Bratislava, June 23 (TASR) – Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine has significantly influenced the results of the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE), head of the European Parliament Office in Slovakia Robert Sermek has stated in an interview on TASR TV.
“[The war in Ukraine] has affected the CoFoE significantly, despite the fact [the invasion] started in February, when the conference was already coming to a close and the final recommendations were being finalised. It could be said that in every topic of the recommendations there is some reference to the war in Ukraine. Indeed, it has thematically influenced topics such as energy security, but also value issues,” Sermek said.
According to him, because of the war, EU citizens have become aware of the benefits of being part of the Union, as well as the very values on which it’s based. “[People have realised] that the EU is not just some ATM for money, but that it really brings peace and stability to the people who are part of the European Union,” he said.
As for specific recommendations from the CoFoE citizens’ panels, Sermek pointed in particular to recommendations on energy and foreign policy. “Due to the war, for instance, the need for a common European defence policy was mentioned in the recommendations quite prominently,” Sermek explained.
Assessing the results of the CoFoE, Sermek also pointed to the fact that the conference wasn’t just a single event, but a year-long process with a series of events in several countries. In this regard, he also highlighted the multilingual digital platform futureu.europa.eu, through which citizens could present their proposals and suggestions, including in Slovak. “Each of us could post our suggestions, proposals and ideas, so [the digital platform] was an important tool,” Sermek said.