The European Commission announced, on Friday, that it has drawn up a plan to implement the outcomes of the Conference on the Future of Europe, the largest popular consultation process on the future of the European Union. For a year, EU citizens were consulted about their expectations of Europe, creating a vision for its future together. The European Commission said in a statement that the outcome of the consultation process is a set of 49 comprehensive proposals and 326 individual actions.
After a year of debate, the Conference on the Future of Europe ended on 9 May 2022. At the closing ceremony in Strasbourg, the Presidents of the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council received a final report from the conference participants, containing 49 comprehensive reports with ambitious and forward-looking proposals and 326 individual actions.
The proposals, covering nine cross-cutting topics, were based on recommendations made by citizens in the European Citizens and Nationals discussion groups, which presented their ideas through the multilingual digital platform, according to a European Commission statement.
“The conference has yielded results in terms of the quantity and quality of the proposals, but its success will ultimately depend on the change it can bring. In this spirit, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council pledged in their joint declaration of March 2021 to implement the proposals – each within its competence and in accordance with the treaties President von der Leyen confirmed this commitment at the closing ceremony of the conference.”
The Friday call is the first step in the process by which the Commission will follow up on the proposals.
The communication provides an assessment of what is needed to address conference proposals, and provides an overview of next steps and best ways to learn from the conference and incorporate participatory democracy into policy and legislative development. For example, taking into account the success of the European citizens’ discussion groups at the conference, the Commission will allow these groups to discuss and make recommendations on some important proposals, as part of the broader policy-making process and in line with the principles of better regulation.
“European citizens have presented us with a number of excellent and varied ideas for improving the Union: 49 detailed proposals and more than 300 actions to improve our daily lives and build a better future. I promised to put these ideas into practice. Today’s contacts are the first step in this direction. European Commission President Ursula said Von der Leyen, according to a statement, I will always be with those who want to reform the Federation in order to improve its performance. “
Analysis of suggestions and next steps
For the evaluation of the proposals to be reliable, the Committee considers it necessary to respect the spirit and letter of the proposals, without any reinterpretation or selection. This is contained in the contact appendix. The 49 proposals are divided according to the same thematic areas selected at the conference, and the committee evaluates each area.
The appendix identifies four categories of responses: current initiatives addressing proposals (eg European climate law); those already proposed by the Commission, for which the European Parliament and the European Council have been invited to adopt legislation (for example, the new Migration Pact); Planned actions that will implement the ideas presented, based on new ideas from the conference (for example, the Media Freedom Act); and new initiatives or areas of activity inspired by the proposals, and which fall within the purview of the committee (eg, mental health issues).
The first set of new proposals will be announced in President von der Leyen’s State of the Union address in September 2022, as well as in the accompanying Letter of Intent. These proposals will be part of the proposals to be included in the Commission’s work program for 2023 and beyond. In the process, the Commission will ensure that reforms, new policies, and discussions on the need to amend treaties are not in conflict with each other, focusing on making the most of current possibilities and at the same time remain open to treaty amendment when necessary.
First report, in the fall
In order to inform the citizens who attended the conference and to maintain this momentum, an event will be organized in the fall of 2022 during which notes on the conference will be exchanged. This event will be an opportunity to network and explain how the three EU institutions have responded to the proposals and to analyze the progress made at this stage of the process.
“The success of the Conference on the Future of Europe is due to the dedication, commitment and meticulousness of all concerned citizens. They have expressed their vision for the future and entrusted us with its implementation,” said Dubravka Soica, Vice-President of the European Commission.
“People across Europe have put a lot of energy and effort into coming up with these 49 proposals. I have been a direct witness to their actions, particularly in the field of health. It is now our turn, within the EU institutions, to put the same energy and the same effort into meeting their demands. By including the results of the conference in the Commission’s 2023 work program, we can prove to citizens that we have not only listened to them, but also understood them,” said Vice President Maros Sivkovic.
“The conference on the future of Europe gave us the opportunity to listen more carefully to European citizens. Now we have to achieve tangible results. Today’s contacts are the first step towards putting the proposals into action and it is a concrete action that follows the recommendations made by the citizens,” said Vice President Vera Jourova.
The Conference on the Future of Europe, which kicked off on Europe Day in 2021, took place over the course of a year. It was an unprecedented pan-European exercise in deliberative democracy – the largest and largest of its kind. The conference brought together people of all ages, from all countries and backgrounds, many of whom had never cooperated in Europe or were unfamiliar with the institutional structure of the European Union. All of these contributed their different stories, perspectives, languages and identities, expressed their expectations for Europe and together created a vision of its future.
The proposals presented at the conference include 326 actions to be implemented by EU institutions and member states in nine areas: climate change and the environment; the health; stronger economy, social justice, and jobs; European Union in the world; values, rights, rule of law and security; Digital Transformation European Democracy Immigration; Education, culture, youth and sports.