Conference on the Future of Europe : the chance to put citizens back at the heart of the European project!
The Conference was finally launched in Strasbourg on 9th of May, and this is excellent news for pro-Europeans and Democrats. Our party finally has the chance to put citizens back at the heart of the European project. But we must not waste this opportunity: this Europe-wide democratic process will go fast, so must be visible and it must lead to EU reform. This is why we need to do several things to ensure that the Conference is a success.
First, by boosting participation: this consultation process has to reflect Europe’s diversity. This can be achieved through two strands of work: digitally through the Conference’s online platform, and physically by organising events in our local communities. The EDP and all its member parties must ensure that there is maximum participation by Europeans. The platform is a really innovative tool: regardless of where people live, what language they speak and how much time they have, everyone can share their views. Every single party member needs to get his work colleagues, family, friends, and neighbours signed up on the platform – we need to get everyone involved. And as we slowly return back to normality throughout the autumn, we need to organise and get people engaged on EU topics during physical events throughout Europe.
Second, the Conference can’t be a tick-boxing exercise, must be without any taboos and lead to results. We must be ready to take action following the outcomes of the Conference, regardless of whether citizens’ proposals require political, legislative or treaty changes. It is a ‘now or never’ moment for Europe: all European countries and political parties, however big or small, need to be part of this Europe-wide conversation. The EDP needs to lead by example by organising events with our all our parties, get citizens involved and be at the heart of the Conference.
And third, we must tackle Europe’s democratic crisis. We need to build a real democratic space Europe-wide, put citizens back at the heart of the EU project, protect fundamental rights, relaunch EU reform, and be more assertive in the world. It is Europe’s unspoken crisis, and it needs to be resolved so that the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is sustainable, just and democratic.
As Europeans, we need to recover stronger than ever before: a sustainable and green Europe with a strong democratic system at EU level. Making sure this happens will be an important step in the EU’s history, so we must do everything we can to make the Conference a success!
EDP Secretary General and MEP