Within Europe, while the economy has improved and the political effects of Brexit have largely been contained, there are concerns about democratic norms and the undermining of liberal institutions in some member states, as well as high levels of support for anti-establishment and radical parties across the continent. At the same time, an effort to reform the European Union in order safeguard its political and economic institutions are on the table but there is no agreement on the future direction of the integration project. Internationally, Europe faces a series of uncertainties: rising protectionism and a potential tariff war, the growing influence of China and the declining political leadership of the United States. As a consequence, concerns about the stability of the so-called ‘liberal order’ – and the collection of political norms, institutions and alliances which have formed its bedrock – are now widespread in Europe.
- How can Europe reform its institutions to protect itself against opportunistic populism from within and authoritarian challenges from abroad? What does it take to protect Europe’s liberal norms and institutions?
- What are the major sources of disagreement on the future direction of the European integration project?
- How can democratic processes be protected from subversion, particularly personal data being utilized by private actors and companies to influence electoral outcomes?
- Does the whole of Europe share a view on the benefits of global economic liberalization and how can countries championing economic globalization better communicate and share its benefits among its citizens?
- Amid the rhetoric of ‘America First’ and disputes over the benefits of trade, could globalization go into reverse? What are the risks of a significant rift in transatlantic relations?