Bratislava/Brussels, December 17 (TASR) – Citizens’ panels of the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) are an element of direct democracy and give citizens of member states the opportunity to express their views on the EU’s functioning and institutions, MEP Miroslav Radacovsky (Slovak Patriot, Independents) has told TASR.
“I’d even dare to say that this form of expressing the public’s opinions should be applied in many areas of the social and economic lives of societies,” he said.
The CoFoE brings together four citizens’ panels made up of 200 randomly selected EU citizens .. Radacovsky sees the conference’s biggest positive in the fact that people’s statements, their suggestions for improvements, but also possible critical views won’t be bound by the opinions of, for example, MEPs, members of individual factions. According to Radacovsky, their opinions are often influenced by their membership of political parties or political groupings in national states.
“This also contradicts the basic principles of the EU’s functioning, as each MEP must be independent of the political parties of which they are a member,” he said.
Radacovsky sees room for improving the Conference in the field of ecology and in emphasising its vital importance for Europe and the world. “Given global trade relations, I also see room for improvements in protecting consumer rights and supporting consumer protection associations in individual countries,” he added.
Radacovsky is a member of the EP’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee and the Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age. According to him, digitisation and consumer protection concern all EU citizens “regardless of their membership of a political party, ideology or political worldview”.
“That is why I believe that we’ll be able to strengthen the status of consumers so that they can become the driving force behind the green and digital transformation,” he said.
The CoFoE is an initiative of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council, which gives citizens of member states the chance to express their views on the future direction of the EU. A total of 800 representatives of EU citizens were divided into four panels, within which they will meet three times between September 2021 and January 2022.