This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 320294


Scenarios for EU citizenship in 2030 – Repertoires for action in thinkable futures (Deliverable 11.5)

July 20, 2017

Authors: Wieger Bakker and Marlot van der Kolk

European Union (EU) citizenship is both about a legal status – a set of civil, social, economic and political rights complementing one’s national citizenship – and about being an active participating member of the EU political community. EU citizenship includes therefore influencing decisionmaking on rules, policies and practices that effect one’s own national and local societies. The opportunities and capacities to exercise these rights and to participate differ between countries, between groups and in time. Social, cultural and economic trends, national or regional crises, as well as national and EU policy responses to these trends and crises, create potentially new inequalities, new barriers, but possibly new opportunities too. Although we cannot predict the future, we can prepare ourselves for different thinkable futures. Through this study we intend to feed the discussion on what might happen with EU citizenship in different circumstances. Moreover, by doing so we also want to stimulate the discussion on what repertoires of action by which actors in what circumstances might protect, foster or boost EU citizenship in these alternative futures.

With that in mind, we conducted a scenario study. A scenario is a story about how the future might unfold for organizations, issues, nations or even for the world. The scenario method is originated in the military sphere and was adapted and further developed by consulting firms and companies in the 1950s and 1960s. Pioneering work was conducted in the 1970s by the oil company Shell (Meinert, 2014, p.8). According to Shell (2008, pp.12-19), a scenario study should be carried out to (1) confront assumptions, (2) recognise degrees of uncertainty, (3) widen perspectives, and (4) address dilemmas and conflicts. Over the years, many companies as well as public organisations and governments confronted with the necessity of long-term investment or strategic decisions in a rapidly changing environment followed Shell’s example and started to utilise scenarios for their strategy developments.

Based on the outcomes of the bEUcitizen project and five scenario workshops, we developed four thinkable future scenarios for how the EU, or the part of Europe which now is the EU, might look like in 12 to 15 years (and beyond). These scenarios are not predictions, preferences or forecasts for the future. The scenarios represent plausible, relevant and challenging possibilities, and are a starting point for thinking about possible implications for EU citizenship as well as repertoires of action. In the workshops more than sixty researchers, students and (young) professionals were engaged. Together we looked into how the future might unfold for EU citizenship: how might the world look like in 2030 and what could this mean for EU citizenship? Is it likely that EU citizenship will change, will become broader, more specific, and more exclusive or not survive at all? Who will be more or less vulnerable? What in those different situations should and can be done by whom to safeguard EU citizenship or the values it stands for? What repertoire of action is needed and/or is possible in different circumstances and who is able to perform these actions? In this report we present a synthesis of the insights gained from the scenario workshops as well as the outcomes of the bEUcitizen project.


Download the report here