• Towards an inclusive, open dialogue with citizens, civil society, EU institutions and bodies and all levels of governance 
  • Conference recommendations should be adopted on a regular basis and lead to concrete results before the 2024 elections 
  • Possibility of treaty review and a permanent citizen participation mechanism to strengthen the EU’s capacity to act 

The letter to be sent to EP President David Sassoli contains Committee MEP priorities in relation to the upcoming Conference.

Following a series of debates and a public hearing on 4 December, in the extraordinary meeting held in the evening of 9 December, the Constitutional Affairs Committee voted in favour of the draft letter to be sent to Parliament’s President, with 20 votes in favour, three against and no abstentions. A recording of the meeting is available here.

Citizen and stakeholder involvement

According to the adopted text, any debates that will take place in the context of the Conference should be as inclusive as possible, taking into account age, gender and socio-economic diversity in Europe. The Conference should try to attract young people and citizens from across the EU, using a combination of regular thematic and general meetings, civil society participation and online engagement to produce concrete proposals for legislative improvement. To this end, the Conference will need the contribution of the Committee of Regions, the European Economic and Social Committee and other European bodies, as well as all levels of governance, civil society organisations and other experts.

Key challenges and citizens’ priorities

Committee MEPs highlight that the Conference should focus on how to improve the EU’s ability to act in the context of internal and external challenges that were not foreseen at the time of the Lisbon Treaty. Examples of such challenges include threats to European core values, climate issues, social justice, taxation, digitalisation, security and the EU’s role in the world.

However, MEPs also stress that the Conference should be free to determine European priorities in line with the issues at the heart of citizens’ concerns through open dialogue, which could result in treaty review and the establishment of a permanent citizen participation mechanism.

The adopted text points out that necessary changes identified in the context of the Conference will need to be implemented in time for the next 2024 European elections.

Next steps

The suggestions adopted by the Constitutional Affairs Committee will be sent to Parliament’s President David Sassoli in the next few days to contribute to the work of the EP Conference of Presidents - i.e. the President and political group leaders. This letter will form an important part of the deliberations, which will in turn define the resolution setting out Parliament’s position on the concept, structure, timetable and scope of the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe.

Background

The Conference, to be organised by Parliament, Council and Commission, is among Commission President von der Leyen’s most prominent commitments. It is expected to start in 2020 and run for two years, involving a cross-section of society to give citizens the chance to contribute in shaping the future of the EU.

Following the establishment of the relevant Working Group by Parliament’s leaders, the Constitutional Affairs Committee was invited to contribute to its work in line with its leading role on most pertinent topics.