Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
Rapport du Millennium Project
Membership of the European Union has grown from its original six countries to 12, then 15, then (since May 2004) 25. This expansion could easily continue (perhaps to as many as 40 members) since several other countries are in the running, with a variety of modes of association, as Jean-François Drevet outlines in this article. Among the candidates, Turkey is undoubtedly the one given most media attention, above all in France; but there are also the former Soviet bloc countries such as Croatia, Bulgaria and Rumania. Expansion could well have a domino effect, in the longer term bringing in former Soviet republics such as Georgia and the Ukraine.
In fact, the question of the future borders of the EU, and how acceptable they are to the founding members (above all France), is more topical than ever. Jean-François Drevet discusses the issues involved, the possible advantages, especially in bringing peace to the continent, the obstacles and sensitivities that must be taken into account, both within the EU and outside it (for instance with regard to Russia). He offers us a very full picture of what the EU might become - more than ever a matter of "variable geography". In his view, the prospects of the EU's centre of gravity moving eastwards are, for the time being, very slight even if there were to be major expansion: western Europe remains the clear economic and political driving force within the continent.
The main regret in this process, according to Drevet, is that this policy of expansion has unfortunately had the effect of holding back the impetus to deepen the links. Efforts should be made to remedy this in order to strengthen the EU, for example via the Constitution currently under discussion.
Small and medium-sized firms are a key element in the European economy: by the EU definition (0-250 employees), they make up 99.8% of all businesses (more than 93% of them employ fewer than 10 people), i.e. 65.8% of all employment. Yet the public authorities offer them little support, largely because the authorities operate on a very different scale to small firms.
André Lebeau argues that it is possible to change this state of affairs, for instance by learning from the American experience. Despite its ultra-free market stance, the United States has in fact put in place a wide range of public support for small businesses, especially via tenders and contracts to supply federal agencies. These measures have existed for over 50 years (Small Business Act, 1953) and are regularly updated.
While identical measures cannot be applied to small firms in the EU, they could serve to inspire support for this key element in the European economy. André Lebeau suggests how this might be done, proposing the launch of pilot projects, starting with ones in the framework of the European space programme, a sector that he knows well.
On 6 October 2004, the European Commission published its report on Turkey's application to join the European Union, in which it favoured opening negotiations about eventual membership. Since then there has been heated debate, especially in France, about whether or not Turkey should be part of Europe: those in favour of Turkish membership refer to the country's European past and its links with the EU since 1963, as well as its model as a secular democracy in the Muslim world; those opposed argue that it is too far away from the rest of Europe both geographically and in terms of its values (failure to respect human rights, Islam, etc.).
In order to understand the arguments put forward by both sides, it is as well to know more about the country, its history, its political and economic situation, the lifestyles of its people, etc. In this article Jean Raphaël Chaponnière provides an outline of its main features, before discussing the issues underlying Turkey's bid to join the EU and the fears that this raises, rightly or wrongly, for example with regard to international migration or religious issues. In his view, the potential costs of Turkey being allowed to join are roughly the same as if its bid is ultimately rejected - a comparison rarely made by commentators.
In the end, the uncertainty about Turkey's future in Europe that the EU has maintained for decades, and that will continue for several years yet, simply reflects the EU's difficulties in defining the criteria for further enlargement: how far should Europe expand, based on which core values and what ultimate purpose (free trade or political union)?
SOMMAIRE Un monde plus sûr ? Tendances lourdes La pérennisation de l'asymétrie des conflits Multiplication des acteurs internationaux Développement de la criminalité transnationale Fusion sécurité intérieure et sécurité extérieure Le Moyen-Orient, pivot géopolitique des conflits mondiaux Incertitudes majeures Nouvelles instabilités régionales Les modes de régulation de l'espace géostratégique Place de la Chine dans l'échiquier régional et mondial Prégnance du terrorisme non conventionnel Microscénarios Ms 1 : Le monde poudrière Ms 2 : Une régulation internationale revisitée Ms 3 : Nouvelle bipolarisation
In November 2004, the American presidential election will be held against an international background dominated by the situation in Iraq, where the American-led coalition is floundering. Virtually everywhere in the world, the majority of public opinion is against the re-election of the current President, George W. Bush. The main complaint is about his administration's "messianic" attitude in attempting to impose its vision of the world and of international relations, which was revealed in the Greater Middle East Initiative announced by the United States at the G8 meeting last June and which is presented as the spearhead of American ambitions for the region.
