The Clingendael Strategic Monitor seeks to take a look at developments in the near future which are of strategic importance to the Netherlands. Obviously, it does so only within the bounds of what is possible, because individual events and incidents are usually unforeseen; developments are less so, but even so it is a fortunate researcher indeed who discovers a pattern of consistency and continuity in such developments that makes it possible to refer to ‘trends’.
Despite this, what trends are there with regard to Europe’s territorial integrity? What threats can be expected with any degree of certainty in the next five years? And how is the international order evolving? Understanding the context is a prerequisite for conducting foreign policy, and the ability to anticipate surprises and events (especially unpleasant ones) is the ultimate policy rationale for analysis and monitoring, ideally even managing and engineering favourable developments. In this thematic study we therefore start with a (European) threat assessment based on a number of key trends. Part 2 of this contribution describes how the international order is developing with regard to this theme – one that may be decisive.