State of Europe 2021: a new European Renaissance

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State of Europe 2021


The State of Europe high-level roundtable, now in its 18th edition, annually gathers 200+ influential figures from more than 40 countries to brainstorm on the future of Europe and to provide concrete recommendations on how to make Europe more relevant to its citizens.

As a forum for developing the exchange of ideas into recipes for action, it is second to none. We involve sitting and former (prime) ministers, CEOs, NGO leaders, European Commissioners, members of Parliaments, influencers, top journalists as well as youth, for a frank and open debate.

Friends of Europe’s trustees and European Young Leaders (EYL40), a solid pan-European network of up-and-coming leaders, including artists, writers and entrepreneurs, will also be in attendance. Our Debating Europe online community of 5 million users, will bring in the voice of citizens.

You can expect a wide array of sessions ranging from high-level plenaries, dedicated sessions with senior decisionmakers and intimate meetings with thinkers & doers. Circumstances allowing, the day-long event will be hybrid, allowing us to creatively share the exclusive experience of State of Europe with a broader audience across Europe and beyond.

From January to December 2021, the State of Europe will also be associated with a series of activities to develop ideas and foster exchanges on how to transform Europe. They include online debates with heavy-hitters, widely shared opinion pieces, and citizens’ debates.

This event is by invitation only.

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To find out how you can support the 2021 State of Europe roundtable

Natasha Ibbotson

Senior Manager Membership and Partnerships at Friends of Europe



State of Europe 2021: a new European Renaissance Expand State of Europe 2021: a new European Renaissance

2020 has been the most exceptional year in decades, taking the world by surprise but also offering a chance to rethink the world as we knew it. There is no going back to normal and that’s exciting.

The COVID-19 crisis has triggered the largest exercise of the social contract – perhaps ever – throughout the EU member states. Governments have made their best efforts to safeguard lives and livelihoods, massively overspending in social safety nets, while making the greatest use of taxpayers’ money, bailing out business and companies. By protecting employees, the private sector has also been both a conduit and an initiator of measures that are strengthening the social contract.

The good news is that the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that there is an innate ability within the system to act fast and solve problems. Now that we are exiting crisis mode, it’s time to ask ourselves some questions. How can we withstand significant public debt and how do we realign European economies to close the various widening inequality gaps? What infrastructure is needed to transform economies? How can we profit from sustainability and share growth in an equitable manner? Most fundamentally, how shall we design our future societies?

We aim to figure this out.

If Europe wants to pursue a more cohesive, bolder Union to address the current economic, environmental, social and technological challenges, it is paramount that we craft a new social contract built on trust, transparency and inclusion between its key actors: governments, business and citizens.

This year, we will discuss what a sustained and resilient growth looks like, how to realign economies, how to leverage the twin transition towards becoming more competitive while profiting from sustainability and sharing the dividends in an equitable manner. We will also touch upon on space, arts and culture, geopolitics and diplomacy, and the inequalities of opportunities.



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