The challenges of Europe

Since Charles de Gaulle gave his speech in the courtyard of the castle of Ludwigsburg in 1962, the global situation has fundamentally changed. As young Europeans we face comprehensive problems such as climate change, the economic crisis or demographic change. The member states of the European Union are more interconnected than ever, also due to the multiple political, economic and social challenges which have created dependencies and can only be tackled successfully by working together. However, this implies that more and more decisions are made as a necessity by governments and citizens are excluded from decision-making.  The public is aware of the fact that established democratic procedures are no longer adequate and instead demand more involvement and more opportunities for political participation.

  • What are the causes of these enormous challenges in Europe?
  • Who exactly is affected?
  • Who should solve the problem and who should agree to the solution?
  • Above all, how can the problem be permanently solved?

These are the questions that concern the citizens of Europe.

The economic crisis

For more than two years now, the European debt crisis has preoccupied the European public and the responsible politicians. Terms like EFSF or ESM are frequently used and austerity packages are constantly adopted, which makes it hard for the citizens and political representatives of Europe to understand the situation. The pressure of the markets seems to require immediate action, but the democratic decision-making process continues to be slow.

Climate change and energy supply

Global warming concerns people all over the world, therefore climate change can only be faced together. Sustainable solutions, that enable subsequent generations to live on earth, attempt to reduce the causes of climate change, and CO2 emissions in industry, households and transport. As energy supply is largely secured by fossil fuels, which produce a large amount of CO2 when burned, a move towards renewable energies such as wind, solar and water power could be a solution.

Demographic change and migration

Societies in Europe are growing old, in countries like Poland, Hungary and Germany, people aged over 60 years could soon represent the majority of the population. In France, Great Britain and the Scandinavian countries, the problem is a less urgent issue because they have a comparatively high birth rate. Shrinking societies are faced with various challenges. The impact of a skills shortage on the economic dynamics of a country or the question of long-term financing of pension schemes, which are mainly based on the contributions of the working population, are just two examples. The countries affected especially hard by demographic change will be forced to conduct, among other things, an active migration policy to assure the future prospects of their societies in the long term.