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Public sentiment

Launching the citizens' “Future of Europe” forums.

IF – 09/2021

Since April 19, citizens from all over Europe have had the opportunity to digitally express their opinions on issues deemed important for the future of the EU through the “Future of Europe” multilingual digital platform (see News 04/2021).

European hub

Following the parliament’s summer recess, the opinion-forming process of the four European citizens' forums, each consisting of 200 citizens, can now start work. The place that will host the hybrid meetings will initially be the European Parliament in Strasbourg, as it is the voice of the people's representatives. The first European citizens' forum will address the issues of a stronger economy, social justice, employment/education, youth, culture and sport as well as the digital transition.

Who gets a say?

The participants in the citizens' forums were randomly selected based on age, gender, profession, education and their member state. The intention was to express the diversity of the EU. One third are also young voters between the ages of 16 and 25.

Main topics in the forums

The citizens' forums will take into account the citizens' contributions received from the digital “Conference on the Future” platform.

 

Thematic breakdown was as follows:

 

  • values and rights, rule of law, security
  • climate change and environment/health
  • a stronger economy, social justice and employment/education, culture, youth and sport/digital transition
  • the EU’s place in the world/migration.


The work order

The citizens' forums are to develop draft recommendations that fall within the remit of the relevant working groups from the plenary session. They will then be pooled and presented to the conference's plenary session for recommendations about follow-up action by the EU. 20 citizens from each of the citizens' forums will participate in the plenary session to provide an opportunity for discussion. They will be chosen and posted directly in the forums.

Outlook

It will be exciting to see the actual recommendations from the health and social justice sectors that we continue to follow. However, the effect of recommendations at European level is often not target-oriented and they will not require implementation. This fact could then also apply to the EU institutions. After all, it would be a matter of interpretation how seriously the results are taken for a real reform of the EU.

The next plenary session will be held in October and the process should be completed by the end of the year. You can find the provisional meetings schedule here. Everything about the platform for the conference on the future of Europe can be found here.