EP resolution: EU candidates should participate in the Future of Europe Conference

European Parliament Session; Photo: European Union

STRASBOURG – European Parliament believes that Conference on the Future of Europe should seeks ways of involving representatives of the EU candidate countries in discussions, states a resolution setting out the vision of this institution for the upcoming Conference.

The resolution was adopted today with 494 votes for, 147 against and 49 abstentions.

The proposal for the Conference, which should take place from 2020 to 2022, was initiated in November by President of France Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The aim was to re-evaluate the functioning of EU institutions and its policy priorities.

Last month, the European Council considered the idea of a Conference on the Future of Europe starting in 2020 and ending in 2022. It asked the Croatian Council Presidency to work towards defining a Council position on the content, scope, composition and functioning of such a conference and to engage, on this basis, with the European Parliament and the Commission.

What the Parliament also proposes?

According to the press release of the EP, MEPs want citizens to be at the core of broad discussions on how to tackle internal and external challenges that were not foreseen at the time of the Lisbon Treaty. People of all backgrounds, civil society representatives and stakeholders at European, national, regional and local level must be involved in setting the EU’s priorities in line with citizens’ concerns in a bottom-up, transparent, inclusive, participatory and well-balanced approach.

Parliament proposed establishing several Citizens’ Agoras (thematic fora of citizen representatives chosen randomly in line with proportionality and representativeness criteria), and at least two Youth Agoras, each comprising 200-300 citizens with a minimum of three per member state. Citizen representatives will discuss Agora conclusions at the Conference Plenary with MEPs and national parliament representatives, Council ministers, Commission Vice-Presidents and representatives of other EU institutions, bodies and social partners.

In addition to high-level support from the presidents of the three main EU institutions, Parliament urges Council and Commission to commit to the possibility of treaty change. The adopted text also underlines that a permanent mechanism to engage citizens should be considered.