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Experts from all over the world gathered in Florence for the 14th edition of the State of the Union conference to discuss the priorities for the upcoming European term. With the European elections approaching, it has become increasingly important to debate the most pressing issues facing the bloc. This year, economic policies, digital transitions, and green transitions were at the forefront of the agenda. Speakers from various backgrounds came together to reflect on what has been accomplished so far and what Europe should focus on in the next political term. Erik Jones, Director of the Robert Schuman Centre, emphasized the need for a vision for Europe’s future that can unite Europeans and generate the energy needed to tackle challenges.

The new geopolitical order resulting from the war in Ukraine has raised questions about the need for a European defence and the future of enlargement. In light of these developments, EU elections are seen as an opportunity to defend European values and democracies and combat misinformation. Věra Jourová, Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, highlighted the various threats such as espionage, disinformation, and AI that seek to undermine trust in democratic systems. She stressed the importance of protecting trust as it is the most valuable value that we have. Regardless of any potential manipulation in the elections, it is clear that more needs to be done in the future to safeguard trust in European institutions.

The State of the Union conference provided a platform for experts to come together and discuss a range of pressing issues facing the European Union. With the upcoming elections, there is a sense of urgency to address key topics such as economic policies, digital transitions, and green transitions. The conference also served as a forum to consider the impact of the war in Ukraine on the geopolitical landscape and its implications for European defence and enlargement. The need to defend European values and democracies, as well as combat misinformation, was a key focus for many officials attending the event.

One of the central themes of the State of the Union conference was the importance of having a vision for Europe’s future that can unite Europeans and provide the necessary energy to overcome challenges. Erik Jones highlighted the need for a cohesive vision that goes beyond technical solutions and can bring Europeans together in pursuit of common goals. The conference also touched on the role of trust in democratic systems and the dangers posed by threats such as espionage, disinformation, and AI. Věra Jourová stressed the need to protect trust as the most valuable asset, regardless of any potential manipulation in the upcoming elections.

As Europe faces a rapidly changing geopolitical landscape, it is essential for policymakers and experts to come together to address the most urgent issues facing the European Union. The State of the Union conference provided a platform for discussions on economic policies, digital transitions, and green transitions, as well as the impact of the war in Ukraine on European defence and enlargement. With the upcoming elections, there is a heightened focus on defending European values and democracies, as well as combating misinformation. The need for a united vision for Europe’s future and the protection of trust in democratic systems were key themes that emerged from the conference.

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