of her current roles includes co-chairing the Future of Work Commission aimed at understanding the implications of new technology on work and make recommendations on the most pressing challenges and opportunities of the future.
Lindsey is Founder and CEO of a web-based philanthropy platform, Women’s Worldwide Web, dedicated to connecting and empowering girls and women around the world through education, microfinance, mentoring and networking. She also works for Enfants d’Asie, a humanitarian NGO that provides care for over 10,000 children in South-East Asia. In 2009 she won the Independent MBA Student of the Year Award that recognises exceptional MBA students with a talent for leadership.
Prior to assuming her current position, well-known foreign affairs commentator Natalie served as managing editor and executive director of the flagship French newspaper Le Monde. She has become a prominent voice in the French media through her coverage of Russian politics, ranging from the USSR dissolution and civil wars in Chechnya to Putin’s Russia, for which she has received two major French journalism awards. Natalie is also a regular commentator on the impact of Brexit and Trump’s policies on the EU.
Jerzy leads the Commission directorate responsible for the EU policy area of agriculture and rural development. He works specifically on managing and developing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), reinforcing rural development policy as its second pillar, and safeguarding the European model of agriculture. Prior to that, Jerzy held a series of posts in the Polish Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the National Bank of Poland, and several universities. He was also chief negotiator of agricultural affairs in the team negotiating Poland’s accession to the European Union.
Xavier is Special Advisor of Teach For All. He used to be responsible for EU policies and programmes in the field of health and food safety. With a goal of providing all EU citizens with equal access to quality healthcare while responding to their specific needs, Xavier has supported the adoption of efficiency boosting measures such as establishing 24 European Reference Networks (ERNs) for rare diseases. Before his current assignment, Xavier spent more than a decade in employment and education policy circles and served as European Commission Director-General for Education and Culture.
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.
Stuart is an award-winning computer scientist known for his contributions to artificial intelligence (AI). He has published over 150 papers and authored numerous books on a wide range of topics related to AI. Stuart’s co-authored book “Artificial Intelligence: A modern approach” has been translated into 13 languages and is used in more than 1,300 universities in 118 countries. Stuart also works for the UN, developing a new global seismic monitoring system for the Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.
Sima’s work on democracy and human rights has earned her international recognition and numerous prizes. She began her career as a medical doctor in Afghanistan before fleeing to Pakistan following the Russian invasion. There she treated refugee women and established the Shuhada Organization, which provides healthcare and education to girls and women. Returning to Afghanistan in 2002, Sima served as Minister of Women’s Affairs in the country’s interim administration, winning multiple rights for women in the realms of education and employment.
Nicolas was elected to the European Parliament in the latest elections and has been nominated to head the employment portfolio in the upcoming Commission. An economist by training, Nicolas has been in charge of Luxembourg’s labour and employment affairs since 2009. After a short stint in academia, he joined the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign Affairs and held a variety of positions, including Head of the Department of International Economic Relations and Cooperation, before moving onto a Cabinet role as Minister for Labour. Prior to joining the government, Nicolas’ final diplomatic posting was as Permanent Representative to the EU.
Erik has cemented his reputation as an international peacemaker and environmental advocate having served as Norway’s Minister of the Environment and International Development as well as holding key positions in numerous international organisations. During his ministerial tenure, he played a key-role in the Sri Lankan peace process and initiated the process leading to the global coalition to conserve and promote sustainable use of the world’s rainforests. Erik has been named Champion of the Earth by UNEP and Hero of the Environment by TIME Magazine
Based in Nairobi, Matina covers economics and investment across Africa for the Wall Street Journal. She was previously based in Belgium, where she covered the eurozone crisis from the WSJ Brussels bureau. Before joining the WSJ, she wrote for the Economist, where she won the 2010 Marjorie Deane financial journalism award. Matina is particularly interested in migration-related issues in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. In 2015, she was one of the few foreign journalists reporting from Eritrea as part of an exclusive investigation into Eritrean refugees. She has written for other top media outlets such as Eleftherotypia and the Guardian and has appeared as a political commentator on European and Greek affairs on Al Jazeera English and the BBC.
Paul is a Senior Fellow at Friends of Europe and the author of Friends of Europe’s European Defence Cooperation report series. A Paris-based journalist, he also writes the “Europe at Large” column for Politico. He previously spent four decades working for Reuters as a foreign correspondent in Paris, Tehran, Bonn and Brussels, as bureau chief in Israel/Palestine, Berlin and Brussels, as chief correspondent in France, as diplomatic editor in London, and finally as European affairs editor. His assignments have included covering the Iranian revolution, the Cold War Euromissile crisis, the 1991 Gulf War, German reunification, the Maastricht summit, France in the 1990s, EU enlargement, the Eurozone crisis and the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt.
Laura has more than 20 years of experience in diplomacy, humanitarian affairs and multilateral negotiation. She has provided leadership across the fields of human rights, migration, refugees and the environment. In her current role, Laura has led the implementation of a worldwide structural reform to consolidate the IOM’s growth and expansion. Prior to joining IOM, Laura was the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations.
Philippe is a leading Belgian philosopher and one of the world’s most outspoken advocates of the universal basic income concept. He is also a co-founder of the Basic Income Earth Network, which links academics and activists interested in the idea of a universal basic income. In addition, Philippe sits on the editorial boards of various international journals, has held numerous professor positions in prestigious universities across the world, and has (co-)authored a dozen books, including “Basic income: A radical proposal for a free society and a sane economy”.
António is in charge of policy coordination and strategy within the cabinet of the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation. Prior to that, he served as Chief of Staff of the Secretary of State to the Prime Minister of Portugal, monitoring the Portuguese adjustment programme and serving as the dedicated interface with the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund. António has also been a regular contributor to the Economist Intelligence Unit, writing monthly reports on Portugal’s political and economic situation from 2006 to 2011.
- Area of Expertise
- Peace, Security & Defence
- Frankly Speaking
- By Dharmendra Kanani
- Europe's World
- By Giampaolo Silvestri
- Area of Expertise
- Citizens' Europe