Thundering ahead into 2016: CEPS Agenda for the coming year

Migration, digitalisation and the EU’s relations with countries in the ‘arc of instability’ to its east and southeast are the three overriding themes driving the CEPS research programme for 2016. Work will also continue on the different aspects of market integration, most importantly energy markets, EMU governance and trade policy. And some new issues will demand our attention, such as the sharing economy and health economics. To produce truly valuable insights, policy analysis today increasingly requires a strong cross-sectoral element, which has been a hallmark of our research for several years.

The severe turbulence experienced in the EU and Europe throughout 2015 has left us with no shortage of subjects. The year saw a solidification of the governance framework for EMU, but only after a long, acrimonious debate during the first half, which finally led to several dramatic decisions taken by Greece. The second half of 2015 also witnessed the refugee crisis, which has weakened the free movement of persons, another pillar of the EU. And the challenges remain high. 2016 will present further tests of whether the EU institutions can strengthen the argument for (more) Europe, with the British referendum as the most emblematic challenge. But many other goals of the Juncker Commission will also remain high on the EU agenda.

Digitalisation increasingly cuts across sectors and affects policy debates in many areas. It is a major factor of fundamental change for a growing number of industries, from information technology and retail to finance, manufacturing, utilities and healthcare. Its expanding reach fundamentally affects the debates on privacy and data protection, and on homeland security. Designing the appropriate framework for digitalisation is thus of crucial importance, but at the same time it is extremely difficult given the fast-changing character of the field.

Migration will continue to be the primary policy issue for the coming year. Our experts will be available to offer thoughtful reactions on day-to-day developments at member state and EU level, and to champion what they see as the most desirable outcome, namely a strengthening of Europe’s external borders and border guards, a truly common visa regime and an EU-wide system for personal data collection. In the more medium term, we will explore how large immigrant inflows affect European society, labour markets and EU institutional debates.

On the external side, the main focus will be on Europe’s relations with its eastern and south-eastern neighbourhood, where security concerns might dominate, providing further tests of the EU’s ambition to develop a common foreign and security policy. 

Chief Executive Officer