Jean-Jacques Salomon has examined the origins and underlying agenda of this "great plan": he describes for readers of Futuribles the main characters inspiring and implementing the foreign policy of the Bush team (neo-conservatives, the oil lobby, the religious lobbies, the links with the Likud party in Israel), their ideological convictions, the way they hope to put these convictions into practice (in particular state-building) and the flow of reforms that might then come about. This "American fantasy" of Western-style democracy in a region as diverse as the Middle East is hardly realistic under current conditions.
Nonetheless, as Jean-Jacques Salomon stresses, the need for radical reforms in the Muslim world is increasingly recognized and proclaimed by many Arab commentators. But would Westernisation be too high a price to pay for modernization?
As to the result of the American presidential election, let us not delude ourselves: if the Democrats were to win, this would not necessarily bring about a major change in American foreign policy - although at least it would mean that there would be greater respect for the views of their allies and partners - and the messianic tendencies would not disappear.
Tandis que l’opinion se saisit soudain du dossier de l’élargissement de l’Union européenne (en particulier concernant la candidature de la Turquie), alors qu’il s’agissait ordinairement d’une affaire d’initiés, Jean-François Drevet vient de publier une nouvelle édition, revue et corrigée, d’un ouvrage faisant le point sur les enjeux de l’élargissement. C’est à cette double occasion qu’il est venu s’exprimer au sein du groupe Futuribles. Il a tenu à exposer ...
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The city-state of Singapore in South East Asia, with its 4 million inhabitants living on 581 km2, forms a bridge between Malaysia and Indonesia. It has always played a special role, partly because of its geographical position on the route linking the Indian Ocean and the Far East, and partly because of its economic growth early on, which has been a model for the rest of the region. With the increasingly rapid economic development of its big neighbours, China and India, the Singaporean economy is now facing competition in most of the sectors that allowed it to succeed at the global level. The time has therefore come for Singapore to evolve new relationships with these countries. Rémi Perelman describes the main trends, showing how Singapore is holding its own with China and India, both economically and culturally (especially with regard to education). This position will naturally strengthen the international role played by the city-state.
Depuis des mois, la presse et les experts ont insisté sur la dimension politique de l'ouverture de négociations d'adhésion entre l'Union européenne et la Turquie, au plan intérieur comme régional. De même, les effets d'une adhésion turque sur les institutions et l'économie européennes ont été largement débattus. Ici, la question examinée est celle de l'économie turque : le choix qui sera fait marquera, pour elle aussi, un tournant décisif. Selon les auteurs, l'ouverture de ...
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At the meeting of the European Council in Lisbon in March 2000, the European Union set itself the goal of becoming by 2010 "the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world". As readers of Futuribles have seen on several occasions, despite this intention, Europe is falling further and further behind the United States in terms of both economic growth and competitiveness and investment in so-called intangibles (research, education, human resources, etc.), although these are major factors in the knowledge-based economy.
Henri Delanghe, Vincent Duchêne and Ugur Muldur confirm the growing gap between Europe and the United States, adding as well the risk of being overtaken by the emerging economic powers (China, India, Taiwan...). Basing their argument on the theory of long cycles (Kondratiev), the authors reckon that the industrialized countries are about to enter on a fifth wave of sustained and lasting economic growth, thanks to innovations arising from new information and communications technologies.
If indeed it turns out that this hypothesis of a new wave of prosperity is correct (which remains to be seen), two questions arise: can Europe speed up the arrival of this new growth cycle? And is its internal organization ready to deal with this new period of growth, in other words, has it developed an appropriate strategy designed for this new situation?
After a reminder of the key factors required for a new cycle of long-term growth to occur, the authors emphasize in essence that, despite the efforts encouraged in the framework of the Lisbon process, Europe does not possess all the prerequisites to drive forward this new growth spurt. The main obstacles are its under-investment in research and development, its failure to make full use of its human capital and the relative lack of competitiveness of its high-tech products. A change of strategy will clearly be essential if Europe is to avoid lagging behind the other industrialized countries (if not finding itself as leader of the emerging group!).
Following the elections in EU countries for their members of the European Parliament and as some of them start the campaigns leading to referenda on whether or not to ratify the draft European Constitution, Elvire Fabry examines the expectations of EU citizens with regard to their institutions. She stresses that not only is there a lack of legitimacy, the EU must deal with a real civic shortfall, related mainly to adequate public consultation. The agreements made in recent years (from Maastricht to Nice, by way of the draft Constitution) are an improvement in this direction, but what about the citizens themselves - what are their expectations and how can these be met effectively?
