Conference on the Future of Europe

Second Conference Plenary meeting in Strasbourg discusses citizens’ contributions

Representatives and citizens from all over Europe met on Friday and Saturday, October 22 and 23at the European Parliament in Strasbourg to discuss reports from the European Citizens’ Panels, national panels and events, the European Youth Event and the Multilingual Digital Platform of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

SEM CEO, Mandy Falzon, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Carmelo Abela, MEP Josianne Cutajar, MPs Jean-Claude Micallef and Joseph Ellis, intervened during the Conference Plenary.

On Friday, October 22, the Conference Plenary working groups, composed of representatives from all components of the Conference, including MEPs, national parliamentarians, government representatives, the Commission, social partners, civil society, and citizens.

During the first day of the second plenary session of the Conference, a number of working sessions were organised to debate a number of topics including health, migration, the rule of law, European values, democracy and climate action. During the working groups, participants had the opportunity to share their views on the respective topics and discuss the challenges and opportunities that the EU will face in the coming years.

The sessions were held in preparation for the plenary session in which participants were given the opportunity to share the outcomes of the working groups and allow for a debate on the need to listen to citizens and what they have to say. Information was provided on the effectiveness of the Digital Platform to engage citizens from all walks of life to share their views and aspirations. During this session, over 108 citizens were present and given the opportunity to share directly their views.

On Saturday, the Plenary meeting was opened by the Co-Chairs of the Conference's Executive Board, Guy Verhofstadt (European Parliament), State Secretary GašperDovžan on behalf of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU and European Commission Vice-President DubravkaŠuica.

In her intervention, SEM CEO Mandy Falzon spoke about the positive experience of the agency in promoting the Conference in Malta and in the organisation of national events to engage citizens in the debate on the Future of Europe. Ms Falzon referred to activities with children and public debates on European values and on the future of health and work in the EU. She said that for their future, children want to live in a society that is equal and fair. This could only be achieved if there is full respect from everyone. Citizens also want the EU to see that policies are really effective in their daily lives.

Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Carmelo Abela, in his intervention said that the Conference can be meaningful if the EU has the ability to respond to citizens’ needs and aspirations. Citizens are already sending clear signals that they care about the future of our planet, and what the EU is doing to safeguard the quality of our air, our food, and our water. They also care about the health of our societies, with issues like social justice, gender equality, and working conditions being topmost in their minds.

Minister Abela pointed out that it is worrying that citizens’ overall engagement with the Digital Platform remains low, especially with women and older groups.

We must ensure that citizens from all walks of life have the opportunity to participate and have their voice heard. We must ensure that the outcomes of the Conference genuinely reflect the citizens hopes and concerns. The future is not simply something we enter, but something that we create. Our citizens are looking towards Europe for their wellbeing. We cannot let them down.

The Citizens’ Panels and the Conference Plenaries
The European Citizens’ Panels are a central feature of the Conference organised by the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission. They are an unprecedented transnational and multilingual exercise in deliberative democracy, one that offers European citizens a central role in shaping the future of the EU. The Panels’ deliberations will take on board the contributions from the Multilingual Digital Platform and the recommendations stemming from national citizens' Panels and events organised across Member States.

The second Conference Plenary follows the first sessions of the four European Citizens' Panels that took place in Strasbourg in September and October 2021. In each Panel, around 200 citizens from across the Member States (a third of them younger than 25) debated topics within their respective remit.

The reports from the first sessions of the Panels and the lists of streams and sub-topics the citizens selected for their further discussions are available on the Multilingual Digital Platform.

You can find more information on the Plenary’s composition, purpose and work, and download all relevant documents on the Conference Plenary webpage.

Contributions from the European Youth Event
The European Youth Event (EYE2021) took place on 8-9 October, with 5,000 young people at the European Parliament in Strasbourg and another 5,000 online, to discuss more than 2,000 ideas for shaping the future of Europe. The most popular 20 ideas from EYE2021 were presented by two young participants at the Conference Plenary.

The contributions on the Multilingual Digital Platform
With more than three million visitors, 30,000 active participants, 8,000 ideas debated, and almost 3,000 events registered, the platform is at the heart of the transnational democratic debate of the Conference. European democracy, and climate change and the environment, are currently the most popular topics of discussion among the participants. Citizens from all EU countries have also put forward a multitude of ideas on other subjects.

On October 15, the second report on the Multilingual Digital Platform was published, with an overview of citizens’ contributions until September 7, 2021.