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2024 Concordia Europe Summit

It was a thought-provoking event and such a great pleasure to attend the 2024 Concordia Europe Summit, held in Porto, Portugal, on 28-29 May 2024. I thoroughly enjoyed conversations focused on three key themes: The Energy Transition; Economic Growth & Competitiveness; and, Cooperation, Peace & Security. The Summit leveraged different networks of business and social leaders, along with key government officials from around Europe and beyond, to forge critical connection points and foster a community of stakeholders to build regional unity in Europe. 

I am delighted to share the following insights:

As the global power balance undergoes a significant shift, Europe is faced with a pivotal moment in defining its role in the international arena. A more complex and multipolar world is emerging, with regional powers gaining influence. In this evolving landscape, regional partners are playing an increasingly important role in mediating tensions that major superpowers have found challenging to resolve, such as ongoing wars in Ukraine and Gaza. Institutions like NATO serve as pillars for collective defence and platforms for enhancing strategic collaboration.

Europe is experiencing complex and multifaceted challenges arising from heightened migration. As migration continues to increase, it is paramount to address the pervasive issues of racist violence and scapegoating comprehensively. Additionally, there is an urgent need to tackle the diverse and evolving forms of human trafficking and exploitation occurring at the borders.

Amid inflationary pressures, it is imperative to enhance economic and social resilience across industries. This involves fostering a competitive environment, increasing market flexibility, strengthening trade and commercial activity with strategic partners, and investing in research and development, re-industrialisation, and productivity growth. Emphasising digitalisation and innovation will require coordinated efforts across sectors to bolster Europe’s resilience to future disruptions.

In 2018, the European Union, along with many countries on the continent, made a commitment to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050. Legislative measures across the region, such as the UK’s Build Back Greener strategy and various National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) across the Western Balkans, along with the EU’s European Green Deal, aim to align Europe with its climate-neutral ambitions while sustaining economic growth and social cohesion. However, there is still progress to be made, particularly in the energy sector, which remains a significant contributor to the European economy’s carbon footprint.

Europe’s future energy strategy is focused on accelerating the transition away from fossil fuels, particularly in light of current geopolitical developments. To achieve the EU’s long-term vision of a prosperous, modern, and climate-neutral economy by 2050, all sectors must invest in sustainable and affordable energy, decarbonize infrastructure, diversify supply, and engage in green diplomacy. Collaboration with partners across the African Union, the Gulf States, the U.S., and beyond is crucial for European governments and businesses to achieve the desired targets for a clean and secure future.

A new industrial revolution is underway, driven by emerging technologies and digital transitions, impacting various sectors across the transatlantic landscape. To remain competitive and strategically autonomous, it is essential for European governments and private industries to strengthen collaboration, leveraging resources for collective interests and long-term capacity building, particularly with key allies such as the United States.