Religious fundamentalism is not a new concept – far from it – and most of the world’s great religions are affected by it to a greater or lesser extent. However, among those fundamentalisms, Islamism has a special place, given the means it uses to implant itself in Muslim communities, particularly in Europe.
As Jean-François Drevet stresses here, the implantation of Islamism as a political tendency is perceptible in all European countries and is very often characterized by a large-scale propaganda effort (largely financed by the Gulf monarchies) among Muslims living on European soil, through a quasi-systematic exploitation for political ends of the right to religious freedom and a highly inadequate capacity on the part of Muslims to protect themselves from extremist preaching. It does, however, seem possible to erect a barrier against it through anti-racist and human-rights legislation which exists in many European states, if not indeed across the entire continent. If we wish to avoid the entire Muslim community – only a tiny minority of which is genuinely tempted by radical Islamism – being ostracized in Europe, and given that there is no real prospect of Islam undergoing modernization in the medium term, it is becoming urgently necessary, argues Jean-François Drevet, to have recourse to this body of law to block the development of radical Islam.
L’objectif principal de l’ouvrage de J.-M. Chevalier, M. Derdevet et P. Geoffron est double : corriger un certain nombre d’imprécisions systématiques concernant le domaine énergétique et dépasser la vision française d’un sujet qui nécessite une prise en charge internationale.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are undeniably one of those subjects that do not provoke remotely the same reactions in North America as in Europe. Whereas the growing of GM crops is highly developed in the USA and arouses little or no controversy within American public opinion, this is an area in which Europeans are very cautious and even genuinely distrustful. As Daniel Boy shows in this article, drawing on Eurobarometer surveys of European citizens carried out over 15 years or so, there has never been a majority in the EU in favour of the development of GMOs for food production and, between 1996 and 2010, the proportion of those reluctant to see such a development actually increased. Above and beyond this general finding of a clear, sustained opposition among Europeans to GMOs in food, Boy shows the disparities that exist between the various European countries and presents reasons that may account for these differences.
Boy goes on to study the structure of European opinion in this field by sex, age and socio-professional category of the respondents, by their degree of “socialization” to science and their level of informedness. He also notes the importance of the level of knowledge of – and familiarization with – science in the attitude towards genetically modified foodstuffs. Lastly, Boy compares the attitudes of Europeans to GM foods with attitudes around animal cloning and the nanotechnologies, showing the great specificity of GMOs, which have been very distinctly and probably lastingly rejected (like animal cloning), thus blocking the development of this technological innovation in Europe. He nonetheless stresses that attitudes towards other innovations (such as nanotechnologies) in no way point towards similar failures in the future.
In this special issue of Futuribles devoted to genetically modified organisms, Marcel Kuntz and Agnès Ricroch offer a review of the situation regarding biotechnological plants and their socio-economic prospects. After reminding us of the agricultural (and food) challenges our planet will face by the middle of the century, they outline the possible contributions of transgenics to overcoming them (resistance to various kinds of stress, improvement of yields, nutritional contributions), particularly in the developing countries. They go on to stress the advantages of transgenics in the fields of industry (agrofuels) and pharmaceuticals (biosynthesis of proteins and enzymes for therapeutic purposes).
Kuntz and Ricroch then come to a more political strand of argument: the political and regulatory constraints on the development of GMOs in Europe (and, in particular, France). They criticize, for example, the destructions carried out by certain anti-GM movements, and over-cautiousness in the political decisions and regulation that eventually led to the enduring sidelining of French and European players in the plant biotechnology sector. This situation is, in their view, highly damaging and synonymous with scientific and technical defeat. And the means for overcoming it, such as gaining the confidence of public opinion in the field through better information and publicity campaigns directed more at the benefits inherent in the technologies than the risks, have hardly been successful.
As a result of the dramatic social consequences they produce, periods of economic crisis are – as history shows – often springboards for the rise of various forms of extremism and of inward-looking movements. It is reassuring, then, to see governments in Europe currently striving to stand together and attempt to face up collectively to the economic setbacks affecting most European countries. Just a few decades ago, national conflicts and resentments were so rooted in people’s minds that, at that time, such cooperation would have been unimaginable. That it exists attests to the work done since World War II to calm those tensions and enable a common reading of recent European history to emerge.
Jean-François Drevet brings this out clearly in this column, so as to forewarn those in Europe – or at the gates of Europe – who might be tempted by a form of historical falsification. After reminding readers briefly of what such falsifications of history have led to in Europe and of the emergence of a more calmly conceived history, he turns to various clarifications he regards as necessary in this area. These relate particularly to two countries which are tempted by a rather skewed reading of their national histories: Hungary and Turkey. He concludes on the importance of every country “coming to terms” with its national history, so that it is not endlessly carrying a hostile baggage that is out of phase with a united Europe.
