In a world fighting a pandemic and looking for solutions to long-term challenges such as climate change, the EU is committed to an open, democratic debate with people about what it should focus on.
Inclusive, democratic process
A recent Eurobarometer survey showed that 92% of Europeans want people’s voices “taken more into account in decisions relating to the future of Europe”. The Conference aims to make this happen.
The European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council invite all Europeans to share their ideas about how Europe should evolve, what the priorities should be and how to prepare for a post-Covid world. The EU institutions want to consult as many people as possible, with a special focus on young people.
The Conference will be more than a listening exercise. The contributions that people make in the coming months will be collected on the online platform and will feed into debates with MEPs, members of the national parliaments, government and EU representatives, as well as other stakeholders. These debates will become the foundation for policy proposals that will then be turned concrete EU action. Parliament, the Commission and the Council have pledged to listen to people’s proposals and follow up on the Conference’s outcome.
All Europeans are welcome to take part in this process, regardless of their age, gender, education or professional background. Parliament wants to especially ensure the active participation of young people and will use its regular European Youth Event (EYE) in October 2021 to gather their visions on Europe’s future.
How will it work?
The digital platform of the Conference was launched on 19 April. It allows people to share and discuss ideas online as well as prepare events across the EU, where and when the health conditions allow. These events will serve as another source of ideas for change. The member states will also organise citizen-driven events.
After the summer, European citizens’ panels bringing together people from different walks of life will look at the ideas put forward. There will be four citizens’ panels of 200 members each working on different themes:
- European democracy and values, rights, rule of law, security
- Climate change, environment and health
- Stronger economy, social justice, jobs, education, youth, culture, sport and digital
- The EU in the world and migration
Each of the panels will meet at least three times and will be free to define its priorities. Their recommendations will be presented to the Conference Plenary.
The Conference Plenary has a central role in the Conference as representatives of the EU institutions, the governments and civil society will meet there with citizens to discuss and develop proposals for change. The European Parliament pushed for a politically strong Plenary with many elected representatives as well as for an important role of citizens.
The inaugural plenary session took place on 19 June in Strasbourg with remote and physical participation. More sessions will follow in the autumn and the winter to discuss the proposals coming from the citizens’ panels. Find out who the European Parliament’s representatives are in the Conference Plenary
The executive board is responsible for the functioning of the Conference. It consists of representatives of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, as well as observers.
What will come out of the Conference?
The outcome will depend on the proposals that people make and the subsequent debates.
The final report will be drawn up by the executive board based on proposals approved by the Conference Plenary. The report will be prepared in full collaboration with the Plenary and will have to receive its approval. It will then be submitted for follow-up to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission.
Parliament has underlined that the Conference should have a real impact on how the EU is set up and what it does to ensure people’s voices and concerns are at the centre of the EU’s policies and decisions.