As the author emphasizes, this progress (right to more consultation, strengthening of the powers of the Parliament, etc.) does in part satisfy the demand for greater public participation in the debates about European affairs. Nevertheless, paradoxically, there is good reason to fear that the vast majority of Europe's citizens cannot be bothered to make the most of their opportunities. Given this situation, the decision to resort to referenda on the Constitution, in France in particular, runs the risk that, unless there are real efforts to educate and communicate with the voters, the turn-outs will again be low, or even that the Eurosceptics will win.
Jean-Jacques Salomon draws the lessons for Futuribles of a recent report submitted to the Pentagon by a group of experts concerning the future strategic fight forces - meaning the capacity to act militarily against an enemy with sufficient foresight and efficiency to thwart the enemy's capacity to resist anywhere except on the actual battlefield. The strikes aimed at physically eliminating Saddam Hussein in the early hours of the Iraq war in 2003 belong to this way of thinking.
Jean-Jacques Salomon demonstrates how far this effort to take a long-term view is, as so often, shaped by the needs of the moment (e.g. the emphasis on "human" intelligence-gathering) and the dominant military doctrines within the Bush Administration.
This report contains two major innovations. The first concerns a recommendation to proceed with a plan that would allow the United States to strike very quickly any point on Earth from bases within its own territory, which the US Air Force is developing under the FALCON programme (Force Application and Launch from the Continental U.S.). The second innovation concerns the use of small nuclear bombs in order to destroy well-protected underground targets. This last point implicitly raises important questions about the ending of the taboo on using nuclear weapons.
Although the standard of living of Europeans gradually caught up with that of the Americans in the three decades after World War II, it would appear that the trend has dipped since the 1980s. Economic growth in Europe has stagnated, whereas growth has continued in the United States, despite events such as the bursting of the high-tech bubble, and September 11th. Is the decline of Europe compared with the United States unavoidable? What are the reasons for it?
Alain Villemeur describes the different paths taken by the two major Western blocs. He disentangles the reasons normally given to explain the poor results achieved in Europe (inflation, high interest rates, less flexible markets, industrial decline...) and challenges their validity in the light of the remarkable counter-example provided by the Netherlands.
In his view, the key to economic recovery in Europe lies in the investment countries are prepared to make in innovation and knowledge, and the way that innovations are achieved and implemented. What matters most now is to give priority to innovations in products (which means investing in research aimed at developing new products and services) rather than in processes (i.e. attempting to improve or copy innovations in existing products). It is a European country, Sweden, that provides the model for this approach.
For Alain Villemeur, the only means of reversing the economic decline of Europe over the last 20 years lies in combining strong support for research and development and innovation (on the Swedish model) with close control of wage costs (as in the Netherlands), and ensuring that this strategy applies also to the new members of the European Union.
In 2002, per capita GDP (gross domestic product) in France and the European Union was roughly 25% below that of the United States. Per capita GDP is related to several factors: hourly productivity rates, average working hours and the employment rates. In France, hourly productivity rates are very high, but working hours and the employment rates are low.
This explanation does not hold when the facts are examined, argues Cette, since productivity in general appears to fall as working time increases, hence less is produced in the 36th hour than in the 35th, and this is even more true concerning the employment rates, especially those of young people and workers aged over 50 which are particularly low in Europe, especially in France. Gilbert Cette points up this argument with the help of a comparison between the "observed" and the "structural" hourly productivity rates, with the latter distinctly higher in the United States than in Europe and Japan.
He shows that, ultimately, the improvement in productivity in the United States and the decline in Europe is largely due to the growth and, above all, the spread of information and communications technologies. However, for this to have the greatest multiplier effect, there must be not only an appropriate level of investment but also greater flexibility in the markets for goods and labour.
This article implicitly raises an important question about the balance to be struck between productivity and numbers in work, which is a real issue for society to decide.
In an article published in the July 2003 issue of the journal Prospect, Robert Skidelsky offered an analysis of how international relations might develop in future and set out three possible scenarios. Bernard Cazes provides a critical account of the article, discussing each of the three scenarios: Pax Americana, a new international balance of power and a new version of multilateralism. This analysis nicely complements the suggestions of Robert Toulemon, in this issue of Futuribles, with regard to the reform of the United Nations system, especially concerning the third scenario, a refurbished form multilateralism, which is the one that Robert Skidelsky seems to prefer.
