The conference on the future of Europe is intended to give citizens the chance to voice their opinions about the EU’s fields of action. It should also address key institutional improvements, most notably the appointment of the Commission president and the issue of transnational lists, ahead of the European Parliament elections in 2024.
Despite the hype, numerous postponements and the lack of clarity around the goals of the conference have harmed its reputation. The pandemic certainly played a part, but so did the institutional turf-battle among Council, Commission and European Parliament over the leadership question. And this dispute has revealed very substantial differences in what each institution expects from this conference.
The European institutions agreed on the conference’s duration, from May 2021 until Spring 2022, the general set up and the launch of a multilingual digital platform for citizens to participate. Yet key questions remain unanswered, for instance how European citizens will be panels be organised, and how, barring treaty change, the recommendations generated by the conference will be put into practice and followed up. The lack of buy-in and political support by most Member States is particularly problematic.
With the conference scheduled to start on 9 May, this webinar will be an opportunity to bring together representatives from all three institutions to discuss the conference’s opportunities, chances and risks.