Follow-up on the Conference on the Future of Europe and citizens’ participation: What’s new?

27 June 2022

Post-CoFoE updates, powered by Wolfgang Petzold

Conference on the Future of Europe: Council’s follow-up

On 21 June, the General Affairs Council had an “initial discussion” on the substance of the proposals of the Conference on the Future of Europe’s final report, based in particular on the “technical assessment” carried out by the General Secretariat of the Council (10 June 2022) and a presentation of the European Commission’s Communication of 17 June 2022.

On 23/24 June, the European Council adopted conclusions on the follow-up of the Conference on the Future of Europe stating that the latter has been a “unique opportunity to engage with European citizens”, that the “EU institutions should ensure that there is an effective follow-up to the final report, each within the institutions’ own spheres of competence and in accordance with the Treaties”, while recalling “the importance of ensuring that citizens are informed on the follow-up to the report”. Link.

On 1 July, the presidency of the Council of the EU will be taken over by the Czech Republic. Among their five priorities, the Czech government has put “resilience of democratic institutions” and states that the Conference on the Future of Europe has “created a unique space for citizens and especially for young people” while confirming that emphasis will be put “on improving dialogue with young people and promoting their participation in political/policy processes”. Link.

Conference on the Future of Europe: future of citizens’ participation

On 24 June, the Bertelsmann Stiftung published a paper suggesting a four-phases model on how to institutionalise a future “European Citizens’ Assembly”. Link

On 27 June, 14:00-18:30 (CET), the CoR and the Bertelsmann Stiftung will hold an in-person working conference on CoR premises in Brussels on the future of citizens’ participation, EU policy-making and the role of regions and cities. The event will bring together about 80 members of the CoR, the European Parliament, local politicians, citizens and experts from the EU institutions, academia, think tanks and civil society. Participation is upon invitation only. Link to the event (web streaming only for the opening and closing sessions between 14:30 and 15:15 and 17:45-18:15.

Conference on the Future of Europe: CoR to adopt a Resolution

On 29 June, as of 17:45 (CET), MEP Guy Verhofstadt will address the CoR plenary on the follow-up on the Conference on the Future of Europe. The debate will introduce the adoption of a CoR Resolution, the draft text of which suggests, among others, to develop a “permanent and place-based dialogue with citizens as a participatory mechanism that would better link the EU with the realities at local, regional and national levels” (see attachment). Link to the plenary, live web streaming here.

Conference on the Future of Europe: address on the “State of the Union”

On 14 September, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will give her annual “State of the Union” address in the European Parliament to include the follow-up on the Conference on the Future of Europe (tbc). Link.

Conference on the Future of Europe: feed-back to citizens

In September or October, a conference for the 800 members of the European Citizens’ Panels of the Conference on the Future of Europe will be held in the EP in Strasbourg to look back and provide feed-back on the process (tbc). Link.

Citizens’ participation in Germany

On 3 May, the president of the German national parliament, the Bundestag, Bärbel Bas, announced that the assembly will start a national citizens’ assembly before the end of 2022. Link.

On 14 June, “Mehr Demokratie”, German NGO supporting citizens’ participation, presented its project “LOSLAND”, which brings together ten villages, towns and cities to exchange on citizens’ assemblies, which aim at making their constituencies future proof. Link.

On 22 June, the in-coming government of Schleswig-Holstein presented its programme announcing legal acts to establish citizens’ assemblies at the level of the region and municipalities. Moreover, the numbers of people necessary to request referenda will be lowered. Link (in German)

On 23 June, the in-coming government of North Rhine-Westphalia presented its programme including the establishment of two regional citizens’ assemblies on selected topics. Link (in German).

On 23 June, an article on lessons learned from citizens’ participation in Germany was published by Rikki Dean et. al in “German Politics”. Link.

Citizens’ participation: papers, debates, seminars

On 12-14 October, the “Federation for Innovation in Democracy – Europe” (FIDE) and “Rohetiiger”, an Estonian cooperation platform working with climate assemblies, will hold an autumn school on deliberative democracy in Tartu, Estonia. Link

On 20/21 October, the 4th Citizen Engagement and Deliberative Democracy Festival will be held online by the European Commission’s respective competence centre. Link.