The future of democracy in the European Union will largely be shaped by the way we embed digital technologies in our societies, economies, and political systems. To successfully shape the digital transformation on the basis of democratic values within the EU, it is crucial that we develop a shared vision of how to deal with data in the future.

Under the title "Digital Europe 2030: Data & Democracy," the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft has convened an interdisciplinary working group to explore the question of how the collection, analysis, and utilization of data can proceed to the benefit of our democratic societies in the future. Using various tools of strategic foresight, 13 experts from politics, business, academia, and civil society will design scenarios, formulate goals, develop roadmaps, and draft concrete ideas for policy options that will eventually be presented at the level of the European institutions.

The project constitutes the second iteration of the series “Digital Europe 2030” and builds on the results of our previous project on the topic “The Public Sphere and Digital Sovereignty”.


The way that member states embed digital technologies in their societies, economies and political systems is going to have a big impact on the future of democracy in the European Union (EU). So that we can successfully steer the digital transformation in the EU along a path aligned with democratic values, we need to come up with a shared vision of how we will engage with data and data sovereignty in the future. 
Businesses and other organisations can now use big data and methods like microtargeting to spread disinformation and polarise the public. This poses a particular threat to the integrity of elections, which are a vital element of any democracy.

Open, democratic societies with freedom of information and expression are especially susceptible to such influences. To safeguard these societies, we need to explore ways that data can be collected, analysed and used in the public interest. 


Across a series of workshops, thirteen experts are working to identify key factors and possible paths of development, devise basic scenarios and then flesh out a vision of a desirable future. Possible routes to this positive vision will emerge out of a process of ‘backcasting’. At the end of the project, the results will be published and then refined through further dialogue.

The methodology of the scenario-building process is being overseen by Dr Johannes Gabriel (Foresight Intelligence). The project is also supported by a sounding board. You can download the publication here.

Please feel free to contact Alexandra Hunger with any enquiries.


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Expert Group

Aline Blankertz is a data economist, senior consultant at the economic consultancy Oxera and co-founder of the non-profit SINE Foundation. She specialises in the analysis of digital markets and the promotion of data collaborations.

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Expert Group

Maria Blöcher leads the Work4Germany fellowship programme at DigitalService4Germany, which brings together digital talent from the business sector with ministry staff to promote digital capacity building in public administration.

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Sounding Board

Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook, a German-American, has been Director of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) since June 2021. Previously, she was co-founder and served as the Executive Director of the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) for more than a decade. In the media, she regularly comments on topics of German and European foreign policy as well as technology policy.

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Expert Group

Georg Diez is editor-in-chief at The New Institute, a platform for shaping societal change founded in 2020. In addition, Georg Diez is a writer and journalist. His latest book "Power to the People" (with Emanuel Heisenberg) deals with the possibilities of renewing democracy through new technologies.

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Sounding Board

Dr Florence Gaub is Deputy Director of the European Union Institute for Security Studies. Previously, she worked at the NATO Defense College. Throughout her research career, she has observed conflicts and wars in the Middle East and North Africa and studied institutional change and geopolitical shifts. In 2019, she authored the report "Global Trends to 2030" for the European Union Foresight Network.

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Expert Group

Hanna Israel is a journalist and project manager of the international platform "My Country Talks" of ZEIT ONLINE, with which she wants to bring the deliberative moment of democracy back to the foreground and facilitate encounters between people who think differently. Previously, she was an editor at Anne Will and founded the online magazine InPerspective.

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Expert Group

Julia Kloiber is co-founder of the non-profit feminist organisation Superrr Lab. She currently researches inclusive and equitable digital futures. In recent years, she has launched a number of initiatives in the field of public good-oriented digitalisation, including the Prototype Fund and Code for Germany.

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Expert Group

Dr. Henriette Litta is Managing Director of the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany (OKF). OKF's goal is to strengthen the digital sovereignty of citizens, to enable democratic participation and to support an ethical approach to technology for the common good. She is a political scientist and previously worked for the Hertie School of governance during its start-up phase as well as for the think tank Expert Council on Migration.

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Sounding Board

Clark Parsons has been leading the Internet Economy Foundation as Managing Director since the beginning of 2016. The US-American began his career as a journalist in Nashville, Tennessee, and came to Germany in 1997 with a Robert Bosch scholarship. He was a media project manager and consultant for US and British media companies as well as a consultant at KPMG/Bearing Point. He also acted as executive director of the Berlin School of Creative Leadership for over six years, during which he helped to build the school's international reputation.

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Expert Group

Dr Julia Pohle has been a senior researcher in the research group "Politics of Digitalisation" at the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) since 2015 and a senior associate researcher at the Centre for Digitalisation, Democracy and Innovation at the Brussels School of Governance since 2021.

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Sounding Board

Dr Jana Puglierin has been Head of the Berlin Office and Senior Policy Fellow of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) since January 2020. Before joining ECFR, she headed the Alfred von Oppenheim Centre for European Policy Studies at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). She also leads the initiative Reshape: Global Europe of ECFR, which strives to develop new strategies for Europeans to understand and engage with the changing international order. In her latest policy brief ‘Beyond Merkelism’, she asks what Europeans expect from Germany after the 2021 Bundestag election. Furthermore, she is a board member of the German Atlantic Society and of the European Movement Germany.

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Expert Group

Isabel Skierka is Programme Manager for Technology Policy at the Digital Society Institute of ESMT Berlin. She also conducts research on digital governance and cybersecurity as a PhD Research Fellow at Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia and is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin.

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Expert Group

Ilya Skrylnikov is the founder and chair of the German-French Young Leaders Programme. He works at the German Foreign Office and is currently an exchange diplomat in the EU department of the French Foreign Ministry.

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Expert Group

Felix Styma is Managing Partner of the strategy consultancy iconomy, where he supports founders and digital ventures with their specific challenges. He is Senior Advisor at the Internet Economy Foundation, which he helped to establish as a leading think tank for regulatory issues related to the German and European startup and scaleup ecosystem.

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Expert Group

Dr Funda Tekin is a political scientist and director at the Institute for European Politics in Berlin. As an expert in the field of EU-Turkey relations, she is also project director in the Jean Monnet Network "VIADUCT - Enhancing Visibility of the Academic Dialogue on EU-Turkey Cooperation"

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Expert Group

Dr Thorsten Thiel has been head of the research group "Democracy and Digitalisation" at the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society and a research fellow at the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) since December 2017. His research focuses, among other topics, on the digital transformation of the public sphere, democratic innovations, and digital sovereignty.

Show content of von der Wippel, Philipp

Expert Group

Philipp von der Wippel is co-founder and managing director of ProjectTogether, a social acceleration platform for young visionaries. After graduating from high school, he worked for the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt and for the Federal Ministry of Finance in Berlin. He studied philosophy, political science and economics at Oxford University.

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Image ©Stefan Brending / Licence: / Edited by Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft

Sounding Board

Ulrich Wilhelm is a journalist and lawyer. In collaboration with acatech, Germany’s National Academy of Science and Engineering, he co-edited the impulse paper “European Public Sphere”, aimed at shaping Europe's digital sovereignty. He was the Director-General of Bavaria’s public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk until the end of January 2021 and assumed the chairmanship of the joint organization of Germany’s regional public-service broadcasters ARD from the beginning of 2018 to the end of 2019. From 2005 to 2010, he was head of the Federal Press Office and government spokesman for the Merkel I and Merkel II cabinets.