Programme   Think Pieces


ESPAS is an inter-institutional collaboration between the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of the EU, and the European External Action Service that monitors global trends and offers strategic foresight to the EU's decision-makers.

The 2016 Annual Conference is part of a three-year cycle which draws on the insights of the ESPAS report Global Trends to 2030: Can the EU Meet the Challenges Ahead?

The rolling programme of the conference covers two days. The first day will be hosted by the European Political Strategy Centre, the European Commission's in-house think tank, at its headquarters, the Berlaymont. The second day will take place on the premises of the European Parliament, hosted by the European Parliamentary Research Service.

Day 1 - Global Trends 2030: The Future of Society

  • When: Wednesday 16 November 2016; 9.00-19.00.
  • Where: European Commission, Berlaymont Building, 200 rue de la Loi, Brussels B-1049.
  • What: The first day of the conference will examine what divides and unites societies in the Digital Age, from the impact of new technologies on security and trust to the role of connectivity for inclusive and sustainable prosperity.

Day 2 - Global Trends 2030: The Future of Governance

  • When: Thursday 17 November 2016; 9.00-17.00.
  • Where: Library Reading Room, Altiero Spinelli Building, European Parliament, 60 rue Wiertz, Brussels B-1047.
  • What: The second day of the conference will focus on global trends affecting long-term policy planning, e-Democracy and urbanisation.

Confirmed speakers include:

Carlos Moedas
Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation
Julian King
European Commissioner for the Security Union
Pascal Lamy
President Emeritus, Jacques Delors Institute
Ann Mettler
Head, European Political Strategy Centre
Pawel Swieboda
Deputy Head, European Political Strategy Centre

Geoff Mulgan
Chief Executive, NESTA
Jeremy Heimans
Co-founder and CEO of
Bruce Stokes
Director of Global Economic Attitudes, Pew Research Center
Heather Grabbe
Director, Open Society European Policy Institute
Aaron Maniam
Director, Industry Division, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore

Peter Neumann
Head, International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, King's College London
Alan James
VP Worldwide Business Development, Hyperloop One
Shiraz Maher
Senior Fellow, Int'l Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, King's College London
Mehmet Kinaci
Strategic Analyst, Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate, NATO
Hans Peter Lankes
Managing Director, Corporate Strategy, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

Ramon Luis Valcárcel Siso
Vice-President of the European Parliament, former President, CoR
Angela Wilkinson
Strategic Foresight Counsellor, OECD, and co-author of Strategic Reframing.
Erik Swyngedouw
Professor of Geography at Manchester University
Marius Oosthuizen
Member of Faculty, Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Anja Kaspersen
Head of Strategic Engagement and New Technologies,
International Committee of the Red Cross

Benjamin Barber
Political Theorist and Founder of the Global Parliament of Mayors, Author
Joseph H. H. Weiler
New York University School of Law; former President, EUI
Jeanette Hofmann
Head of the Project Group 'The Internet Policy Field', Berlin Social Science Centre
Stefano Scarpetta
Director, Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, OECD
Brigid Laffan
Director and Professor at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute

Simon Schäfer
Founder and CEO, Factory
Enrico Giovannini
Professor of economic statistics, University of Rome Tor Vergata
Nik Gowing
Visiting Professor, School of Social Science and Public Policy, Kings College, London
Edgar Grande
Chair, Comparative Politics, University of Munich
Ibon Zugasti
Director of Prospektiker and Chairman of the Millennium Project Node Spain

Pierre Calame
Author, 'Democracy in Tatters'
and 'Essay on Oeconomy'
Stijn Hoorens
Associate Director, Head of Office, RAND
Pierre Bollinger
Head of Outreach, Partnerships and International Affairs, France Stratégie
Mary Kaldor
Professor of Global Governance,
London School of Economics
Klaus Welle

Mark Spelman
Co-Head, Future of the Internet Initiative, WEF
Michael Ignatieff
President and Rector, CEU, Budapest
Cinzia Alcidi
Head of Economic Policy Unit, CEPS
Matt Dann
Secretary-General, Bruegel
Jim Cloos
Deputy Director-General, Council of the European Union

Mairead McGuinness
MEP, Vice-President, European Parliament
Luis Planas
Secretary-General, EESC
Karl-Heinz Lambertz
First Vice-President, CoR
Jiří Buriánek
Secretary-General, European Committee of the Regions
James Elles
Honorary President of ESPAS, MEP 1984-2014
Christian Leffler
Deputy Secretary-General, European External Action Service


Conference-related enquiries may be addressed to