ESPAS Ideas Papers


European Economic and Social Committee:
The impact of green and digital transitions on the role of the EU organised civil society: Scenarios of EU civil society in 2050

This paper aims to reflect on, and trigger further reflection on, the role that organised civil society could play in 2050 through a set of different scenarios drafted on the basis of the following questions:

  • How could the digital and green transitions impact the role of civil society organisations in society?
  • What impact could the twin transition have on our society and how will it affect citizens' relationships with and participation in CSOs?
  • How can the negative developments presented in the three scenarios be avoided?
  • What role can CSOs play in implementing the twin transition based on the proposed scenarios?

By answering the questions above, the paper serves as a starting point for discussions on this topic. Specifically, this paper will help foresight practitioners, policy-makers and civil society organisations in general consider the possible impacts the twin transition could have and avoid the worst-case scenarios.

Digital Cohesion

Given the crucial importance of digitalisation for the short, medium- and long-term future of the European Union, digital divides can jeopardise the achievement of the targets of the EU's Digital Decade, which have been set until 2030.

A key question is therefore how to address the digital divides in the context of relevant long-term developments, and with a view to global trends such as demographic change, urbanisation or the changing nature of work, well until 2040 or 2050. This ESPAS ideas paper focuses on exploring the possible development of a range of parameters for the coming decades.

In this respect, it looks beyond scenarios within the EU, to take into account geostrategic and global trends on several dimensions.

Global Semiconductor Trends and the Future of EU Chip Capabilities

The semiconductor supply shortages that emerged during the pandemic are unlikely to dissolve soon as huge amounts of capital and knowledge are needed to ramp up production.

Investment in innovation remains key and European research remains a driving force in the progressive miniaturisation of increasingly advanced and efficient chips.

The insights shared by policy experts for this paper allow us to imagine four potential futures for EU semiconductor interests towards the end of this decade.

Their expectations, hopes, fears and geopolitical insights here shape the potential continuity, rise, decline and collapse of EU semiconductor capabilities and supply security by 2030, as well as key policy questions to consider.

Geopolitics of Health

Public health is becoming increasingly globalised. Especially since the Covid-19 pandemic, health has become a central topic on the geopolitical stage, and has increasingly become interlinked and interconnected across the EU policy ecosystem.

This paper examines the impacts of four key dimensions of the ‘geopolitics of health’ that have or could have an impact on the EU and current EU capabilities, focusing on issues relevant to external relations: for example trade and economics, climate and environment, migration, social issues, and security.

The aim of this paper is to provide a foundation for discussion on the changing nature of the EU’s approach to global health in light of developments of the last few years, as well as on how it can tackle challenges and seize opportunities that lie ahead for a healthier world of the future.


Through its growing influence in Western democracies, populism has become a significant political phenomenon that seeks to gain influence and ultimately assume political leadership.

It is important to understand the mechanisms and dynamics that are contributing to populism, particularly given that a more authoritarian strain of populism is gaining ground.

Populism can be seen as a symptom of democracy in retreat, but also as an instrument driving that retreat.

An added difficulty of defining populism is that populist methods and narratives are becoming increasingly mainstream.

Traditional politicians can easily be tempted by the allure of populist methods if they think they will bring them electoral advantage.

In addition to looking at key trends, this paper analyses four possible futures for populist movements and their impact on the European Union.

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