#SOU2021: Europe as a Global Player

The State of the Union conference, organised by the European University Institute, is an annual event for high-level reflection on the European Union, renowned for fostering global connections and conversations, disseminating expert knowledge and providing excellent networking opportunities in the beautiful setting of Florence.

Each year the city becomes a hub of debate as experts of great institutional and academic relevance, business, think tank and opinion leaders, journalists and representatives of civil society gather to discuss the key challenges and opportunities facing Europe and Europeans.

Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the 2021 edition will revolve around the theme ‘Europe as a global player’. #SOU2021 will delve into discussions about the EU’s position in a rapidly changing world, characterised by rising concerns over global commons, a shifting economic and geopolitical power balance, major challenges to multilateralism and the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis. The rules-based international order is increasingly being put into question; great-power rivalry is on the rise; and the effects of already locked-in climate change and its underpinning, untreated causes loom large. New, more polycentric modes of global governance are emerging, whose robustness and effectiveness remain uncertain. The future of the EU and its ability to meet the needs of its citizens in large part will depend on how it succeeds in upgrading its role in this international environment.

Over the course of two days, high-level addresses and parallel sessions will see experts and world leaders analyse the EU’s role on the global stage, and the challenges and opportunities it poses for a host of policy areas including Migration, Climate, Finance, Gender, Public Health, Currency, Artificial Intelligence, Peace and Development.

The conference will build on the successes of the 2020 digital edition to make the conference interactive and available for a global audience. It will also be supported by a rich programme of Fringe Events aimed at diversifying conference participants and creating new partnerships between the EUI and the local political environment.

Stay tuned for details of the programme.

The State of the Union 2021 conference will take place in Florence:

Thursday 6 May: Conference at the EUI
Friday 7 May: Conference at Palazzo Vecchio
Saturday 8 May: Open day at Villa Salviati

Click here to watch the 2020 special online edition of The State of the Union ‘Europe: Managing the COVID-19 Crisis’ for an expert response to the pandemic and its implications for health policy and society, the economy and global cooperation.