75th Anniversary

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ISSUE Nº 4

"If we draw lessons from the strengths and shortcomings of democratic politics in today’s world, we can find ways to reconnect people to the public interest and reshape the European Union they need for the future."

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Guy VERHOFSTADT

The CoFoE is underway establishing the composition of the Plenary and the Citizens’ Panels. Which MEPs will be joining the Plenary? What will be debated? On which dates? Here the latest news!

1.The Plenary Composition unveiled 

The Conference Plenary will be composed of 108 representatives from the European Parliament, 54 from the Council (two per Member State) and 3 from the European Commission, as well as 108 representatives from all national Parliaments on an equal footing, and citizens. 108 citizens will participate to discuss ideas stemming from the Citizens' Panels and the Multilingual Digital Platform, along with the President of the European Youth Forum.

This graphic illustrates what the plenary session of the Conference on the Future of Europe will look like. 

Political parties have been gradually revealing which MEPs will  attend the Conference. The European Parliament has already decided how many will join for each political group. In this sense, there will be 28 delegates from the European People's Party, 23 from the Socialists and Democrats group, 15 from Renew Europe, 11 delegates from Identity and Democracy, 11 MEPs from the Greens, 9 from ECR, 6 from the Left and 5 from non-attached. 

As announced already last week, UEF is  honoured and delighted that our President, MEP Sandro GOZI, and our Vice-President, MEP Domènec RUIZ DEVESA, have been elected to represent the European Parliament in the Plenary of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

2.Inaugural Plenary, 1st Citizens’ event and Calendar of Meetings 

The Executive Board approved last week the calendar of Plenary meetings and European Citizens' Panels, with the series of events starting in June.

The inaugural Conference Plenary will take place on 19 June 2021, in Strasbourg, with remote and physical participation, and will include presentations on the European Citizens' Panels and on the Multilingual Digital Platform.

A European citizens' event, will be held on 17 June 2021 in Lisbon, and live streamed online. This will be composed of 27 representatives from national Citizens' Panels or national events (one per Member State), as well as the President of the European Youth Forum and a number of the citizens already selected for the European-level Citizens' Panels. The event, also organised in a blended format, will give participants the opportunity to discuss their expectations from the Conference with the three Co-Chairs. These participants will also attend the inaugural Plenary in Strasbourg.

The Executive Board today also took note of the final practical modalities for the four planned European Citizens' Panels, including the topics allocated to each:

  • PANEL 1: Values, rights, rule of law, democracy, security;
  • PANEL 2: Climate change, environment/health;
  • PANEL 3: Stronger economy, social justice, jobs/education, youth, culture, sport/digital transformation; and
  • PANEL 4: EU in the world/migration.

They have also agreed on the official calendar of the Conference. Here are all the dates:

In addition, guidance was prepared to assist Member States and others wishing to organise citizens' panels and other events at national, regional or local level, under the umbrella of the Conference.

3.UEF 1st Political Proposal

UEF has published its first political proposal into the CoFoE digital platform. This time, we are calling for the abolition of the right of veto and we demand an assignment of direct powers to the European Parliament in taxation and foreign policy.

Democracy is not compatible with the right of veto. Replacing unanimity with qualified majority decisions is therefore one of the indispensable reforms for the full democratisation of the European Union.

In the current Treaties in particular, unanimity is still required in two crucial areas: taxation (where the size of the Union budget and the nature and extent of the resources that finance it are decided unanimously by the Council and this decision must then be ratified by all the member states; unanimity is also required for approval of the Multiannual Financial Framework) and foreign and defence policy (where every decision is taken by the Council or the European Council with the unanimous consent of all the states).

In these two areas, the time has come to structurally change the EU's decision-making system and abolish the unanimity rule. This means replacing the current forms of coordination between the national governments (which are the real cause of the existence of the veto right) with a fully democratic European government, accountable to and controlled by the European citizens. For this to happen - in addition to reforming the decision-making system in the Council and the European Council - the European Parliament must be given direct power so that it can assume the role of co-legislator and so that the Union can legislate on these matters through acts directly applicable in the member states.

Check out the UEF’s proposal here. We encourage you to engage and discuss it not only on the platform but also in our upcoming events! Stay tuned!