The economic and financial crisis raging since 2008 has, in recent months, brought the European Union up against its contradictions and shown how difficult, if not impossible, it is to cope with the economic difficulties that beset the Euro zone unless we press on further with the political integration of the region. Though it goes back more than 50 years, the construction of Europe has been at a standstill for a decade or so now. Let us not forget, however, that the EU has succeeded in bringing peace to a continent that had previously seen centuries of warfare. This is no small achievement and doubtless the Duke of Sully, who, as early as the 17th century – and at the height of the Thirty Years’ War – dreamt of a peaceful European Confederation, would have been happy with the outcome. At the end of his life, this famous French statesman drafted a plan aimed at establishing a “very Christian republic” federated around 15 major European nations, so that the peoples of Europe might live together and enjoy enormous power. It is a plan we should re-read if we wish to understand that the aspiration to create a European Union was neither new nor easy to achieve.
Gérard Blanc has re-discovered this plan and here outlines its aims, the nations concerned, the forms of political organization envisaged and many other elements that refer, in certain cases, to what are still topical issues for the European Union as it exists at the dawn of the 21st century.
Lancé à Bangkok en 1996, le Dialogue Asie-Europe ou ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) est un forum informel de dialogue qui regroupe d’une part la Commission européenne et les 27 pays membres de l’Union européenne, et d’autre part le secrétariat de l’Association des nations d’Asie du Sud-Est (ASEAN), les 10 pays membres de l’ASEAN (Birmanie, Brunei, Cambodge, Indonésie, Laos, Malaisie, Philippines, Singapour, Thaïlande, Viêt-nam), ainsi que la Chine, le Japon et la Corée du Sud (ASEAN ...
(356 more words)
Lancé à Bangkok en 1996, le Dialogue Asie-Europe ou ASEM [Asia-Europe Meeting] est un forum informel de dialogue qui regroupe d'une part la Commission européenne et les 27 membres de l'Union européenne, et d'autre part le secrétariat de l'Association des nations d’Asie du Sud-Est (ASEAN), les dix pays membres de l’ASEAN (Birmanie, Brunei, Cambodge, Indonésie, Laos, Malaisie, Philippines, Singapour, Thaïlande, Viêt-nam), ainsi que la Chine, le Japon et la Corée du Sud (ASEAN+3 ...
(364 more words)
The development of social networks, which lends scope for new forms of exchange and the creation of a collective intelligence, plays a major role today in the changes affecting formal education. It is this precise phenomenon that Christine Redecker and Yves Punie address in this Futuribles special feature on the “School in the Digital Era.” They present in this article the main findings of an IPTS study on Learning 2.0. or, in other words, on the use of Web 2.0 – and, in particular, the social media – in education, and the role it can play in improving learning and stimulating innovation.
This study, conducted at the European level, is based on an analysis of the literature and on 250 case studies (including 16 in-depth studies) and an expert seminar. Beyond the assessment of significant innovations described in the study, Redecker and Punie provide interesting insights into the new styles of learning among young people, showing particularly that the use of Web 2.0 both requires and facilitates technological, pedagogical and organizational innovations, thereby contributing to a modernization of educational institutions that is crucial to facing the challenges of the 21st century. Without concealing the challenges that remain to be faced or the obstacles to be overcome, they end by proposing various recommendations for confronting these challenges.
As a cradle of civilizations, the Mediterranean region has always been a source of fascination and played a major role in Europe commercially, culturally and geopolitically. Moreover, the countries of the southern and eastern rims of the Mediterranean are today seeing profound social and political upheavals that are likely also to affect the northern rim, making their futures uncertain, to say the least. In such a context, it becomes essential to have solid foresight analyses of the region.
Long before the Arab revolutions of spring 2011 began, the European Commission had launched a wide-ranging foresight exercise on the Mediterranean region up to the year 2030, entitled EuroMed-2030. This was driven by a group of 20 international experts and submitted its findings in December 2010. Domenico Rossetti di Valdalbero, Perla Srour-Gandon and Spela Majcen present the main lessons to be gleaned from the exercise here. After reviewing the major trends in the region (in demographic, economic, cultural, scientific, agricultural and energy terms), our authors stress the principal tensions and uncertainties that are likely to influence the future of the Mediterranean zone (socio-economic inequalities, democratic and reforming aspirations, tensions between hostile states, divergent views of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation etc.). From this starting point, they present the four transitional scenarios identified by EuroMed-2030 — “Managing Conflict”, “Engaging in Win-Win Projects”, “Deeper Economic Integration” and “Towards a EuroMed Community” – as well as various flagship initiatives and more concrete recommendations that may well accompany them.
The enduring nature of Vladimir Putin’s power in Russia and of his methods of government, both internally and in respect of the former republics of the Soviet Union and its erstwhile satellite states, regularly brings up the question of whether the Russian federation is a country other people may properly do business with. After a period of some tension between Russia on the one hand and Europe and the USA on the other, there would seem to be signs of an easing in the relations between the two former Cold-War blocs, as Jean-François Drevet shows in this column.
