Conference on the Future of Europe – A historic opportunity towards a #FederalEurope

| January 17, 2020

“We are pleased to see the European Parliament take the lead in setting the agenda for the Conference on the Future of Europe, finally opening the door for long-needed Treaty changes with yesterday ‘s vote. Europe cannot win back the trust of its citizens with another so-called “listening exercise”. Instead we need to be courageous and give citizens a real say over the future of the European project. Only a Conference on the Future of Europe that puts all options of deep policy and institutional change on the table can now deliver on citizens’ expectations. If Commission President von der Leyen and the European Council are genuine about bringing Europe closer to the people, we invite the Commission and the Council to support the proposals and the level of ambition indicated by the European Parliament,” said Sandro GOZI, president of the Union of European Federalists (UEF).

The Union of European Federalists (UEF) and the Young European Federalists (JEF Europe) welcome the resolution adopted on 15 January by the European Parliament stating its position regarding the Conference on the Future of Europe. Both UEF and JEF have long advocated for the renewal of our European Union and put forward detailed proposals for the setup of the Conference. The Conference is a golden opportunity for European citizens to walk the path towards an “ever closer union”, as stated in the Treaties. The Conference should not shy away from proposing to expand the Union’s powers and resources and renew its institution to make Europe really sovereign, including through an overhaul of the current Treaties.

The Conference on the Future of Europe must send a clear message to the Union’s citizens that their voices will be heard. For this reasons, the European federalists call on the European Commission and the Council, to engage fully and genuinely with this exercise in participatory democracy. The Conference on the Future of Europe shall not be a new dialogue exercise as seen in the past, but a democratic and participative process where citizens have a real say on the Future of the Union. Therefore, in line with the proposal of the Parliament, UEF and JEF welcome an inclusive model that allows citizens to discuss the most pressing policies and institutional reforms, both necessary to rebuild trust in the European project. UEF and JEF are however concerned that there is no credible feedback loop between the decisions ultimately taken by political representatives and the proposals put forward by the citizen agora.

“We couldn’t agree more with the European Parliament: the increase in voter turnout at the 2019 European elections showed that citizens engage with Europe when they are offered the opportunity. For too long we, European citizens, have been sidelined or only cosmetically “consulted” in discussions over the future of European integration. Those times are over. Citizens and civil society are determined to continue pushing for change. The EU’s 60-years-long record of ensuring peace on the continent is at risk if it keeps muddling through the current intergovernmental status quo. The Conference on the Future of Europe is the opportunity to address the concerns of citizens about the future of European democracy and to provide the EU with the tools – institutional and financial – to deliver on its promise,” concluded Leonie MARTIN, president of JEF Europe.

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