There is nothing written about treaty changes in the common declaration and in the rules of procedure is a good thing. And if it is not firmly forbidden, you can do it.
71 years after the Schuman Declaration, the time has come to rethink the future of Europe by giving the floor to its citizens. The next 24 months will be decisive for the future of the Union, individual Member States and citizens, with new challenges, appointments, deadlines, new beginnings and changes at the international level.
1. CITIZENS’ PANELS UPDATE
Selection of citizens
The selection of the 800 citizens (and 200 citizens as a reserve) is currently taking place covering the entirety of the population (limited to EU citizens). Citizens are contacted by phone in several rounds in order to explain the purpose and obtain their consent. If they agree, they will receive a mandate letter explaining exactly what is expected from them and will receive professional support and guidance throughout the process.
In order to ensure diversity, the selection of participants is being done by randomly selecting citizens, with the aim of constituting “panels” representative of EU sociological diversity.
Each European Citizens’ Panel will be composed of 200 citizens. As the Conference aims at allowing a specific focus on youth, one third of the citizens composinga Citizens’ Panel will be between 16 and 25 years old.
Design and methodology
There will be four European Citizens’ Panels and the topics for discussion for each of the Panels, based on the themes of the Multilingual Digital Platform, will be clustered in the following way and order:
- Stronger economy, social justice, jobs/ education, youth, culture, sport/ digital transformation;
- European democracy/values and rights, rule of law, security;
Climate change, environment/health;
- EU in the world/migration;
The Panels shall take on board contributions gathered in the framework of the Conference through the Platform and formulate a set of recommendations for the Union’s institutions to follow-up on and which will be debated in the Conference Plenary.
The European Citizens’ Panels first session which will be divided into two phases:
- Which Europe they would want to see for them and their children in 2050, in relation to the theme of the Panel.
- A phase where the citizens will be asked to cross-examine their work on their vision with the first report from the platform.
Languages, timing and location
The panels shall meet during at least three deliberative sessions of minimum two days. All Panels will take place in the same overall period from autumn 2021 to spring 2022. For logistical reasons, the sessions of all Panels will not take place at the exact same time. They would therefore present their conclusions to different meetings of the Plenary. 2 Panels would present their recommendations to the Conference Plenary in December and 2 in January.
The panels will be in the 24 EU official languages with interpretation and will be live-streamed, while the documents of their discussions and deliberations should be made publicly available on the Multilingual Digital Platform. There will also be a dedicated section for the panels on the Platform, which will be used also for communication and deliberation purposes.
Information material provided to the Citizens prior to the event remain therefore basic and similar to the platform topic pages. The Panels will be accompanied by independent experts and they will introduce the topic and the Co-Chairs will inform in advance the Executive Board of the development of the practical modalities for the organisation of the European Citizens’ Panels.
Panel results and their input into the Conference Plenary
The Panels’ recommendations will be debated in the Conference Plenary meetings, feed into the final Conference report and constitute a part of the Conference output on which basis EU institutions will organise the follow-up. Citizens’ delegations from each Panel (20 representatives) will take part in the Conference Plenary meetings.
The European Citizens’ Panels will lead to a specific analysis/report based on the original citizens’ ideas as expressed during the deliberations. It will contain the final recommendations but also a detailed account of the content of the discussions.
2. SOCIAL PARTNERS AND REGIONAL AND LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES GET GREATER SAY IN THE CoFoE
The executive board of the Conference on the Future of Europe decided to allocate more seats in the Conference Plenary to both regional and local representatives, and social partners Amend the rules of procedure allocate six extra elected representatives of both local and regional authorities in the plenary. The board also agreed to increase the number of social partner representatives by four to a total of 12.
3. THE CoFoE AND THE ERASMUS GENERATION
As the Conference on the Future of Europe starts, Vice-President Schinas called “the Erasmus Generation to do for Europe what Europe did for the Erasmus Generation”. Schinas, who has been involved in consultations with young people, has understood that the future of Europe is closely linked to the growth of the Erasmus+ programme, including outside the EU. Schinas is asking the Erasmus Generation to step up and take ownership of the European project, engaging more actively in the construction of the Europe it wants to live in.
4. INTERESTING LINKS ON THE CoFoE & AROUND THE CoFoE
- EURACTIV series on the future of federalism within the EU EURACTIV takes a closer look at the future of federalism within the EU, whether the idea holds relevance in today’s political climate and whether the Conference is likelier to drive or hinder the movement. UEF President & MEP Sandro GOZI was interviewed on 16 July for EURACTIV, as part of this series, where he claimed for a strong federalist alliance within the CoFoE to booster support for Europe.
- A progressive approach to the Conference on the Future of Europe This Policy Brief offers some proposals, among the many that could and will be discussed, that could be embraced by European progressives and that may help to make the European Union and its institutions increasingly understandable to European citizens.
5. SUMMER BREAK
The next newsletter on the Conference on the Future of Europe will be released after the summer break.
UEF Secretariat in Brussels will be closed from 31 July to 8 August 2021. We will be back on 9 August 2021. UEF takes this opportunity to wish you all a safe and happy summer!