4.Slovenian EU Council presidency

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša, whose country is set to take over the rotating EU Council Presidency, has admitted that the EU needs a “relaunch”. A Slovene presidency priority, he revealed, will be to set up an EU Institute for Constitutional Law to crack down on breaches of the rule of law.

The EU has found itself at loggerheads on this issue with Poland and Hungary, but  Mr Janša, did not mention any particular Member States.

On Wednesday, Mr Jansa also stated that the new Conference on the EU’s Future would be an opportunity to breathe new life into the “European Project” and that “it’s important because it fits into the post pandemic phase and the relaunch of our economies.”

5.Civil Society Speaks Up 

The launch of the Conference on the Future of Europe marks a turning point in the life of the Union. In this context, many organisations, think tanks and politicians are giving their opinion on how the Conference should be and what’s more important, the final outcome and follow-up of it. 

How to co-opt the Conference on the Future of Europe    

Wojciech Przybylski (Visegrad Insight editor-in-chief and chairman of the Res Publica Foundation in Warsaw) discusses how the CoFoE is vulnerable to being hijacked by governments laundering their policies through friendly NGOs.

Could 'Future Europe' conference actually help fix climate change?

Dr Nils Meyer-Ohlendorf (head of international and European governance at the Ecologic Institute) reflects on how can the EU better help member states and their citizens in addressing the big challenges of the future - such as climate change? 

Time to rethink EU democracy

To regain people’s trust in democracy, we need to fundamentally revisit the way our democracies work. The Conference on the Future of Europe is a chance to update the way Brussels does politics, Guy Verhofstadt and Dacian Cioloș write.

Long odds on a successful conference

Dick Roche (former minister of state for European affairs when Ireland conducted the two referendums on the Treaty of Lisbon of the EU) establishes a comparison between the position in which the European Union is today and that in which Ireland found itself in 2001, following the rejection of the Nice Treaty in a referendum.

 

ISSUE Nº 3

"The Conference is not a panacea or a solution to all problems. We must listen to all voices, whether they are critical or complementary. But I do believe that this Conference is a real opportunity to bring Europeans together and unite around a common ambition for our future, just as previous generations did"

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 Ursula VON DER LEYEN

The Conference on the Future of Europe has begun. Over the coming year, Europeans are being asked for their input to shape the future of the European Union. Let us build together a stronger, more resilient, more democratic and more united Europe.

After launching the Digital Platform, the interest that citizens have shown has been very reassuring. In its first three weeks, the platform has gathered 7,600 participants, which have published more than 1500 suggestions. So far,  they have organised more than 400 events and forums, and the number of people interested in participating is growing every day.

1. Rules of the game

The Conference Executive Board approved on 9 May the Rules of Procedure that set out the composition of the Plenary of the Conference on the Future of Europe, and how it will work.

The Conference Plenary will be composed of:

  • 108 representatives from the European Parliament,
  • 54 from the Council (two per Member State) and 3 from the European Commission,
  • as well as 108 representatives from all national Parliaments on an equal footing, and citizens.
  • 108 Citizens will also participate to discuss citizens' ideas stemming from the citizens' panels and the Multilingual Digital Platform: 80 representatives from the European Citizens’ Panels, of which at least one-third will be younger than 25, and 27 from national Citizens’ Panels or Conference events (one per Member State), as well as the President of the European Youth Forum.
  • Some 18 representatives from both the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee, and another eight from both social partners and civil society will also take part, while the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy will be invited when the international role of the EU is discussed. Representatives of key stakeholders may also be invited. The Conference Plenary will be gender-balanced.

Their exchanges will be structured thematically around recommendations from the Citizens’ Panels and input gathered from the Multilingual Digital Platform. The Platform is the single place where input from all Conference-related events will be collected, analysed and published. In due course, the Plenary will submit its proposals to the Executive Board, who will draw up a report in full collaboration and full transparency with the Plenary, and which will be published on the Multilingual Digital Platform.

The final outcome of the Conference will be presented in a report to the Joint Presidency. The three institutions will examine swiftly how to follow up effectively this report, each within their own sphere of competences and in accordance with the Treaties.

2. Official launch of the Conference

On May 9, European Union presidents finally opened the CoFoE in Strasbourg, France, after it was cancelled more than a year ago due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The Presidents of the EU institutions delivered speeches on their vision for Europe, following a welcome speech by President Macron, while the Co-Chairs of the Executive Board answered questions posed by citizens from across EU Member States. 27 Erasmus students from across the EU, together with members of the Conference's Executive Board were physically present in the Parliament’s hemicycle, and over 500 citizens attended the event remotely through large TV screens. Ministers for European affairs, Members of the European Parliament and national parliaments, and other VIP guests also joined remotely. 

