• Digital Europe 2030

    Three scenarios for the future

What is Digital Europe 2030?

In the run-up to the German EU Council Presidency 2020, Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft brought together an interdisciplinary group of experts to systematically design possible futures for Europe in a scenario process. During the Council Presidency, the resulting scenarios will be further discussed in transfer workshops with decision makers from business and politics with a view to developing strategic options for action in the present. The special focus of the project “Digital Europe 2030” lies on the fundamental transformation of the political sphere in the digital age. This is also considered in the context of Europe's digital sovereignty.

Why Digital Europe 2030?

At the beginning of the digital transformation, the unlimited availability of knowledge and information, as well as the possibility of transparency and participation, seemed to represent a great opportunity for Europe's free and open societies. Meanwhile, not only the opportunities are evident, but also considerable challenges.

Digital Europe 2030 focuses on the question of how the public sphere could or should develop under digital conditions by 2030 as a prerequisite for political decision-making and thus for the legitimation of democratic politics. This is no less than one of the basic requirements of European democracies.

How does Digital Europe 2030 work?

In a series of digital workshops during the spring and summer of 2020, we developed three visions of the future development of a political public sphere and of digital sovereignty in Europe up to 2030. To this end, we discussed various complex issues: How is the structural transformation of the public sphere in Europe proceeding? How do phenomena such as fragmentation and polarization develop in European societies? In the future, how will democracies deal with targeted interference in elections and with societal destabilisation through disinformation, which might also be driven by state actors? What margins for action will political agents in Europe have in the face of the rivalry between the digital superpowers and the power of large corporations? How can Europe be sovereign in this environment, i.e., how can it have the ability to act independently and in accordance with its own values and interests in the digital realm? By discussing these and other questions, we derived concrete recommendations for action in the present.

Three scenarios were developed in these workshops and can be downloaded here.

An interdisciplinary Sounding Board has accompanied the project in an advisory capacity in order to add to quality assurance and to help communicate the results wherever relevant.

Participants of the workshop series are:

  • Dr. Julia De Clerck-Sachsse, Senior Non-Resident Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States/University of Oxford
  • Georg Diez, Journalist and Author
  • Dr. Katharina Gnath, Senior Project Manager, Programm Europas Zukunft, Bertelsmann Stiftung
  • Elisabeth von Hammerstein, Programme Lead International Politics, Körber-Stiftung
  • Johannes Hillje, Political and Communications Consultant
  • Fabiola Hochkirchen, Managing Director, Auxxo Beteiligungen GmbH
  • Dr. Julian Jaursch, Project Lead „Stärkung digitaler Öffentlichkeit/Policy“, Stiftung Neue Verantwortung
  • Joachim Knodt, Personal Assistant to the Ambassador, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Moscow
  • Paul Leonhardt, Deputy Head of Department 607, German Federal Foreign Office
  • Constanze Maria Litt, Interinstitutional Coordinator, European Commission / DG Budget
  • Dr. Leonard Novy, Director, Institut für Medien- und Kommunikationspolitik
  • Clark Parsons, Managing Director, Internet Economy Foundation
  • Dr. Jana Puglierin, Head of Berlin Office & Senior Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations
  • Teresa Ritter, Head of Security Policy, Bitkom e.V.
  • Dr. Thorsten Thiel, Head of Research Group “Digitalisation and Democracy” Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society
  • Dr. Daniel Voelsen, Research Associate in the Research Unit "Global Issues", Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik.

Members of the Sounding Board are:

  • Natalie Amiri, Radio and Television Journalist, ARD
  • Olaf Böhnke, Berlin Director, Alliance of Democracies
  • Christoph Bornschein, Founder and CEO, TLGG
  • Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook, Executive Director, The Future of Diplomacy Project, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University
  • Maria Exner, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, ZEIT ONLINE

For further information please contact Samuel Walker.

Current activities "Europe"