Bratislava, November 29 (TASR) – French President Emmanuel Macron was among the first to propose the idea of holding a Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE), but the idea of creating a forum for debate – the aim of which would be to determine the shape of the European Union in five, ten or twenty years time – is not new, head of the European Parliament Liaison Office in Slovakia Robert Sermek has stated in an interview for TASR TV.
The French president proposed organising a “conference for Europe” in an article published in several European periodicals in March 2019, before the most recent election to the European Parliament. A few months later, European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen decided to put the idea on her agenda.
“The idea comes from French President Emmanuel Macron, who promoted self-reflection in the European Union in his pre-election campaign, and it’s also France that wants the conference to produce conclusions in the first half of next year. This is because France will hold the presidency of the Council of the EU [from January to June 2022],” explained Sermek.
“Something similar has taken place in the past. It was the Convention on the Future of the European Union. However, there was one big difference, which was that the Convention was made up of politicians without the direct participation of EU citizens, so the politicians actually spent several months drawing up conclusions, and in the end they drew up a draft European Constitution … The big difference now is that the CoFoE isn’t based on what politicians think, but on what people think and want,” said the office head.
The CoFoE started by creating an online platform available in all 24 EU national languages – the first ever platform of this kind. Citizens from all 27 EU-member states have the opportunity to discuss the future of Europe and propose their own ideas. “The site works in all EU languages, meaning that there is no need for foreign language skills.
Everyone can express themselves in their own language, and everyone can choose a topic that interests them. It’s the best way to contribute a specific idea or suggestion to this conference without having to travel somewhere or attend events,” remarked Sermek, adding that several thousand suggestions have already been registered.