The crisis of freedom of speech and gender equality (Poland and Hungary). The rise and influence of the far right. The impact of COVID-19 on public services and social inequalities. Challenges: financial crisis after COVID, climate emergency, migration, data and privacy, relationship with neighbourhood countries, future policy towards Russia. Reconnecting transatlantic relations. Projecting the EU through soft power: climate diplomacy, development cooperation, humanitarian aid and conflict resolution. Civil society networks. How can funders support?