Bratislava, December 2 (TASR) – The European Union (EU) should work hard to get people better involved in the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE); it should ensure that marginalised groups, people who disagree with or want to leave the EU, are given space, the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MFA) told TASR on Thursday, adding that it’s important that the voices of women and the elderly are heard more.
The Foreign Ministry sees the duration of the conference as a shortcoming. The whole process was originally scheduled to take two years and was expected to begin in May 2020. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, CoFoE was launched a year later, shortening its duration to one year. “We consider it to be a very short period for such an important project,” said the ministry. It also sees the overall structure of the conference as a minus, which, according to the ministry, is very complicated and cumbersome. “For this reason, it may remain misunderstood by people and therefore inaccessible,” stated the ministry.
The positive thing about CoFoE, according to the ministry, is that it puts citizens in the centre, because they will be given space to express themselves “from every corner of Europe”. “It is possible that the platform will remain a permanent part of the EU decision-making processes in the future, after the end of the conference,” said the MFA, adding that all people’s comments are welcome and feedback on any topic is important for EU leaders.
According to the ministry, another advantage of the CoFoE is the involvement of the Western Balkan countries in the ongoing discussions and their plenary sessions of the conference. “For our neighbours, this is a clear signal that our future is also their future,” said the ministry.