Lessons from the Conference on the Future of Europe
French MEP Laurence Farreng (MoDem), member of the European Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education, talks to us about the Conference on the Future of Europe. We take a look at her views.
The Conference on the Future of Europe is a unique initiative to re-found our European Union, to give it more strength and power. To improve the way we work and to bring our policies closer to the citizens. So it is both a great moment of institutional reflection, of institutional redesign, and at the same time a great citizen consultation, a democratic consultation as has never been done before. The Conference, as its name indicates, is an assembly that meets regularly in Strasbourg.
First point: 800 European citizens were drawn by lot to participate in these assemblies, which work on thematic subjects. There are several of them, from the fight against global warming to youth policies and immigration. They meet in Strasbourg to contribute to the reflection process with representatives of the European and national parliaments, the Council, the Commission and the Committee of the Regions.
Second point: there is a major consultation that has been launched online and to which all citizens can contribute their ideas. This consultation can be found on the Internet by typing in 'Conference on the future of Europe'. And then at the level of our Member States, there are initiatives. In France, Clément Beaune, Secretary of State for European Affairs, and Marc Fesneau, Minister for Relations with the Parliament, have carried out consultations in all our [French] regions. And there, we have many ideas that appear. For example, I was at the presentation: there is a lot of determination for a more egalitarian, more global health system on the scale of the European Union, and the same goes for young people. Many citizens are asking for our education to be more harmonised so that skills are better shared and so that young people have easier access to employment.
Since last May, 30,000 contributions have been made by citizens on the conference platform. And what we see is that the expectations are more Europe, and a stronger Europe on an international scale, but also strong States that work better together, with more convergence in areas that are not yet really within the competence of the European Union. For example, health and education. On all this, while a wave of populism is predicted, we can see that citizens expect more from Europe.
Europe needs you too. So you can contribute to the Conference on the Future of Europe. It's easy, just type "Conference on the Future of Europe" in your search bar and submit your ideas. Whatever you want for a stronger Europe, close to you and that you are proud of.