From the Luxembourg Compromise to Brexit - The crisis of the EU’s institutional architecture: In light of the debates regarding the perceived democratic deficit of the EU institutions, the Spitzenkandidat process and a Multi-speed Europe with different level of integration among its Member States, how can the EU reform its institutional framework whilst protecting its Member States’ interests and fueling democratic participation?
Towards a new culture of remembrance: Facing the shades of our past. Several European countries promote the positive aspects of their history without acknowledging their most critical legacies. Since this sanitisation of the past has detrimental impacts on society at large, how best can the culture and education sector adapt to reverse the trend? What concrete steps can be taken at both European and national level to improve public recognition of those who have suffered from oppression, colonisation and crimes against humanity?
From post-colonial policies to strategic partnership: A Marshall Plan for Africa? As Africa is home to the world’s fastest-growing economie and largest population growth rates, it is becoming an increasingly important actor in the ever-changing global geopolitical landscape. In the face of growing migration pressures from Africa, ongoing immigration concerns within Europe and increasing Chinese presence, what role should the EU development policy and governmental international aid programmes play in shaping the future euro-african relations?
Tax evasion and tax avoidance: The unsolved issues of Europe’s fiscal policies. The Panama papers and Luxleaks scandals have revealed that large networks of individuals and businesses utilise loopholes in financial markets’ regulations to lower their tax contributions and shield their capital offshore. With tax avoidance and evasion costing billions to European countries each year, what steps should be taken to ensure a fairer and more effective taxation while respecting the diversity of political stances taken by national governments on the issue?
The Fourth Industrial revolution: Doom or boon scenario? While bringing many benefits, ongoing automation and digital transformations are estimated to cause the transformation of up to 45% of the European workplaces in future decades. What measures should be taken to ensure that current and future workers acquire and retain the skills to remain relevant in a rapidly changing economy? How best should labour conditions be adapted to this new scenario?
Climate change and demographic growth in least developed countries: An explosive combination? Climate change has already had observable effects on the environment, and its impact is particularly harmful to economically least developed countries whose populations are projected to increase substantially. Given Europe’s historic contribution to global warming, what measures should be taken to ensure climate justice and preserve living conditions in least developed countries?
Healthy by design: The new frontier of medicine. With the first human trials using CRISPR on cancer patients underway, there has been growing concern regarding the future of gene modification as an effective treatment and prevention tool. How can the integrity of patients be safeguarded, whilst realising the potential of precision medicine?
Online service providers and users’ data: Consumers becoming the product? Collection of consumer data in exchange for online services has become a regular part of many business models. While specific provisions have been adopted at the EU level to protect personal information (e.g. GDPR), the practice of mass data collection remains unchanged. What further steps should be taken to protect consumers’ right to their data, while minimising the financial impact on companies and their stakeholders?
The New Silk Road: A pathway to development or a geopolitical threat? While China's Belt and Road Initiative aims to connect and integrate Asian, African and European economies, critics perceive the move as a way to foster Chinese hegemony and irreversibly shift the balance of power. How can Europe seize the initiative’s benefits without sacrificing strategic interests, environmental sustainability and workers’ rights?
Technological innovation in the energy sector: Transitioning towards a sustainable Europe. With the transformation within Europe’s energy systems from conventional to renewable power potentially taking decades, investments in research and development are key to facilitating and expediting the process. What steps should be taken to promote innovation and provide the best conditions for this transition to occur?
The rise of big data and the danger of a surveillance state: Balancing between safety and privacy. Although big data is used for the development of knowledge and scientific progress, there are many examples in history of its misuse by the public sector. Given that potential violations of privacy by government agencies are becoming easier with the ongoing digitalisation of services, how can the EU ensure the responsible use of big data within Member States?
The rise of illiberal democracies: Defending civil liberties at a time of crisis of the Western model. Over the past decade, some populist governments have been thwarting the democratic order by undercutting the division of powers, neutralising the judicial systems and actively engaging in propaganda. What steps should be taken to protect citizens’ rights, thus living up to the Council of Europe’s fundamental values.
Asylum seekers and reception standards: Safeguarding human rights in an increasingly hostile continent. Despite European-level legislation addressing asylum seekers' right to healthcare, in reality their access to it is hindered by practical obstacles such as language barriers and improper reception facilities. What measures should be taken by Member States to safeguard the physical and mental health care needs of asylum seekers following their arrival in the EU?
The scars of deindustrialisation in Europe’s landscape: Bringing former industrial sites to a new life. With the European Commission's New Industrial Policy Strategy aiming to empower European industries, how can the social, economic and environmental challenges of deindustrialisation be addressed throughout Europe? What measures should the EU and local authorities take in order to secure the sustainable development of former industrial sites?
From the Pleven Plan to the 2016 EU Global Strategy: A new role for European Defence. With the changing nature of foreign threats close to Europe’s borders as well as violent conflicts globally, new forms of defensive cooperation are required. What role should the Member States’ armed forces play? What should the extent of military cooperation at the EU level be in the future?