There remains, quite evidently, a great degree of economic pragmatism in Europe’s diplomatic stance towards Russia, but, on the other hand, Russia is no longer necessarily what it once was, and this perhaps is what offers new prospects for its potentially becoming an acceptable partner once again.
D’après Eurostat, un nombre croissant d’élèves européens étudient les langues étrangères dès l’école primaire, et les jeunes générations sont plus nombreuses que leur aînés à déclarer maîtriser au moins une langue étrangère. Dans ce tableau globalement positif, la France se distingue par ses mauvais résultats, une très faible proportion de sa population déclarant maîtriser au moins une langue étrangère : question de niveau ou de perception ?
Les tendances qu’annonçait la note d’alerte n° 58 sont confirmées par le dernier tableau de bord européen de la R&D industrielle : les entreprises de l’Union européenne (UE) et des États-Unis ont réduit leur effort, alors que le Japon maintient le sien malgré la crise et que la Corée du Sud, la Chine et l’Inde progressent rapidement. Beaucoup de champions européens et français risquent de perdre des marchés dans les prochaines années et la relève par de ...
(5 more words)
Comment les systèmes de santé européens vont-ils survivre à l’horizon 2030 compte tenu de l’augmentation constante des dépenses de santé ? The Economist Intelligence Unit a réalisé une courte étude sur le sujet qui aboutit à cinq scénarios contrastés à l’horizon 2030.Selon la Banque mondiale, les dépenses publiques de santé en Europe pourraient passer de 8 % du PIB (produit intérieur brut) en 2000 à 14 % en 2030, et continuer à augmenter après cette date, leur croissance étant ...
(446 more words)
Alors que l’année 2010 a été décrétée année de lutte contre la pauvreté et l’exclusion sociale en Europe par la Commission européenne, environ 80 millions d’Européens (17 %) sont considérés comme pauvres. Parmi eux, 16 millions de personnes âgées, en majorité des femmes. Cette tendance, anticipée depuis plusieurs années1, pourrait encore s’accentuer dans les années à venir.
The introduction of a national carbon tax involves taking account of the greenhouse-gas emission pricing mechanisms that are already in place. Since the impact of emissions is the same whatever their origin, the cost-benefit ratio of emission-reduction measures is minimized when the extension of the scope of emissions subject to carbon pricing respects the single-price rule.
In concrete terms, this means that national carbon taxes must take account in Europe of the European CO2 emissions trading system, which has since 2005 constrained the CO2 emissions of five major industrial sectors, representing around 50 % of European CO2 emissions. A market mechanism for carbon pricing has, then, to be made to co-exist with a fiscal pricing mechanism and, at the same time, European rules governing markets have to be made to converge with national rules on tax.
This article begins by assessing the operation of the European market in terms of transactions and prices. It shows the degree to which the overall scheme has evolved since its initial implementation period between 2005 and 2007, and reminds us of the implications of the move to auctioning that is planned for the third phase (2013-2020). The article then reviews the choices made by the different countries that have managed to run a national carbon tax alongside the European quota system. Going beyond the French case, it concludes by asking what are the most promising ways to extend carbon pricing in Europe.
It is time now for Europe to realize that the era of American hegemony is over and to act commensurately at the international level, argue Jeremy Shapiro and Nick Witney in their report, Towards a Post-American Europe, before going on to propose possible orientations for European foreign policy.
Bernard Cazes provides a short analysis of this report, which has been available on the Internet since November 2009, and stresses what a good job the authors have done of “forcing Europeans to face questions they are clearly reluctant to confront directly”.
La Bibliographie prospective du mois de janvier 2010 consacre son Focus au rapport final du "PESETA", initiative du Joint Research Centre visant à appréhender les impacts "physiques" et économiques du changement climatique en Europe aux horizons 2010 et 2080. L'analyse s'est centrée sur cinq secteurs considérés comme particulièrement sensibles au changement climatique : l'agriculture, les crues de rivières, les infrastructures côtières, le tourisme et la santé. Vous trouverez par ailleurs, et comme chaque mois, une sélection de comptes ...
(33 more words)
Cette étude du CEPS, sans proposer de prévisions véritablement nouvelles concernant les impacts possibles du réchauffement climatique en Europe, présente l’intérêt de combiner et d’interpréter les résultats de nombreux travaux et de les différencier selon les pays. Onze indicateurs, considérés comme cruciaux, ont été pris en compte, certains très classiques (phénomènes climatiques extrêmes, agriculture…), d’autres plus originaux. Les auteurs rappellent ainsi que toutes les prévisions indiquent que les pays du sud de la région pourraient être plus ...
(443 more words)