The start of the Conference on the future of Europe has
been seriously delayed by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Preparations for
the launch of the conference by the institutions finally moved forward during
the first weeks of April. A "COVID-19 compliant" agreement was
reached on a digital platform that will enable EU citizens to contribute to the
conference. The aim of the conference is to create a more participatory, open
and transparent Europe.
What's behind all of this?
In order to speed up the planning for the opening event on
May 9, Europe Day, the actors from the European institutions want to provide
serious attempts and opportunities for greater citizen participation. Using the
announced platform should give the conference more credibility with regard to
European will for reform.
What better way than to create a digital space where people
can express their views about the EU in their own way. Since April 19, citizens
from all over Europe have had the opportunity to digitally register their opinions
on issues deemed important for the future of the EU through this new
multilingual digital platform.
Participation is required
Information about how the conference will work and its
structuring as well as the resources for organising the events are provided,
including a list of the key events. This means that various initiatives can be
promoted and supported at local, regional, national and European levels.
The platform is intended to be a central hub for the
conference, for the first time at European level. The posted contributions will
be merged and thematically classified, including events, the European Citizens'
Forums and the planned plenary sessions of the conference in autumn 2021.
Quiet doubts about the schedule
In discussions of the European Representation with MEPs of
various parliamentary groups, the joy about the positive announcement about the
start of the preparations prevailed, but the abstractness of the conference and
what exactly it is supposed to result in leaves some question marks even among
European politicians. There were also cautious doubts about the targeted May 9
Whether there could be major discussions on European health
and social policy is not certain. Transparency, legislative processes and
fundamental debates about the general direction and positioning of the EU are
to be expected.