German-Nordic-Baltic assessments on shaping the future of Europe

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The European project will remain sustainable as long as the EU is capable of change. During the 13th German-Nordic-Baltic Forum, experts discussed solutions for the EU in the world, its values and sustain­ability, and the Future Conference.

How can we shape the future of the European Union together? Experts from Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden discussed the role of the EU in the current world order, its democ­ratic values, the Conference on the Future of Europe and sustainable societies.

One of the main problems is the lack of trust between and within member states, which hinders joint decisions in foreign policy — e.g., in the form of a qualified majority voting. EU members need to consider how they want to apply their strategic autonomy vis-à-vis the US and NATO in defence policy. The EU cannot replace NATO, but can only be complementary.

Furthermore, one of the EU’s greatest strengths lies in its normative power. The values that are embedded in our everyday lives make the EU project more resilient. However, EU insti­tu­tions need to actively defend this democ­ratic foundation, especially with regard to Poland and Hungary inter­nally and Belarus externally.

Moreover, the limited media coverage of the Conference on the Future of Europe hinders its usefulness and effec­tiveness. Even after the planned end of the Conference in spring 2022, the EU needs to find ways to better involve citizens in decision-making processes.

Finally, the varying percep­tions of climate change in EU member states will keep the EU partic­u­larly busy in the upcoming years. In order to convince EU citizens of the necessary trans­for­ma­tions of the European Green Deal, commu­ni­cation needs to be adapted to local circum­stances and a policy mix between supra­na­tional and national levels should be used.

The 13th German-Nordic-Baltic Forum was organised with the kind support of the German Federal Foreign Office and in cooper­ation with the Latvian Institute of Inter­na­tional Affairs (LIIA).