CONCLAVE: Shaping a European 2040 Vision

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More than fifty high-level personalities gathered in the city of Cascais for a three-day discussion on what Europe and the European project should be by 2040. The Conclave was organised by EuropaNova and counted with the support of multiple organisations, including Re-Imagine Europa. 

The first edition of the “European Conclave”, a new annual strategic gathering, took place from November 24th to 26th, 2023, at the Presidential Palace of Cascais, in Portugal. Operated by EuropaNova and supported by multiple partners, including Re-Imagine Europa, the Conclave was held under the high patronage of the President of the Republic of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and with the support of the Portuguese Government.  

The initiative aimed to identify and analyse the main European geopolitical challenges that arise in different areas, at the horizon of 2040 and that are not yet part of European priorities or are insufficiently addressed. The Conclave marked a turning point in the strategic reflection on the future of Europe, aiming to prevent the recurrence of European inertia seen in the past, such as in 2014 with Ukraine or in 2019 with COVID, two crises that had been identified but did not lead to sufficiently concrete European policies. 

More than fifty leading European personalities, including prime ministers, thinkers, business entrepreneurs, and citizen participants in the conference on the future of Europe, engaged in an in-depth, transpartisan, cross-disciplinary reflection, with the aim of developing a report containing concrete and essential strategic proposals for Europe’s future. The debate was built on an outside-in evaluation of Europe’s position and its role in the world, made by representatives from countries across the world. 

Central to the Conclave was problem-solving; participants not only pinpointed critical issues but also evaluated existing solutions, aiming to formulate long-term strategic proposals that have until now been overlooked. The objective is to develop a strategic agenda focused on preserving Europe’s democratic integrity and its people’s common good, addressing essential imperatives for the future. To this end, the results of the Conclave will be published in a detailed report at the end of the year, aiming to contribute to the discussions ahead of the European elections in June 2024 and to shape the EU’s strategic agenda. 

Erika Staël von Holstein, Chief Executive of Re-Imagine Europa and member of the Conclave committee, highlighted that “during the Conclave, it was extremely clear that Europe indeed needs a new narrative. To safeguard the future of the European project, we must overcome our preconceived notions, start listening to the citizens’ concerns and put forward innovative solutions able to tackle the existing polarisation”. Among the dozen personalities that constitute the Conclave committee are Maria João Rodrigues, former Member of the European Parliament, FEPS President and Chairperson of RIE’s Advisory Board, António Vitorino, outgoing director-general of the International Organisation for Migration and former European Commissioner, and Guillaume Klossa, Executive President of EuropaNova.