West Europe: Territorial scenarios and Vision for Europe - Towards 2050

Which future for the European Union towards 2050, and how much weight should be given to the territorial issue ? What are the baseline trends, what are the potential alternatives, within the medium (2030) and long term (2050) time horizons? What could be an ideal Territorial Vision of the future of the European Union, an aim towards which we would develop innovative and relevant pathways, at different levels of governance?

"Policymakers in the field of territorial development and cohesion are in need of a future oriented and integrated vision on the development of the European territory. ... A vision is a dream of a future ideal situation… (2050) defined by political orientations" (ESPON, 2011). The ET 2050 project assignement was to support policy makers in the elaboration of this territorial Vision, with the help of a prospective (roll-forward scenarios) methodology. Territory matters, 2050 is close, and European visions should be ambitious and not territorially blind.

The method was both quantitative and qualitative. On the one hand, modelling exercises have led to the elaboration of various scenarios providing one baseline (or ‘business as usual’) scenario, and three ‘exploratory scenarios’ with variants, providing contrasted pictures of what the Europe territory could theoretically look like in 2050; these scenarios were typically fact-based and science-informed. On the other hand, a wide range of key stakeholders took part in an iterative participatory process, carried out in close consultation with the members of the ESPON Monitoring Committee, in order to produce an ideal picture of the European territory in 2050 based on values and policy choices.