Robert Toulemon, a committed European, reflects on the future of the UN institutions, arguing that the UN family, which today lacks legitimacy and is no longer truly representative, would benefit from following the example of the European Union (EU). After a brief survey of the international context and the current deficiencies in the system of global governance - illustrated recently by events in Iraq -, Toulemon sets out a series of prerequisites for such a reform, including the need to recognize the rise of nations like the Republic of South Africa and to promote democracy and the observance of human rights throughout the world.
The first steps towards reform, in his view, would be to take account of peoples and not just states; that done, to recognize and define in institutional terms the right to intervene in a country's internal affairs, which would inevitably mean greater co-operation between Europe, the United States and the South; finally, to organize the reform on a regional basis, i.e. foster the development of large regional groupings as interlocutors within the UN system. In this regard, just as EU institutions have served as models for regional groupings elsewhere in the world (in Asia, Latin America, etc.), they could also inspire the reform of different parts of the UN and their relationships with each other. For example, the UN Secretary General's office could evolve into a collegiate body responsible for safeguarding international law (as the European Commission does within the EU).
Aware that his proposals could be dismissed as utopian, Robert Toulemon offers other detailed suggestions (for funding, governance, etc.) and considers Europe as a pioneer in promoting the new global compromise that he has described.
In this opinion piece, Viviane du Castel surveys the current political and geostrategic situation in Russia following the overwhelming re-election of Vladimir Putin as President of the Russian Federation.
While representative democracy seems to be in a poor way, with opposition parties marginalized and the freedom of the press increasingly threatened, the economy is at a crossroads. A temporary halt to market reforms and a gradual "sovietization" of big industry is accompanied by major uncertainties generated by the clash between the Kremlin and the so-called oligarchs, who are seen as too powerful and too independent. Viviane du Castel discusses the range of options available to Putin during his second term, in which he holds all the political reins in his hands.
In terms of foreign policy, Russia's position today hardly differs from what it was under the Czars: it has to combine its ambitions vis-à-vis the West (i.e. Europe and the United States), the East (mainly China) and what the Russians still call "the near abroad", which this old imperial power cannot disregard for very long. Moreover, the Russian gambit towards China, the European Union and the Atlantic alliance - all now on its borders - can be seen clearly both in its direct international relations and in its actions in those areas that have often been viewed as an essential part of its outer defences: Kaliningrad, Moldavia, Ukraine, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia remain the preferred regions where Russia exercises its muscle. Energy issues, for example, are a good indicator of Moscow's degree of influence on policy.
The real challenge for the country now is to achieve a balance among these three regional power games so as to maximize Russia's role and international influence.
Viviane du Castel provides here the keys to understanding the issues facing a Russian President who seeks to restore his office to the central role within the "vertical" power hierarchy that he wants to re-establish in the anarchic Federation that Russia is today.
Bruno Tertrais considère qu’il n’aurait que peu de choses à changer dans son livre La Guerre sans fin. L’Amérique dans l’engrenage s’il devait le publier aujourd’hui, et que son livre risque d’être d’actualité encore pendant longtemps. Convaincu que pour faire une bonne prospective, il faut d’abord faire une bonne rétrospective, Bruno Tertrais présente tout d’abord comment certains courants de pensée aujourd’hui très influents aux États-Unis sont apparus au cours ...
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Europe is currently experiencing an acute crisis. What can be done?
Pierre Bonnaure here outlines four possible scenarios for the future of the European Union, each of them corresponding to a different school of thought.
But above all, inspired by the "Delors method", he suggests a strategy which would relaunch the construction of a Europe worthy of its name.
Primarily, by recalling the central role that European institutions should play in the construction of a main communal body, he defines the principal constituants. Then, from this main body, by developing projects which, if need be, are suitably adaptable.
Assuming that this condition is met, Europe will, the author stresses, find itself confronted with major challenges:
- on an internal level, with expansion, the change from the industrial era to that of the knowledge-based society, and the essential reform of social welfare systems;
- externally, and perhaps a little more long-term, with the problem of the post-oil era, (or high-cost oil), competition from Asia and that of the European construction of a veritable policy of security and communal defence.
Ce chapitre est extrait du Rapport Vigie 2016 de Futuribles International, qui propose un panorama structuré des connaissances et des incertitudes des experts que l'association a mobilisés pour explorer les évolutions des 15 à 35 prochaines années sur 11 thématiques.