Stand Up for Europe celebrated the release of the Joint Declaration on the Conference on the Future of Europe (hereinafter Conference) and sees today’s signing ceremony by President Sassoli on behalf of the Parliament, Prime Minister Costa for the Council, and Commission President von der Leyen, as a big step forward to the start of the Conference.
During the past year, the pandemic has shed light on the vulnerabilities of our European Union and the necessity for citizens to take an active role in increasing Europe’s solidarity and resilience. The pandemic has hit the EU bloc transversally, with direct consequences on people’s personal and professional lives. The European Union is facing challenges on many of its fronts, hence, it needs to listen to its citizens and have a conversation on what they expect of the future of Europe.
The format to lead the Conference
The Conference on the Future of Europe is under the authority of the three main institutions, represented by their Presidents, acting as its Joint Presidency. There will be an Executive Board, equally representing the three institutions, with national Parliaments having observer status. The Executive Board will oversee the works of the Conference, and prepare the Conference Plenary meetings, including citizens’ input and the follow-up procedures.
How do we take action?
As part of the alliance Citizens Take Over Europe, we have identified 10 principles to make our contribution to the institutional deliberations on how to design the Conference on the Future of Europe.
Transnational and Accessible
The Joint Declaration raises doubts as to how truly democratic and citizen-centered the conference design can be. We are convinced that for the Conference to become a success, the process has to be transnational and accessible.
The ambiguity of the proposed follow-up mechanism does not lead us to believe that the Conference fully lives up to democratic aims nor principles. We see an urgent need for proper mechanisms that link the citizens’ panels with the decision-making of the Conference in ways to ensure its responsiveness and accountability towards the citizens.” (CTOE Response to the Joint Declaration, 5 March 2021)
Visible and Interactive
An interactive multilingual digital platform will allow citizens and stakeholders to submit ideas online, and help them participate in or organise events. Considering the restrictions on physical meetings, we welcome a one-stop multilingual digital platform that publishes all the Conference documentation and which allows citizens to submit their views and ideas throughout the duration of the Conference. This platform should also have a clear interactive role in connecting the citizens’ panels in order to encourage synergies among citizens.
To strengthen the democratic capacity of the Conference, we call for the final report of the citizens’ panel to be submitted to the Executive Board and Plenary for the drafting of a legislative action plan, with a final approval by the citizens’ panel.
We expect the EU institutions to commit themselves to the Conference as well as to facilitate citizens’ participation in the debates. Moreover, complex governance structures and high-positioned governing bodies should not shadow or hinder the participation of citizens.
It is time to Start
Citizen Take Over Europe has shared a public consultation for citizens’ to convey their hopes and fears regarding the Conference and their propositions for an agenda-setting phase.
For further reference
Citizens Take Over Europe website