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Strategic foresight - and the EU

20 February 2013
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As the perfect storm that hit the EU a few years ago seems to be slowly dying out, the crisis management mode that prevailed then seems now also to have given way to a more reflective mood: a less uncertain present is encouraging greater focus on how to shape a less uncertain future. Various political and institutional initiatives across the Union indicate a growing interest in strategic thinking and analysing trends and factors that may affect Europe’s position in the years and decades to come.

It may therefore be useful to dig a bit deeper into the nature, practice and record of strategic foresight - as has emerged elsewhere, especially in the United States - and to assess its relevance for the Union. To do so, a preliminary distinction needs to be made between ‘foresight’ as an essentially predictive function, and ‘strategy’ as a mainly prescriptive one.