Malta takes part in the inaugural Plenary session of the Conference on the Future of Europe

The inaugural Plenary session of the Conference on the Future of Europe was held today, June 19, in Strasbourg, co-chaired by Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica, Member of the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt, and Portuguese Secretary of State for EU Affairs from the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Ana Paula Zacarias. The Plenary session followed a European citizens’ event, called Citizens’ Panel, which was held on June 17 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Today’s Conference Plenary was composed of 108 representatives of the European Parliament, 54 from the Council (2 per Member State) and 3 from the European Commission, representatives from the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee, 108 representatives from the national Parliaments and the President of the European Youth Forum, together with a wide representation of citizens.

Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, Carmelo Abela; Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds, Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi;Members of the European Parliament, Josianne Cutajar and Roberta Metsola; Maltese Members of Parliament Claudette Buttigieg, Rosianne Cutajar, Joseph Ellis and Jean Claude Micallef; CEO of Servizzi Ewropej f’Malta, Mandy Falzon; and Member of the European Economic and Social Committee, Stefano Mallia, participated in the Conference Plenary.

In his intervention on behalf of the Maltese Government, Minister Carmelo Abela said that the European project is not something which should be taken for granted or a model that fits all. “Just as Europe’s founding fathers had the vision to foresee a common European project with common values, we should be inspired by that same vigour to work towards a European community which takes into account the different realities and reflects citizens’ aspirations. That is why I believe that this Conference should result in a truly effective exercise which implements the citizens’ real concerns and aspirations that guarantees a better quality of life for all and a true sense of belonging to the European project.

Ms Mandy Falzon, spoke of the Conference as a unique opportunity to reach out to citizens particularly those that usually feel disengaged when hearing about anything related to the EU. “By cooperating closely with civil society organisations, social partners and other stakeholders including the European Parliament Information Office and the European Commission Representation we intend to organise debates, discussions and dialogues to engage citizens from all walks of life from young children to young people and the elderly. Together we want to ensure that this initiative is not another passive listening exercise but one in which every citizen feels that they have a voice in shaping the European future.

The Conference on the Future of Europe is a major democratic exercise, providing a unique opportunity for an open, inclusive, transparent and structured debate with EU citizens around a number of key priorities and challenges. It is a call to action to all citizens to engage with the EU, to share their ideas and to take part in events, or indeed to organise events themselves, thus creating joint ownership of the Conference by citizens, institutions and other stakeholders. A feedback mechanism ensures that the ideas expressed during the Conference events result in concrete recommendations for EU actions.

The Multilingual Digital Platform (www.futureu.europa.eu) is the main hub of the Conference and remains available at all times for citizens to share ideas on key thematic issues, organise events and receive information on how, when and where they can participate in this pan-European initiative.

The Conference is being promoted in Malta by Servizzi Ewropej f’Malta, the Permanent Representation of Malta to the EU, the EU Coordination Department within the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs, the European Commission Representation in Malta and the European  Parliament Liaison Office in Malta.

For more information, Servizzi Ewropej f’Malta may be contacted on info.sem@gov.mt.

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