Citizens at Core of EU Decision-Making

Tomorrow and on Saturday, the second Plenary session of the Conference on the Future of Europe will take place in Strasbourg. Representatives from the European Parliament, the Council, the European Commission, Committee of the Regions, as well as but not limited to citizens and representatives from all national Parliaments, social partners and civil society will take part in the Plenary. They will discuss the recommendations formulated by the European Citizens’ Panels  that occurred in the previous weeks, as well as the input gathered from the Multilingual Digital Platform.

The Conference offers European citizens a central role in shaping the future of Europe. For this purpose, the European Citizens’ Panels have brought together citizens from all walks of life, reflecting the EU’s diversity to debate on various topics, ranging from the economy, social justice and jobs, youth, sport, culture and education, and digital transformation to European democracy and values, rights, the rule of law, security, climate change and the environment, health, migration and external relations. Meanwhile, the digital platform has attracted wide interest and thousands of contributions, particularly in the topics of European democracy, climate change and environment as well as the recovery from the pandemic, social justice and jobs.

The European Citizens’ Panels are an important innovation, which forms part of a ‘Deliberative Wave’ that has been unfolding in various European countries and globally to institute more deliberative forms of policy-making. In this context, the European Commission has recently established the Competence Centre on Participatory and Deliberative Democracy. Amongst other objectives, the Centre is meant to support citizen engagement practices, develop and experiment with new methodologies and spaces for citizen engagement as well as enrich the EU knowledge base on participatory and deliberative practices.

Key Texts

European Commission: Participatory and Deliberative Democracy

European Parliament: Citizens’ engagement and expectations of the Conference on the Future of Europe

Second Interim Report September 2021

Upcoming Dates

22-23 October 2021Conference on the Future of Europe Plenary

17 – 18 December 2021:Conference Plenary

EMI Position

As elaborated in our policy position on The Conference on the Future of Europe, the European Movement International believes that the Conference must ensure the wide participation of and deep deliberation with citizens, civil society organisations, social partners, national governments and local and regional governments. The EU has the opportunity to pave the way for the establishment of a stronger, better and value-based Europe in which its institutions and citizens are linked together. The ongoing pandemic enhances the need for sustainability, inclusivity and wellbeing amongst citizens, which only emphasises how paramount their involvement is.

To ensure a meaningful Conference on the Future of Europe, civil society organisations, social partners, and local and regional governments can amplify the voices of citizens throughout the process, reinforcing their priorities, views and demands. The Conference, as a process, should have multiple result-oriented outcomes and further inspire civil society to promote citizens’ involvement. Members of the European Movement International network have been organising debates and engaging citizens in the context of the Conference, while more than 20 European Movement International-associated Plenary members will take part in the upcoming Conference Plenary.