On 29 and 30 April, the Conference on the Future of Europe Plenary session met for the last time and agreed to a set of 49 detailed proposals covering a wide range of subjects from climate change to health, migration and the EU in the world. This follows a yearlong exceptional journey of discussions, deliberations and collaboration by citizens from across Europe, on the kind of Europe they would like to live in.
The representatives of the European Parliament, the Council, the Commission and representatives from national Parliaments expressed consensus on the proposals. The citizens participating in the Plenary also expressed their positions on these proposals.
Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica, as a co-chair of the Conference, led the Commission’s contribution in implementing this major deliverable of the current mandate. She said: “Our Conference is in its final chapter. I am proud to say that by working together during this innovative process in deliberative democracy, we are collectively delivering concrete results. Our engaged and inspiring citizens have shown us the direction they wish Europe to take. Now it is our task, of the EU Institutions, to make it happen. In the wake of the pandemic and with the reality of a brutal war of aggression on European soil, it has been more important than ever to witness democracy at work and citizens in action.”
Vice-Presidents Maroš Šefčovič, chairing the working group on health, said: “We can never be certain of the future. Recent events – a worldwide pandemic, an illegal war on our doorstep, a race to stop climate change before it is too late – show just how uncertain it can be. Europe’s strength in the face of any challenge lies in our ability to discuss and exchange, to unite over our core values, which in turn strengthens our democracy and democratic institutions. The Conference is a remarkable example of this. I would especially like to thank our citizen participants, who have thrown themselves into this process with determination and enthusiasm. Working together with citizens on the future policies of the EU is a very special experience that helps broaden our thinking. Without them, the Conference could not have been a success.”
Vice-President Věra Jourová, chairing the working group on values, rule of law, fundamental rights and security commented: “I want to congratulate first and foremost the citizens whose energy and creativity made the Conference a success. The citizens showed the direction they want the EU to travel. They want more ambitious, decisive and assertive EU, more focused on people’s problems and less on its processes. The people want democracy and its values to be actively protected and upheld. Now, we have to ensure that we can make these demands a reality. All EU institutions and the Member States have to take these seriously. We cannot afford to waste the trust citizens put in shaping the future of Europe”.
The Conference on the Future of Europe will officially come to a close on 9 May – Europe Day – in Strasbourg, when the Co-Chairs of the Conference Executive Board will deliver a final report containing these proposals to the Presidents of the European Parliament, the Council and Commission. The three institutions will then examine how to follow up effectively on them, each within their own spheres of competences and in accordance with the Treaties.
The Conference on the Future of Europe has been a novel and innovative process, which has opened up a new space for debate with citizens to address Europe’s challenges and priorities.
For More Information
Extracts of the Friday and Saturday debates of the Conference Plenary are available on EbS.