Megatrends: Key Forces Forging Our Future

A vision for Europe to prosper and best serve its citizens

Publishing date
03 February 2020

The global economy in the 21st century requires European leadership. Two decades of monetary union have underpinned a period of intense technological and societal change. To build on its achievements and lay the groundwork for future prosperity, Europe must step into a new leadership role that will allow it to shape global forces alongside peers in North America and Asia. Doing this effectively will require understanding and adapting to the fundamental forces at work.

Bruegel scholars have identified a series of overarching challenges that will touch every element of the European project along with economies and societies of Europe. The long-lasting effects of these ‘megatrends’ must be considered comprehensively. It’s time for new ideas that offer strategic solutions, to ensure that our societies continue to thrive.

About the authors

  • Guntram B. Wolff

    Guntram Wolff was the Director of Bruegel. Over his career, he has contributed to research on European political economy and governance, fiscal, monetary and financial policy, climate change and geoeconomics. Under his leadership, Bruegel has been regularly ranked among the top global think tanks and has grown in influence and impact with a team of now almost 40 recognized scholars and around 65 total staff. Bruegel is also recognized for its outstanding transparency.

    A recognized thought leader and academic, he regularly testifies at the European Finance Ministers' ECOFIN meeting, the European Parliament, the German Parliament (Bundestag) and the French Parliament (Assemblée Nationale). From 2012-16, he was a member of the French prime minister's Conseil d'Analyse Economique. In 2018, then IMF managing director Christine Lagarde appointed him to the external advisory group on surveillance to review the Fund’s priorities. In 2021, he was appointed to the G20 high level independent panel on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. He is also a professor (part-time) at the Solvay Brussels School of Université Libre de Bruxelles, where he teaches economics of European integration.

    He joined Bruegel from the European Commission, where he worked on the macroeconomics of the euro area and the reform of euro area governance. Prior to joining the Commission, he was coordinating the research team on fiscal policy at Deutsche Bundesbank. He also worked as an external adviser to the International Monetary Fund.

    He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Bonn and studied in Bonn, Toulouse, Pittsburgh and Passau. He taught economics at the University of Pittsburgh and at Université libre de Bruxelles. He has published numerous papers in leading academic journals. His columns and policy work are published and cited in leading international media and policy outlets. Guntram is fluent in German, English, French and has good notions of Bulgarian and Spanish.

  • Rebecca Christie

    Rebecca Christie joined Bruegel as a visiting fellow at Bruegel in March 2019 and currently she is a non-resident fellow at Bruegel. Prior, Rebecca was a political correspondent in Brussels for Bloomberg News from 2011 to 2016. Most recently she served as the lead author on the European Stability Mechanism's institutional history, "Safeguarding the Euro in Times of Crisis: the Inside Story of the ESM". She has also served as an expert adviser to a European Economic and Social Committee panel on taxation. She is an experienced panel moderator and has provided occasional reporting and radio commentary on Brexit to Irish broadcaster RTE and to the BBC.

    During a 22-year career in daily journalism, Rebecca wrote for a broad range of newspapers and wire services, from the Bend (Oregon) Bulletin to the UK-based Financial Times. She was a Washington correspondent for 7 years with Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal, covering the U.S. Treasury, the Federal Reserve and the Pentagon. She joined Bloomberg in 2008 as senior U.S. Treasury correspondent, a post she held for three years before moving to Europe.

    Rebecca studied classical languages at Duke University and public policy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. At Bruegel, Rebecca will be working on financial services policy and Brexit, and also collaborating with other scholars on a range of research topics.

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