Brussels, December 7 (TASR-correspondent) – The end of 2021 marks a ‘changing of the guard’ in terms of EU-institution oversight of the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE), and the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU will be replaced by the French one as of 1 January, TASR learnt on Tuesday.
At the same time, French Secretary of State for European Affairs Clement Beaune will become a new co-chair of the CoFoE’s Executive Board, replacing Slovenian Foreign Affairs Ministry State Secretary Gasper Dovzan in the post.
Referring to the CoFoE, Dovzan has repeatedly stated that the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency include work in the field of migration, the European way of life, the protection of European trading interests, efforts to strengthen the role of the Union in the near and wider neighbourhood and a stronger voice in multilateral global relations.
“The active presence and engagement of the public in the digital platform, citizens’ forums and related events clearly shows that they want to be more actively involved in the debate about the kind of Europe in which they want to live in both the near and distant future. We’d like to hear what people have to say on these topics,” said Dovzan in November.
The Slovenian presidency will be followed by the French one, and Beaune will be able to build on the results of a national final report that represents the French contribution to the discussions on the future of Europe. The French final report is a synthesis of the results of 18 regional conferences and more than 50,000 online contributions from young people, ordinary people and organisations.
In the report, the French call for a stronger, greener and more united EU, as well as for “energy frugality”, a reduction in excess consumption, a reduction in the number of non-organic vehicles, but also a stronger role for Europe in the world, a new Commissioner for Defence and a permanent EU army deployable anywhere in the world, autonomous and competitive European industry and a direct election of the president of the European Commission. At the same time, the French have demanded a stronger role for ordinary citizens.
Beaune expressed the hope that the broad consultation, which started at the EU level this spring, will conclude as originally planned in April or May 2022 and will lead to clear guidelines and proposals for reforms in Europe in the decade ahead.