On Wednesday, 12 May 2021, the Institut Aspen France and EY had the pleasure of welcoming Alexander Stubb, Former Prime Minister of Finland, for a webinar in the Geopolitical Zoom series on the theme « Conference on the Future of Europe: What is at Stake? »
When the Conference on the Future of Europe was announced at the end of 2019, its objective was to offer European citizens a chance to share views and critiques of the EU and their expectations about the role and the place of the EU on the world stage and the remaking of the world order, thereby leading to potential institutional changes and improvements ahead of the 2024 European Parliament elections. With Europe now entering into the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic, and conclusions still a year away, now is the time to take stock of unanswered questions and potential scenarios.
How has interaction among EU institutions – from the European Council to the Commission and Parliament – shaped the Conference? How will citizen-generated recommendations be implemented? What has been the pandemic’s impact on perceptions of Europe? What should be done about varying levels of support from member states for the Conference? How will it determine the direction of the EU in the coming years?
Alexander Stubb has served as Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Foreign Minister, Trade and Europe Minister of Finland. He was a Member of the European Parliament from 2004-2008 and in the national government from 2008-16 and was the Chairman of the National Coalition Party from 2014-16.
Alexander Stubb served as Vice-President of the European Investment Bank from 2017-20. The European Investment Bank is the lending arm of the European Union and the biggest multilateral financial institution in the world and one of the largest providers of climate finance.
Stubb’s background is in academia and civil service. He has published 16 books, 11 of those on the European Union. He holds a Ph.D. From the London School of Economics and Political Science. He worked as an expert adviser at the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Helsinki and in Brussels, and in President Romano Prodi’s team at the European Commission.
His expertise includes European and International Affairs, Foreign and Security Policy, the Euro and the Global Economy. His current interests are global affairs, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (digitalisation, robotisation and artificial intelligence) and health. He chaired the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development which is responsible for promoting national and international sustainable development goals, and works to encourage society’s commitment to and involvement in sustainable development.
Aside from politics, Alexander Stubb is passionate about “Mind, Body and Happiness”. He believes that the inextricable link between the three should impact our lifestyle. As an avid athlete and Ironman competitor himself, Stubb advocates the view that a healthy body is essential to a healthy mind, with happiness and the success of all of our other endeavours stemming from this bond.
Stubb sits on the 12-member World Happiness Council, convened by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The other council members are Unesco director-general Irina Bukova; Professor Lord Layard, director of the Wellbeing Programme of the London School of Economic’s Centre for Economic Performance; Professor John Heliwell of the University of British Columbia, Professor Martin Seligman, director of the Penn Positive Psychology Centre; and Dr Aisha bin Bishr, director- general of the Smart Dubai Office.