Projects should contribute to the following expected outcome:
- Future scenario workflows, roadmap and strategy playbook to achieve the most preferred scenarios for democracy in the European Union 2040, researched, debated and co-developed through iterative, large-scale engagement processes with diverse groups of stakeholders i.e. young European citizens, political and institutional actors and organised civil society.
Democracy in the EU faces challenges from rising extremism and polarisation, covert authoritarianism, election interference and the spread of manipulative information. Political democracies are looking for new balances in fast-changing societal contexts while facing countless number of internal and global challenges and changes in power relations. This – in turn – reduces the willingness to undertake reforms that could deepen the European Union further. Nationalistic and populistic tendencies, tensions between national and international frameworks, political and social polarisation jeopardise established values and practices (e.g. parliamentary democracy, the rule of law, separation of powers, democratic dialogue, etc.) and seem to weaken the political clout of the European Union in the long run.
In light of the current discourse about the need to rethink and redesign virtual and real public spaces and civic engagement, this research will also investigate the future of democracy and its instruments, and will also explore the views of political institutions such as national parliaments and the European Institutions, and those of organised civil society actors as regards their visions for the future, emerging trends such as e.g. participatory and deliberative democracy models that better serve the public good, build trust between governments and citizens, and deepen democracy at large. Particular attention should be paid to the development of future European (and national) public spaces that mutually support one another and work together, and the evolution of the current EU model (with its peculiarities and often quoted democratic deficit) into its best potential.
With the accelerating complexity of change, there is a growing need to combine solid scientific forecasting methods that rely on objective historical data with qualitative and speculative foresight practices, and with a series of iterative, large-scale (online and in-person) engagements in order to build and co-develop alternative future scenarios that can empower young people living in the EU to proactively shape their collective future in the European Union. In addition, proposals should help to understand the visions of the next generation and how to provide them with the tools to put those visions in practice. It is important to document (e.g. the making-of film, documentary, library of video interviews, etc.) the journey undertaken over time from research through large-scale stakeholder engagements, debates and co-development of outcomes for European citizens to engage with the content as the project is progressing and after its conclusion.