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Future vision

You find in this section links to specialised web sites of the European Commission services.

Most of them present strategic visions of the Commission on the main technologies for the next ten years and sometimes beyond. You find as well general scenarios on the future of the European Union.

General scenarios and debates on the future of the EU

  • The debate on the future of the European Union is an initiative launched at the Nice Intergovernmental Conference (declaration on the future of the Union) in December 2000. This will be a wider and more profound debate than Dialogue on Europe, launched by the Commission in February 2000. It will form part of a process of discussion and exchange of ideas that will contribute to the preparation of a further intergovernmental conference planned for 2004.

  • The Scenarios Europe 2010 project was launched by the Forward Studies Unit of the European Commission in 1997. The aim was to produce a set of coherent and thought provoking images of the future of Europe.

  • The IPTS Futures Project : Europe is changing fast and key drivers represent major challenges for technology, competitiveness and employment policies. The IPTS Futures Project - assisted by 195 experts from industry, academia and policy making - analysed these main policy challenges up to 2010.

Future and strategic visions of:


  • EU strategy and debate

    The European Commission intends to present, by the end of 2001, a policy paper, contributing to development of a strategic vision of life sciences and biotechnology up to 2010 and beyond. That initiative should take a comprehensive and forward-looking perspective and propose concrete actions in the short-term to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

  • The Biosociety

    The development of new technologies and their applications raises a number of important questions about impact on people, society and markets. In the frame of research and technology development programmes, the Commission services are mandated by the European Council and sponsor activities to study those impacts. In particular they invite expertise on the socio-economic dimension and public attitudes to new technologies, thus contributing to the debate that is presently taking place in society.
    These discussions should include societal learning processes, regulation of biotech and societal control of the technology.

Information society:

The IST Advisory Group (ISTAG) provides the Commission with independent advice concerning the strategy, content and direction of research work to be carried out under the Information Society Technologies (IST) Programme

You can download the ISTAG Scenarios for Ambient Intelligence in 2010 ( PDF - 946 KB) and the related graphics ( PDF - 36 KB).

ISTAG has made consistent efforts to get a higher level of focus and a higher pace of development in Europe on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). To give these efforts a longer-term perspective a scenario planning exercise was launched during 2000. The aim was to describe what living with 'Ambient Intelligence' might be like for ordinary people in 2010.

The FISTERA project aims to bring together on a systematic and extended basis the actors and insights in national foresight exercises on IST (information society technologies) in the enlarged Europe. The project has three objectives:

  • to compare results of national foresight exercises;
  • to provide a new forum for consensus building on future visions for IST;
  • and to contribute to constructing the European Research Area through benchmarking and community building, by providing a dynamic pan-European platform on foresight on ISTs.

A premise of the " Vision Book project " is that vision development is an important and often neglected process. Thinking about where we are going and why, is important - but not necessarily easy. The aim of the book is to help in this respect: to present a range of ideas, thoughts and images of the future relating to ICTs , in a way that is engaging, visually stimulating, and easy to understand.


The Fantasie project is a major EU research project looking at developments in transport technologies and the effects that these will have on Europe's future transport systems. In addition, the project will look at how these technologies may influence, and be influenced by, the aims and related initiatives of the Union's Common Transport Policy.

The FORESIGHT for TRANSPORT (funded under the FP5, GROWTH Programme) began in 2001 and is coming to an end in January 2004. It has produced scenarios for future development of relevance for mobility and transport and a monitoring meta-database system with indicators to allow a regular updating and monitoring of the visions developed and their impacts. Methods employed included holding meetings for expert consultation (jointly attracting over 75 experts) and a Delphi survey (with two waves and 160 respondents). Specific to the approach has been the focusing on not solely transport-specific factors and policies but also on non-transport factors. Thus the information database and visioning covers demographics, attitudes, institutional arrangements, S&T, social policy, economic development, politics and the environment.


  • EurEnDel

    EurEnDel assesses long term developments in energy technologies, their potentials and expected impacts. The perspective taken integrates a technology push with a social pull approach embracing a time horizon of 30 years. EurEnDel employs a Union-wide Delphi survey to cover the need for reliable information on long-term trends and developments.

  • The Nordic H2 Energy Foresight

    The Nordic H2 Energy Foresight is a joint research project involving 16 partner organisations, including R&D institutes, energy companies and industry, from the five Nordic countries - Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. It was launched in January 2003 and is expected to run until June 2005.

  • The Atlas project

    Was a major strategic review exercise aimed at identifying key issues and guiding priorities for the next phase of EU support programmes and other actions in the field of new energy technologies.

Sustainable development:

  • World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002

    On the joint initiative of Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström and Development Commissioner Poul Nielson, the European Commission adopted a Communication "Ten Years After Rio: Preparing for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002", setting out priorities and actions for the EU in preparation for this event.
    It focuses on the following strategic objectives: increased global equity and an effective global partnership for sustainable development; better integration of environment and development at the international level; adoption of environmental and development targets to revitalise and provide focus to the Rio process and more effective action at national level with stronger international monitoring.

  • EU strategy for sustainable development

    The European Commission's proposal for a European Union Sustainable Development was adopted by the Commission on 15 May 2001. It contains a number of concrete proposals for how the European Union can improve its policy making to make it more coherent and focussed on the long term, as well as a number of specific headline objectives and the measures needed to achieve them.


  • In the 15-month FUTMAN project, a consortium of specialists from seven EU countries undertook a foresight study into the future for leading-edge manufacturing . Its brief was to respond to the question "In which domains will Europe have to be competitive in 15 to 20 years to meet its citizens'needs and the challenges of sustainable development and to exploit as efficiently as possible new upcoming science and technology opportunities?"

  • The ManVis (Manufacturing Visions) project

    In order to become the world's most competitive economy by 2010, the manufacturing and service engineering sectors will have to play a vital role in an enlarged Europe. Industry, government and other stakeholders need a strong vision of the future of the European economy based on an assessment of possible alternatives in order to develop their strategies. Manufacturing Visions aims to develop new and powerful visions of manufacturing for Europe in the decades to come. Such visions of manufacturing will support the development of policy and strategy focused on the proactive support of manufacturing.