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A report for the European Parliamentary Research Service exploring the ways in which global trends will shape the world Europe will face to 2035.

The report considers eight economic, societal, and political global trends, namely an ageing population, fragile globalisation, a technological revolution, climate change, shifting power relations, new areas of state competition, politics of the information age and ecological threats.

We examined how these trends may affect some of the fundamental assumptions of the international system and consider four scenarios based on two factors: an unstable or stable Europe and world. It concludes with policy options for the EU to address the challenges created by these trends.

Key findings:

  • With the rise of new global powers, European states may find their influence diluted, or worse, be disenfranchised as a new global order emerges. At a regional level Europe will face instability on its southern borders as a result of economic, demographic and climatic trends; while in the east a declining Russia risks a series of regional conflicts.
  • Demographics and migration will be critical political issues for the continent. If Europe is to maintain its standard of living as its population ages, it will require increased, and better managed migration.
  • To remain competitive on the global stage, Europe will have to harness the power of new technologies, particularly artificial intelligence. More also needs to be done to develop clusters of industries, somewhat undermining the current consensus of striving for balanced economic growth across the union. As the structure of economies changes, political parties will struggle to serve rapidly changing political coalitions, opening up the possibility for populism or political disorder.

Oxford Analytica leveraged its global expert network to bring together specialist insights from a variety of fields, combining them to provide a truly global understanding of what Europe will confront in the next two decades. Using scenario planning and trend analysis, we produced a 100-page report which was presented to officials from European institutions.

The research will help the European Union as it plans for the future in an uncertain world and region.

Next steps

Global Trends To 2035

The Client

The study was produced for the Global Trends Unit of the Directorate for Impact Assessment and European Added Value, within the Directorate General for Parliamentary Research Services (DG EPRS) of the General Secretariat of the European Parliament.

Read the Report