At the opening, EU presidents agreed to draw lessons from the health emergency in order to act more quickly in the face of possible new crises, invest in research and science, and move towards greater integration of the community bloc.

"It would be a defeat to leave this conference without a response to health," said the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, pointing to lessons to be learned more than a year after the world was shocked by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Macron, host of the event, advocated strengthening the bloc's economic and political model, which he believes has benefited the European community in times of crisis, at least compared to other nations. "Our model is our strength and we have managed to resist together. We have managed a rapid response together, we built a vaccination campaign and we made it happen," the French head of state maintained. However, Macron also urged to act faster to end the emergency, acquire greater competences in areas such as health and address "essential" issues such as research and investments.

According to President von der Leyen, "The conference is not a panacea or a solution to all problems. We must listen to all voices, whether they are critical or complementary, it is a real opportunity to bring Europeans together and unite around a common ambition for our future."

Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa stressed that citizens are looking for the EU to focus on providing direct answers to concrete problems. 

This position was echoed by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who said that "the point is that the EU must be what Europeans want it to be", while she especially encouraged young people to have their say after more than a year of pandemic.

Watch specific segments by clicking on the corresponding links below:

3. Civil society speaks up

During this week a bunch of civil society organisations as well as european personalities have raised their voices on the CoFoE calling for action.

Former High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, said to Euractiv that the Conference on the Future of Europe will provide a valuable framework to redefine the EU’s international role. However, to find the right answers, we must first ask the right questions. The Conference on the Future of Europe can catalyse much-needed reflection on how to revamp the EU’s external action. But, most importantly, if the EU wants to secure its position as a top-tier geopolitical player, it should overcome self-doubt and learn by doing, writes Javier Solana.

The Conference on the Future of Europe can contribute to this process if it genuinely and concretely involves our local communities and if it gives voice to people in our regions, cities and villages. This is key to avoid a top-down exercise that would only feed the demagogic and anti-European false narrative of populists and eurosceptics. With the CoFoE, the European Committee of the Regions, would like to establish a strong regional and local dimension of the entire conference in all EU member states, by engaging with citizens at regional and local level.

Former member of the European Parliament and former President of the Union of European Federalists Andrew Duff, arguesthat #Sofagate was more than a mishap but exposed a fundamental flaw in the Lisbon treaty’s formula of two executive presidents of the EU. He anticipates another institutional crisis in 2024 unless decisions are taken in advance to shrink the size of the Commission and to let the new Commission President chair the European Council. He calls for a fruitful debate on institutional reforms at the heart of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

UEF, together with the Spinelli Group and supported by the European Movement International, we have launched the Appeal “Our federal Europe: sovereign and democratic”, in which we have summarised our ideas for the future. Today, we need and want a strong, legitimate, and properly financed political Union that can tackle the great transnational challenges of our time, acting decisively in a wide range of policy areas, from climate change, growing social inequalities, health and migration to foreign affairs and defence. Moreover, we are calling for stronger pan-European democracy — real European political parties and movements and proper campaigns for European elections, based on the creation of a pan-European constituency and transnational electoral lists headed by the candidates for President of the European Commission. We are striving for a Union that is both a community of destiny and values and a model for the new world now taking shape - an example of how countries can live in peace together, build cross-border and social solidarity, and protect human rights, the rule of law, and fundamental freedoms.

The initial signatories were: Sandro GOZI, Brando BENIFEI, Eva MAYDELL, Esteban GONZÁLEZ PONS, Domènec RUIZ DEVESA, Gabriele BISCHOFF, Pascal DURAND, Daniel FREUND, Damian BOESELAGER, Dimitrios PAPADIMOULIS, Fabio Massimo CASTALDO.

By the time of the official launch of the Future of Europe Conference, more than 450 high-level personalities had joined the appeal. An overview of the list is available here.

