Scientific Paper, nº. 35
In political, social and cultural terms, the Atlantic space is a puzzle. Cooperation in the Atlantic Basin will probably take place ‘à la carte’, rather than on the basis of a clear all-encompassing institutional design. Democracy is the prevalent form of government across the Atlantic, but with major regional variations and a predominance of hybrid or authoritarian regimes in Africa. Socio-economic challenges also differ considerably among Atlantic countries. Social inequalities within countries have been growing larger in recent years in both advanced and developing countries. Demography will be a critical factor for the future of the Atlantic, with Africa being the only region where high population growth rates are expected and Europe being the fastest ageing region. Beyond states, the influence of multinational companies, NGOs, social networks, sub-national entities (cities, regions) and migrant communities over government decisions and within multilateral organisations and fora is set to grow. Therefore, future convergence in the Atlantic Basin cannot be planned top-down, but needs to encompass and build on the perspectives and priorities of societal actors, from the bottom up.