On Saturday 23 October, the second Conference Plenary meeting took place in the European Parliament in Strasbourg to discuss citizens’ contributions.
The 80 representatives of the European Citizens’ Panels have met to discuss the future of Europe.
The Conference on the Future of Europe is said to be an unprecedented, open and inclusive democratic exercise, with a digital platform, where all Europeans are invited to have their say on how to shape our shared future on various issues.
The Co-Chairs of the Conference made the following statements from Strasbourg:
Guy Verhofstadt (European Parliament), said: “The enthusiasm in the Citizens’ Panels is great, expectations are high, the formula is working. Now the Plenary has to find answers to the issues raised, in the form of a shared vision of Europe’s future and concrete deliverables on how we reform the European Union. EU politics have to rise to the occasion.”
Gašper Dovžan (Presidency of the Council) commented that: “Tens of thousands of citizens continue to discuss the future of Europe in the European and national panels and events, as well as on the Platform. The Plenary will debate and bring forward their recommendations in the areas that matter most to them, without a predetermined outcome. This is the first Plenary under the Slovenian Presidency of the Council and we were very pleased to welcome representatives from our Western Balkans partners as key stakeholders with whom we share responsibility for the future of the EU.”
Dubravka Šuica (Vice-President of the European Commission) stated: “This is a historic moment where, for the first time, citizens deliberate on a par with their elected representatives at all levels. Bringing citizens to the core of European policymaking will reinforce our representative democracies, as we set sail towards our common future.”
The next Conference Plenary will take place on 17-18 December. In the meantime, citizens’ contributions to the Conference will continue to flow in:
- the European Citizens’ Panels will meet online in November, and the first two will finalise their recommendations and present them in Plenary in December;
- the platform remains available for citizens’ ideas and events, which will become part of the third report due for December, and which will feed into the last sessions of European Citizens’ Panels and the upcoming meetings of the Conference Plenary; and
- national panels and events are still being organised in the member states.
The Plenary was prepared by Working Groups, which held their constitutive meetings on Friday.
The Plenary comprises representatives from the European Parliament (108), the Council (54, or two per member state) and the European Commission (3), as well as from all national Parliaments (108) on an equal footing, and citizens (108). As part of the citizens’ component, representatives from the European Citizens’ Panels (80), representatives of national events or national citizens’ panels (27, or one per member state) and the President of the European Youth Forum take part in the deliberations. In addition, representatives from the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee (18 from each), elected representatives from regional and local authorities (6 from each), and representatives of the social partners (12) and civil society (8) participate as members. For the first time, representatives from the Western Balkans participated as key partners.
On the Panels and the Multilingual Digital Platform
The Multilingual Digital Platform has collected 8,600 ideas and 14,900 comments from over 31,000 participants. The four European Citizens’ Panels have had their first sessions, bringing together around 800 citizens from across the EU. There have also been over 3,180 other events, across the European Union that have brought together over 140,000 participants.