13.2 C
Saturday, September 23, 2023
EuropeTime for real EU unity: Conference adopts proposals for change

Time for real EU unity: Conference adopts proposals for change

DISCLAIMER: Information and opinions reproduced in the articles are the ones of those stating them and it is their own responsibility. Publication in The European Times does not automatically means endorsement of the view, but the right to express it.

DISCLAIMER TRANSLATIONS: All articles in this site are published in English. The translated versions are done through an automated process known as neural translations. If in doubt, always refer to the original article. Thank you for understanding.

More from the author

Critical raw materials - plans to secure EU supply and sovereignty

Critical raw materials – plans to secure EU supply and sovereignty

Electric cars, solar panels and smartphones - all of them contain critical raw materials. They are the lifeblood of our modern societies.
plans to protect consumers from energy market manipulation

Plans to protect consumers from energy market manipulation

The law aims to tackle increased energy market manipulation by strengthening transparency, oversight mechanisms
Media Freedom Act: strengthens transparency and independence of EU media

Media Freedom Act: strengthens transparency and independence of EU media

The Culture and Education Committee amended the Media Freedom Act to make sure it applies to all media content and protects editorial decisions
The Conference on the Future of Europe plenary adopted 49 proposals with more than 300 measures for change at its final session on 29-30 April.

The proposals draw on recommendations from European citizens’ panels, national citizens’ panels and events as well as ideas submitted on the online platform of the Conference.

They were formulated in nine working groups including citizens, members of the European Parliament, the Council, the European Commission and national parliaments as well as representatives of other EU bodies, regional and local authorities, social partners and civil society.

Speaking at the end of the plenary session, Conference co-chair Guy Verhofstadt said that the work of the Conference is a return to the legacy of those who set the foundation for the European project after the Second World War. Referring to the challenges that the EU faces now, including the war in Ukraine, he said: “It’s time to go back to [the founding fathers’] dream, to their initial objective of creating real European unity, real European integration. A revival of the ideas of the founding fathers is necessary for the survival of our beautiful continent.”

In an earlier plenary speech, Verhofstadt had described the perils ahead and the need for the EU to change: “The world of tomorrow is a world of empires. It’s a world of danger and in this world we need to defend ourselves, to organise ourselves […] and therefore we need to reform the EU. Not because we like reforms or because it’s fun to do it, but because it is necessary for our survival, because otherwise Europe will disappear.”

The proposals

The proposals adopted by the Conference plenary are grouped into nine topics: climate change and the environment; health; a stronger economy, social justice and jobs; the EU in the world; values and rights, rule of law, security; digital transformation; European democracy; migration; education, culture, youth and sport.

They include calls for a shift in energy production towards renewables, establishing a right for all EU citizens to health care, giving the European Parliament a right of legislative initiative, removing unanimity in the Council on foreign policy and improving education on environmental issues, digital technologies, soft skills and EU values.

Find out about all the proposals of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Time for the EU to deliver

Citizens who took the floor expressed satisfaction at having taken part in the Conference and with the outcome of months of work.

Huub Verhoeven, from the Netherlands, talked about the positive attitude during deliberations: “Regardless of [people’s] background or views, we were always able to work together and come to a consensus and I hope this sets a good example for the politicians.”

Valentina Balzani, from Italy, said: “We are asking for wide-ranging actions that have real and symbolic effects and we hope that our ideas will be listened to seriously and will be put into practice.”

Guy Verhofstadt said MEPs are set to call for the procedure for treaty change to be triggered when they meet on 2-5 May. This would make it possible to deliver on some of the most ambitious proposals coming out of the Conference.

He also said the EU should hold exercises similar to the Conference on a regular basis to get people involved in decision-making. “We could easily, based on our experience, organise every mid-term an exercise like this, as a guidance for the European Parliament, for the European Commission, of what needs to be done in the upcoming years.”

Conference closing event

On 9 May – Europe Day – one year after the Conference on the Future of Europe was officially launched, the co-chairs of the executive board will deliver the conclusions to the presidents of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission at a ceremony in Strasbourg.

The three institutions have committed to following up on the outcome of the Conference.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Must read

Latest articles

- Advertisement -