Home The EU: Sailing in a raging storm with no navigation equipment

GEAB 109

The monthly bulletin of LEAP (European Laboratory of Political Anticipation) - 15 Nov 2016

The EU: Sailing in a raging storm with no navigation equipment

The editorial GEAB team decided to share, exceptionally, with its readers an excerpt of the as yet unpublished document entitled “Community or Empire”; a book written by Franck Biancheri in 1992. This excerpt evokes the importance for the EU’s endowing with a forecasting capacity to adapt its governance to the challenges of its reopening to the world; a most needed move after thirty years of laboratory development, sheltered between the “Soviet Iron Curtain and the American Umbrella”.

The reason we chose to present this text to you, is that 25 years after its drafting, we discover the same negligence when it comes to EU foreseeing, while the same strategic recommendations can still be made. The only thing one needs to do is to replace “fall of the wall”, “Yugoslav war” and “Czechoslovakian breakup” with “Ukrainian crisis”, “migratory crisis”, “Brexit” and “populist Wave” and the image is there: the EU is still unable to anticipate whatever is ahead of it.

As we were reading this text, we investigated about what the European Commission currently has in terms of forward studies bodies. The reality is worse than we thought: not only has the Commission not made any progress in this area, but it has even taken backward steps. Indeed the Forward Studies Unit, which was set up in 1989 (mentioned in the text as well), has been renamed the “Group of Policy Advisers” (GOPA) in 2000 under Prodi; then it changed into the “European Political Strategy Centre” under Juncker in 2014. In both cases, the notion of future – and therefore anticipation – has been erased. In the best of cases, they do “strategy” like bad army generals who believe that using force is better than understanding the battlefield. No wonder we stumbled over every obstacle which stood in our way, damaging us a little more with each new fumble. 

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