Bratislava/Brussels, December 23 (TASR-correspondent) – The Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) is a unique attempt to ask people questions and then work with their answers, European Commission Vice-president for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova has told TASR, adding that she views the Conference as necessary.
Jourova, along with Dubravka Suica and Maros Sefcovic, has been representing the European Commission at the CoFoE plenary and has been presiding over the working group for democracy within the Conference. The discussions held so far within the four discussion citizens’ panels, plus contributions on the digital platform, have indicated that Europeans want the Conference or some format of direct discussions with politicians to continue even after the CoFoE ends, which is scheduled for May 2022.
Jourova supports both ways, as the CoFoE and “this whole big collection of opinions” need to be concluded at a specific time – next May. This will give the European Commission, which submits legislative initiatives, enough time to react to people’s ideas and launch respective initiatives within its current term, i.e. by mid-2024.
“We’ll take it over and start working on implementing the submitted proposals, either via legislation or various financial programmes,” said Jourova regarding further proceedings.
Meanwhile, the European commissioner will personally push for the digital multi-lingual platform to remain functional. There have been almost 4.5 million contributions from Europeans, their ideas and the results of the discussions already. “It’s a very fresh reservoir of ideas from people, and I’d be glad if the platform remained open,” she said.
Jourova said that the Czech Republic is ready, within its Presidency of the Council of the EU (July 1-December 31, 2022), to take over auspices over the CoFoE if it isn’t concluded during the French Presidency. It was French President Emmanuel Macron who came up with the idea of organising the Conference, and he also plans to conclude the project. However, the pandemic or the upcoming presidential elections in France could cause delays.