“We’re not just in a listening mode” - CoR members on the Conference on the Future of Europe
Discussing the Conference on the Future of Europe ahead of its launch on Europe Day May 9th, former ALDE Group President Guy Verhofstadt supported a larger involvement of subnational governments.
Guy Verhofstadt, who is the co-Chair of the Conference on the Future of Europe, explained that it will give citizens the possibility to discuss the future of Europe and establish a vision for the EU for the 21st century.
He argued that in a multipolar world, Europe needs to be able to see eye-to-eye with global powers; and it is necessary to define what kind of Europe Europeans want: “We’re not just in a listening mode. We need to respond in the presence of European citizens to their requests to come to a clear conclusion: a list of reforms that shape the future of the EU.”
Guy Verhofstadt supported a larger role for regional governments, through the European Committee of the Regions, which will have a sizeable delegation in the plenary session of the Conference.
EDP CoR member and Basque Secretary-General for External Action María Elorza, chimed in: “What is the role of regions in the construction of Europe? We need to discuss this especially when there is a re-centralisation of competences taking place while at the same time, we are told that we are on the frontline of some battles, for example the pandemic. We should reopen the question of the competences of Regions with legislative powers in the EU, which was left unanswered in the Convention of 2000.”
Androulla Vassiliou representing Renew Europe on the CoR’s High Level Group on Democracy, added:“I’m pleased that the CoR will be well represented, which was lacking in the first plans. Our high-level group will focus on democracy at various levels: in general, at subnational or at EU level and we will also focus on a Europe that protects and empowers, as the existence of the EU depends on its ability to deliver”.
The conference on the future of Europe will be launched on 9th of May, Europe Day, in Strasbourg, France, and the CoR will hold a first local dialogue in Strasbourg just after the launch.