MFA: CoFoE Hasn’t Aroused Huge Interest Among People, Reason is Pandemic

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Illustration picture (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, February 4 (TASR) – The Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) has not yet aroused any huge interest among citizens, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) stated in its annual report on Slovakia’s membership of the EU in 2021, ascribing it to the persisting coronavirus pandemic.

“This unique project of participatory democracy, which aims to communicate with citizens and collect their opinions and suggestions for the further functioning of the Union, is facing several challenges. Although it has brought several concrete outputs and new procedures, it has not met with significant interest among citizens, which is a result, among other things, of the ongoing pandemic,” reads the report. The ministry noted that the EU has opened up space to improve its functioning, however, the ongoing efforts for the long-awaited reflection are reaching their limits.

The CoFoE started with a one-year delay in May 2021. “It is an exceptional project of participatory democracy, the first of its kind in the EU, which aims to actively engage EU citizens in the debate on the EU’s functioning and to garner their proposals and recommendations for its further operation,” wrote the ministry. The conference includes EU-wide citizens’ panels, national panels and discussions, as well as a multilingual digital platform. All the EU institutions and member states are taking part in it.

The national discussion on the future of Europe in Slovakia as part of the CofoE Concept took place under two pillars in 2021. These were the MYSMEEU (WeAreEU) project aimed at events for the general public and the National Convention on the EU project focused on expert discussions on the EU sectoral policies in order to make these issues visible and prepare recommendations for the government. The CoFoE at both the national and European levels is expected to end in May 2022.