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


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).

Team & authors

About the GNBF – German Nordic Baltic Forum project: Based on a long-standing need for discussion between Germany and the Baltic and Nordic EU member states, the German-Nordic-Baltic Forum has been offering experts from the countries in the region the opportunity to exchange views on current issues since 2008.

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