What is "Digital Europe 2030"?

In the run-up to the German EU Council Presidency 2020, Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft is bringing together an interdisciplinary group of experts to systematically design possible futures for Europe in a scenario process. The special focus of the project Digital Europe 2030 lies on the fundamental transformation of the political sphere in the digital age. This should also be reflected 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.

The Digital Europe 2030 scenario process will focus 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 three workshops in spring and summer 2020 - which will take place digitally until further notice - we would like to create a positive vision of the future for Europe's digital public sphere and sovereignty in 2030. We will discuss various questions: 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 and answering these and other questions, we will derive concrete policy recommendations for the present.

An interdisciplinary Sounding Board will accompany the project as advisory capacity in order to add to quality assurance and to help place the results wherever relevant.

Participants of the workshop series are:

  • Dr. Julia De Clerck-Sachsse, Oxford University
  • Georg Diez, Journalist and Author
  • Dr. Katharina Gnath, Bertelsmann Foundation
  • Elisabeth von Hammerstein, Körber Foundation
  • Johannes Hillje, Das Progressive Zentrum
  • Fabiola Hochkirchen, Auxxo Beteiligungen GmbH
  • Dr. Julian Jaursch, Stiftung Neue Verantwortung
  • Joachim Knodt, German Embassy in Moscow
  • Paul Leonhardt, German Federal Foreign Office
  • Constanze Maria Litt, European Commission
  • Dr. Leonard Novy, Institute for Media and Communication Politics
  • Clark Parsons, Internet Economy Foundation
  • Dr. Jana Puglierin, European Council on Foreign Relations
  • Teresa Ritter, Bitkom e.V.
  • Dr. Thorsten Thiel, Weizenbaum-Institut for the Networked Society
  • Dr. Daniel Voelsen, German Institute for International and Security Affairs

Members of the Sounding Board are:

  • Natalie Amiri, German-Iranian radio and television journalist, head of the ARD studio in Tehran (2015 to April 2020)
  • Olaf Böhnke, Senior Advisor at Alliance of Democracies Foundation
  • Christoph Bornschein, Founder and CEO of TLGG
  • Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook, Executive Director, The Future of Diplomacy Project, Harvard Kennedy School at Harvard University
  • Maria Exner, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of ZEIT ONLINE

"Digital Europe 2030" is a series of workshops with the participation of invited guests. Further information please find here or please contact Samuel Walker.

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