Conference on the Future of Europe – a public dialogue on the future of Europe
The Conference on the Future of Europe will be launched on 9 May, Europe Day, and will run for a year. It will conclude in spring 2022 during the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
On 10 March, European Parliament President David Sassoli, Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa, on behalf of the Presidency of the Council, and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen signed the Joint Declaration on the Conference on the Future of Europe. The Declaration establishes the framework of the Conference, which aims to strengthen democracy in Europe and increase the opportunity for people to express their views and discuss EU issues and thereby influence Europe´s future.
The Conference will be carried out at a local, national and EU level
At European level, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union will organise European citizens’ dialogues. Member States and other European and national actors can organise events, such as public citizens debates, discussions on different policy areas and different types of seminars.
Input from all the events will be collected, analysed and published throughout the Conference via a multilingual digital platform. This will also be a space for citizens to share their ideas and submit suggestions online.
A Conference Plenary organized by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union will discuss the ideas from these without a predetermined outcome.
An important aim of the Conference on the Future of Europe is to engage citizens throughout society in a dialogue on EU issues, and to target young people, in particular. The Minister for EU Affairs plans, for example, to continue his discussions with young people, through different channels.
The Government considers itself as one of several actors in Sweden that has a leading role in organising and participating in the dialogue on Europe’s future. Participation by civil society, the Riksdag, political parties, the social partners and regional and local representatives creates favourable conditions to reach to and engage citizens from all walks of life.
An important ambition is that participation in the activities that are organised will incorporate a gender perspective.
Government will contribute to an active and interactive dialogue on the EU
In Sweden, the discussion on the EU’s future has taken place through various initiatives in recent years. The aim is to increase citizens’ insight into decision-making processes at EU level to a comparable level as at the municipal, regional and national level. Spreading information and knowledge about EU policy and listening to citizens are essential to achieving this objective.
The Swedish Government works actively and resolutely to encourage more people and organisations to take an interest and engage in EU issues. During 2020, school visits carried out by the Minister for EU Affairs have been an important arena for citizens’ dialogues with young people. The ‘EU Handshake’ initiative, launched in December 2016, aims to boost participation, knowledge and engagement in EU-related issues in Sweden.
The Minister for EU Affairs is leading and is responsible for the Government’s work with the Conference on the Future of Europe.
Vision of a more resilient EU for its citizens
The hope is that the conference will be able to contribute to a lively discussion among citizens about EU policy and the cross-border challenges facing Europe. The Government’s EU priorities focus on five areas: democracy and the rule of law, climate, jobs, immigration and security. These will guide the Government’s participation in the Conference on the future of Europe.