S&Ds: Conference on the Future of Europe can be a new way of engaging with citizens to find fresh ideas that improve the EU

MEPs today agreed an inclusive, participatory and bottom-up approach for the Conference on the Future of Europe. We call on all EU institutions to involve all citizens in the debate on the future of Europe. This week the European Parliament has set out its vision on how to organise debates which will last 2 years and kick off on the 70th anniversary of the Schuman declaration on 9 May 2020. 

Iratxe García, S&D Group leader, said:

“The Conference on the Future of Europe is a unique opportunity to make sure the EU is fit to face the future. We are not here to build a market, but a community. We have focused too much on economic aspects and neglected the social dimension. The EU is about ensuring peace and improving people’s life. The Socialists and Democrats want the conference to be about real, inclusive dialogue with concrete results. Everyone has something to contribute, and everyone should be able to have their say, no matter where they are. I hope it will open up spaces to enrich the debate and find fresh and innovative ideas that improve our Union.”

Gabriele Bischoff, S&D member on the Working Group on the Conference on the Future of Europe, added:

“We want to put citizens at the heart of the Conference on the Future of Europe. Therefore, we have promoted the idea of citizens’ agoras, as bodies representative of our diverse European society, to enter into a meaningful dialogue with citizens across Europe. The S&D Group also strongly pushed for dedicated youth agoras so that the very people whose future we are talking about have a key role to play. With a bottom-up approach and the European Parliament leading the way, we can start a new way of engaging with citizens with the aim of a more democratic  social Europe with a stronger capability to act. If we dare to leave our comfort zone, the Conference on the future of Europe can be a meaningful exercise.”

Domènec Ruiz Devesa, S&D spokesperson for the Constitutional Affairs committee, added:

“This Conference comes ten years after the Treaty of Lisbon, in a world that has radically changed. It is now time to move forward towards a more ambitious political union, but we have to do it with citizens. Through an original format, the Conference will involve citizens, organised civil society and different stakeholders at local, regional, national and European level. Through an open, public forum, which should include online participation, people will be able to have wide-ranging discussions on anything from employment or the climate crisis to fundamental rights or democracy in the EU.”