Futuribles Journal n° 400

Territoires, réseaux

A Happy Vision of Europe in 2050: Utopia or Rallying Project?

Between 22 and 25 May 2014 the citizens of the 28 member states of the European Union are invited to vote to elect their representatives to the European Parliament. Unfortunately, in today’s crisis conditions which favour a withdrawal into domestic concerns in many European countries, it is highly probable these elections will not stir up any great enthusiasm. However, after six decades, European construction has pretty well achieved what it set out to do in terms of economic development and bringing peace to the region. And great prospects of political, economic and social developments remain, which are capable of improving the lives of Europeans in the era of globalization.

At any rate, it is this staunchly optimistic view the European Spatial Planning Observation Network (ESPON) has taken in a foresight study on Europe up to the year 2050 which is aimed at setting objectives, at various different levels of decision-making, for the territorial policies to be implemented on the continent. Philippe Doucet and Jean-François Drevet, who took part in this study, here present the broad outlines of this happy vision of Europe in 2050 and the territorial dynamics at work within this time-frame (in terms of mobility, the residential economy, urban zones/rural zones, frontiers etc.), together with the possible developments in terms of territorial governance at the global, European, sub-regional, national and local levels. Some may perhaps view this approach as utopian, but the aim is to fuel strategic thinking in the service of a European rallying project with a time-horizon of 2050, so that this project can be put into effect if the Union wishes to do so.

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