European Western Balkans

Germany and France release a non-paper on the Conference on the Future of Europe

Angela Merkel and Emmaunel Macron; Photo: Consilium.eu

BRUSSELS – A non-paper by France and Germany, proposing a Conference on the Future of Europe from 2020 to 2022, was circulated to the EU Member States on Monday and will be discussed by the Ambassadors in Brussels on Wednesday, Politico reports. European Council is expected to discuss the document at its regular December meeting.

A two-page non-paper released by Politico proposes guiding principles of the Conference, which should be focused on EU policies, including a possible change of EU treaties, and institutional issues, a longstanding goal of President Emmanuel Macron in particular.

“The Conference should address all issues at stake to guide the future of Europe with a view to making the EU more united and sovereign”, the document stresses.

Two phases are envisaged. During the first one, taking place from February 2020 to summer of that year, focus will be on issues related to EU democratic functioning. This includes elections and designations in key positions.

The second phase would begin in the second half of 2020 (German Presidency of the Council) and conclude in the first half of 2022 (French Presidency). It would focus on policy priorities.

EU-wide participation of the citizens on all issues discussed, as well as experts’ input and guiding questions is described as crucial.

The final document with recommendations should be presented to the European Council for debate and implementation at the end of the process, the non-paper concludes.

According to Politico, former Belgian prime minister and longtime member of the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, has been mentioned frequently in Brussels as one of the potential contenders for the chair position of the Conference.

The Conference has earlier been announced a part of the mandate of the new European Commission of Ursula von der Leyen.

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