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STATE OF EUROPE | People Power Change – Democracy for a new era

Institutional and Political Issues
Date: Thursday, 12 October 2017 08:00 - 18:00

Venue: Contact Organizer for location details


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?


08.00 – 09.30 Registration of participants

08.30 – 09.20 BREAKFAST MASTERCLASS – War and Peace: Learning from conflicts and peace talks

The continuing conflicts in Libya, Afghanistan and Syria have highlighted Europe’s inability to act collectively to shape global events. Against this backdrop, is a European ‘defence union’, capable of speedily projecting force, a realistic prospect?

This set of six masterclasses will look at some of Europe’s biggest foreign policy challenges, seeking to learn both from conflicts and their resolution. It asks, with the help of senior experts, whether and how Europe can assert itself globally and build a safer world.

The areas covered include Afghanistan, Colombia, Libya, South Sudan, Syria and Ukraine.


09.30 – 09.45 Idea sharing 1

09.45 – 11.15 PLENARY SESSION – Populism and the politics of pan-Europeanism

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 improves people’s lives. The 2019 European elections see the children of the 21st century voting for the first time: can we rethink Europe to match the expectations of a new generation?

In a ‘Dragons Den’-style format, 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. Our panel of senior political leaders, as well as the State of Europe audience, will assess their feasibility.


11.15 – 11.45 Coffee break

11.45 – 12.00 Idea sharing 2

12.00 – 13.30 PARALLEL SESSIONS – Shaking up Europe, shaking up the world

13.30 – 14.30 Lunch

14.30 – 14.45 Idea sharing 3

14.45 – 16.15 PARALLEL SESSIONS – Divide and rule? Addressing the deep rifts that threaten Europe’s future


‘In case you missed it’ – a series of small table discussions with 10 to 12 people on some of the major issues covered by Friends of Europe over the last twelve months. Each discussion will be launched by the author of a Friends of Europe report, or another key personality.

1. EU-Africa Relations: Strategies for a Renewed Partnership
with Kirsty Hughes, Associate Fellow at Friends of Europe

2. Crunch Time: France and the Future of European Defence
with Paul Taylor, Contributing Editor at Politico

3. Slippery Slope: Brexit and Europe’s Troubled Future
with Giles Merritt, Founder and Chairman of Friends of Europe

4. Disruptive models of healthcare for Europe
with Tamsin Rose, Senior Fellow at Friends of Europe

5. Cities: The New Policy Shapers in the Energy Transition

6. Asia
with Shada Islam, Director of Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe



Throughout the day, our guests at State of Europe will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in novel ways of thinking thanks to a series of short presentations on new ideas, such as:

  • How can we transform Europe into a resource-efficient, green and decarbonised continent?
  • Bringing back the ‘left behinds’: Is a universal income the way ahead?
  • What are the opportunities provided by autonomous vehicles, robots and learning machines?
  • Data-driven innovation: A strategic road for Europe?
  • Reaching biotechnology holy grails: Creating organs in labs?






All Dates

  • Thursday, 12 October 2017 08:00 - 18:00

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Brussels Special Venues - BSV
Planning an event in Brussels? Don't miss out on our exclusive event locations