4. EU Survey

A new Special Eurobarometer, published one day before the signing of the Joint Declaration by the Presidents of the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission, focusses on the Conference on the Future of Europe, measuring attitudes towards it and some of the key themes to be covered. This Conference aims to create a new public forum for an open, inclusive, transparent and structured debate with Europeans around the issues that matter to them and affect their everyday lives. The survey, conducted between October and November 2020 by Kantar, has been commissioned jointly by the European Parliament and the European Commission.

Two days ahead of the launch of the Conference on the Future of Europe, Parliament today published the results of its Eurobarometer survey on the future of Europe.

Around eight in ten Europeans (81%) agree that the Conference should prioritise dealing with how the EU could better handle crises such as the coronavirus outbreak, including more than a third (38%) who strongly agree.

Europeans who are willing to get involved in the Conference on the future of Europe would foremost like to do so through meetings in their local area, such as citizens’ debates or assemblies (44%). Citizens could contribute to the Conference’s ideas gathering process by answering a survey (34%), by putting forward ideas and proposals to European and national politicians (31%) and by taking part in online consultations via discussion platforms (30%), those surveyed said.

More than eight in ten Europeans (83%) agree that the Conference should specifically involve young people to foster new ideas, including four in ten (40%) who totally agreed.

5. What’s next?

The Executive Board will soon set the date for the first Conference Plenary meeting. Preparations for the Citizens’ Panels are underway, while the number of participants and events on the Conference’s Multilingual Digital Platform continue to grow. The Conference is committed to give maximum space to young people and in this vein, preparations for the European Youth Event organised by the European Parliament in October also continue.

 

ISSUE Nº2

In the health domain the EU needs more powers and competences and that may necessitate treaty change. That would be important and I am always open to treaty change”

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel

1. The Citizens’ Platform

After over a year of intra-institutional infighting, lots of fine-tuning, vague goals, a postponed start and yet undecided physical formats, the digital platform of the Conference on the Future of Europe was finally launched on Monday 19 April.

The platform provides a digital space for citizens to interact and exchange ideas on how they see the future of Europe, and directly feeds in the Conference’s panel discussions.

Following a bottom-up approach, the platform will be the central hub of the Conference, bringing together all citizens’ contribution. To allow for a truly pan-European discussion, it will be available in all 24 EU official languages through immediate translation.

In keeping with the inter-institutional nature of the Conference, the platform was launched in a joint press conference  with the three co-chairs of the Conference’s Executive Board: Commission Vice-President Dubravka Šuica, MEP Guy Verhofstadt, and Portuguese Secretary of State Ana Paula Zacarias.

The Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt pointed out the symbolic significance of the launch: a day after the 70th anniversary of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the supranational organisation created after World War II that is now considered the embryo of the European Union.

Platform users have to abide by a Conference Charter  to ensure a respectful and inclusive exchange of ideas. 

As a citizen-led exercise, the platform will be open to all European citizens who are interested in joining an event, exchanging ideas or organising an event to discuss what should be the EU positions on the nine key topics.

The selection of the most relevant ideas discussed on the platform will be powered by artificial intelligence and these ideas will then feed into the citizens’ panel discussions that will be one of the building blocks of the conference.

The European Commission is committed to following up on whatever request might be made by the European citizens, hence not excluding a possible charge of the Treaties. If successful, the online platform might become a permanent public consultation tool.

The interactive platform will stimulate discussion. Regular panels will be regularly organised between citizens, experts, elected representatives and other stakeholders to analyse and reflect on the ideas and recommendations. The main proposals will be then brought to the conference's high body, the plenary, for final consideration.

You can have your say on the future of the European Union here

UEF has been the first political organization to submit a  proposal  in the platform. 

2. Citizen’s Panels

At the third meeting of the Executive Board, the representatives of the European Parliament, Council of the EU and the European Commission endorsed the Conference’s Rules of Procedure regarding the European citizens' panels, and in relation to the Principles and the Scope of the Conference.

Each panel will comprise 200 citizens and will ensure that at least one female and one male citizen per Member State is included. Citizens will be chosen randomly to set up panels that are representative of the EU’s diversity, in terms of geographic origin, gender, age, socioeconomic background and level of education. Young people between 16 and 25 will make up one-third of each panel.

3. The Conference Launching Event

The event formally launching the Conference on the Future of Europe on Europe Day (9 May) is set to be a ‘hybrid’ of online and physical participation because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It will be broadcasted live, and will feature remote citizen participation.

The Conference launching event will be chaired by the Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, because he holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU until 30 June, the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. 

