Almost a year later, the EU has reached over 375 million vaccination doses and the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths are falling in many parts of Europe. Yet the five scenarios built by the study continue to be relevant:
Scenario 1: COVID-19 triggers fractures along societies’ most active fault lines?
Scenario 2: An open economy is the best solution?
Scenario 3: Settling into a ‘new normal’?
Scenario 4: The lost opportunity?
Scenario 5: A greener and fairer future?
The five scenarios can be used to assess the current situation (which scenario is unfolding?) and to prepare for unwanted developments (how can we stop something from happening and change the scenario?). The data from the experts predictions point out likely desirable and undesirable developments that policy can foster and accelerate or manage and mitigate.
Vice President for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight, Maroš Šefčovič, and Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, write in the study’s foreword: “Foresight teaches us that the future will happen, but we have a choice over what it is like, we can debate the choices and exercise the right ones for our future and the future of our children. The 2023 time horizon is relatively short for a foresight study, but the extent to which COVID 19 affected the world is such that it is justified to analyse possible near term scenarios, and to approach the near-term future cognisant of the responsibility that we have. We say that by 2023 we will have bounced back better, because it is our responsibility to do so. The other scenarios are there only to remind us of alternatives that we need to avoid”.
Strategic Foresight in the European Commission uses the expertise of Europe’s Research Community, including the Joint Research Centre, to strengthen the preparedness of EU institutions and policies for alternative future scenarios. It involves long-term broad horizon scanning studies and reflections on trends and disruptions, as well as more focused, near-term exercises aiming to use the multiple likely, plausible futures to create better policies. Foresight and future-oriented R&I are important in Horizon Europe, the new EU research and innovation programme.
Annex : data from the Delphi survey
- 7 Juli 2021
- Generaldirektoratet for Forskning og Innovation