The grand opening of the Conference on the Future of Europe will feature the French President Emmanuel Macron as the first speaker, as president of the host country of the European Parliament’s Strasbourg seat. 

4. Youth Ideas

The Youth Outreach Unit of the European Parliament has built an  online platform where you can outline your own ideas on the issues that Europe is facing today and your ideas for the Europe of tomorrow. The aim of the platform is to make it easier for youth to participate actively in the CoFoE.

5. Merkel Open to Treaty Changes

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday 21st April that she would be open to making changes to the EU's founding treaties, particularly in the area of health policy, and urged the bloc to find ways to make its foreign policy more efficient.

"I believe that Europe needs more competencies in the area of health. This will probably also require changes to the treaties," Merkel said at an event organized by the European People's Party, which discussed potential EU reforms that could also come up as part of the  Conference on the Future of Europe

The chancellor also reiterated  previous calls  for reforming EU treaties in the area of competition policy to facilitate the creation of so-called European champions that can compete with bigger rivals from China or the U.S. Merkel said the EU could also reform the way it makes decisions on certain policies to make the process more efficient, such as by changing the threshold for approval from unanimity to a qualified majority. On foreign policy, Merkel said that “unanimity can also be abandoned on certain issues." 

The EU committees of the French National Assembly and the German Bundestag demanded that the plenary of the Conference on the Future of Europe, gets the final say over what makes the cut — not its executive board in a joint statement

6. What’s next?

Following the launch of the multilingual digital platform enabling all European Union (EU) citizens to participate in the Future of Europe Conference, The Commissioner for Democracy and Demography Dubravca Šuica pointed to “awareness raising” as “the next big step”.

“The platform allows citizens to start getting involved now, without further delay. After this morning, we have over 3,000 contributions on the platform, which means it is a good tool in times of pandemic”.

The next meeting of the Executive Board is scheduled to take place on 9 May in Strasbourg. Nevertheless, additional meetings might still be scheduled in the weeks before.

ISSUE Nº1

1. Introduction

The Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) is a European Union (EU) initiative aimed at reforming its policies and institutions, following large-scale consultations across the continent. Initially presented by President Emmanuel Macron in March 2019, the proposal was subsequently taken up by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who included it in her vision for the European Commission's (EC) mandate for the 2019-2024 period.

The European Council referred to the Conference in December 2019, stressing that it should be held between 2020-2022 and deliver concrete results to citizens.

In January 2020, the European Parliament adopted its position on the Conference, calling for it to be an open forum without a predetermined outcome and for its recommendations to be turned into actions, including a possible amendment of the EU Treaties.

Also in January 2020, the EC proposed May 9, 2020 as the start date for the Conference and two years as the total duration. The EC concept included two parallel work streams for the CoFoE, one focused on EU priorities in different areas such as climate change, the economy, equality, digitalization, European values, the EU's global role and democratic foundations; while the second related to democratic and institutional processes, such as the system of leading candidates (known as Spitzenkandidaten) or transnational lists for European elections.

In June 2020, the EU Council adopted its position on the Conference, calling for an inclusive process, but stating that its results should not necessarily imply changing the Treaties.

2. Current Status

After an initial deadlock due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing public health crisis, the Conference suffered another major hurdle: the appointment of the Conference President. This was because the Council rejected the candidacy of the federalist MEP and former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, proposed by the European Parliament, without offering any alternative. For several months under the German Presidency of the Council of the EU (July-December 2020), the message coming from the institutions was that a Joint Declaration - a document defining the objectives, scope, structure and timing of the Conference - was almost ready and that only agreement on the leadership of the Presidency was needed for the CoFoE to get underway.

However, it was not until February 3 of this year, during the Portuguese Presidency of the EU Council (January-June 2021), that EU ambassadors reiterated the Council's previous position, but this time calling for an imminent launch of the CoFoE. They proposed, on the other hand, a joint presidency of the EP, EC and Council presidents. 

Finally, the presidents of the EP, the EC and the Council adopted a Joint Declaration on the Conference on the Future of Europe on March 4. The Joint Declaration was signed by the three institutions on March 10, 2021.

With this Declaration, the CoFoE will be officially launched on May 9, Europe Day, and will end, in theory, in the spring of 2022 with the French Presidency of the Council of the EU (January-June 2022). The objectives, principles, governance and methodology of the Conference are described in the Joint Declaration.

3. What will the Conference consist of and where will it take place?

The CoFoE will not consist of a single Conference or event, but of a series of physical and digital meetings, panels and debates involving European citizens.

Both physical and online events may be organized at different transnational, national and regional levels. At the European level, the institutions will be in charge of organizing the citizens' panels, which will be broadcast. All events will be conducted in collaboration with civil society and stakeholders. 

4. The digital platform

In addition, all contributions from the events will be collected, discussed and published on a multilingual digital platform that will be officially launched on April 19. The platform will allow European citizens to contribute with their views on any topic they consider important for the future of the EU. According to the European Commission, the platform has been developed with the threat of disinformation in mind and will be monitored by a team of moderators. Thus, the platform will allow citizens to put forward their ideas and also to comment on those of others, as well as to create and participate in events. Citizens will need to sign up to a charter of EU values and principles in an effort to avoid hate speech and disinformation on the site. The proposals will be discussed at the Conference Plenary, composed of representatives of EU institutions, national parliaments and citizens. 

5. Which citizens will be able to participate? 

Any citizen will be able to take part in the events. The Declaration ensures that there will be an equitable distribution of representatives in terms of several factors: geography, gender, age, socioeconomic background and/or level of education. In addition, young people will play an essential role through events especially dedicated to them, as the role of this sector of the population is essential for the lasting impact of the Conference. 

6. Who will chair the Conference?

The Conference has a triple joint presidency, composed of the Presidents of the EC, the EP and the rotating Presidency of the Council, namely Ursula von der LEYEN, David SASSOLI and Antonio COSTA.

The Executive Board, which will take decisions by consensus and will be assisted by a Joint Secretariat, will oversee the work of the Conference and prepare the plenary meetings of the Conference, including the follow-up of citizens' contributions. The President of the European Parliament and the leaders of the political groups approved on 17 March the composition of this board: first of all, Guy VERHOFSTADT (Renew Europe, BE), Manfred WEBER (EPP, DE) and Iratxe GARCÍA PÉREZ (S&D, ES). The following MEPs will have observer roles: Gerolf ANNEMANS (ID, BE), Daniel FREUND (Greens/EFA, DE), Zdzisław KRASNODĘBSKI (ECR, PL) and Helmut SCHOLZ (The Left, DE).

The Joint Secretariat is composed of Ana Paula ZACARIAS, representing the Council, Commissioner Dubravka ŠUICA, representing the Commission and MEP Guy VERHOFSTADT representing the Parliament. 

The Plenary Assembly of the Conference, whose composition is not yet known, will meet every six months to ensure that citizens' proposals are discussed in the forum.  

7. What topics will be discussed?

Proposed areas of discussion include: 

  • Building a healthy continent. 
  • The fight against climate change and environmental challenges, 
  • An economy that works for people, social justice, equality and intergenerational solidarity, 
  • Digital transformation, 
  • Rights and values, including the rule of law, 
  • Migration, 
  • Security, 
  • The role of the EU in the world, 
  • The democratic foundations of the Union, 
  • The strengthening of the democratic processes governing the EU, 
  • Possible cross-cutting issues related to better regulation, application of subsidiarity and proportionality, implementation and enforcement of the acquis and transparency. 
  • In addition, citizens will be free to raise additional issues beyond these proposals, as long as they are on areas where the EU has the capacity to act or where action would have benefits for European citizens.

Given this last statement in the Joint Declaration, we are faced with the question of the reform of the Treaties. Reform of the Treaties yes or reform of the Treaties no? It is difficult to say for sure at this stage. While the EP has clearly opted for this, the Council has been more than reticent on this issue and the EC has not expressed itself in any way. The Council's initial position made it clear that this was not a possibility at all. However, in the final Declaration there is no mention of this condition, which was previously sine qua non for the Council to approve the launching of the Conference, nor is there any explicit veto of this idea. Moreover, it seems that the statement that "citizens will be free to raise additional issues" reflects that the door is open. 

8. What happens after the Conference and what can we expect from the results obtained? 

The Plenary will prepare a series of recommendations for the EU to follow up the Conference. The Presidents of the EP, the Council and the EC have committed themselves to follow up the recommendations of the Conference within their competences and respecting the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. 

 

Links

Official documents:

Research and academic papers:

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