European Commission Vice-President Dubravka Šuica has underlined that the three European institutions – Parliament, Council and Commission – will speak with “one voice” through the Conference on the Future of Europe.
“Through the conference, we enter a new phase of politics at European level”, as “the three European institutions […] speak with one voice”, said the Commissioner for Democracy and Demography at the closing of a virtual debate on the future of Europe on Wednesday (21 April).
This is why the conference “is not about one person or one institution”, said Šuica, who is responsible, on the Commission’s side, for the Conference on the Future of Europe.
She stressed “the need for a democracy fit for the future”, warning that no democratic state was free from a “retreat”.
It was “vital” that political decision-makers, as citizens, “actively and consistently” review European democracy and its mechanisms in order to “see how they can be improved from the bottom up,” she added.
For Šuica, “a well-functioning democracy is based on trust and should not be taken for granted”, so for it to work, “we must all be prepared to compromise”, trusting “constituents to help us deliver our policies”.
On the other hand, political institutions themselves “that cater to citizens can also work to empower them, not leaving a vacuum for others to exploit.”
“This is where the conference has a key role to play: leading the way in developing democracy on an unprecedented scale,” she stressed.
Following the launch last Monday of the multilingual digital platform enabling all European Union (EU) citizens to participate in the Future of Europe Conference, Šuica pointed to “awareness raising” as “the next big step”.
“The platform allows citizens to start getting involved now, without further delay. After this morning, we have over 3,000 contributions on the platform, which means it is a good tool in times of pandemic”.
Ultimately, the conference is, according to the Commissioner, a “tool to help build and strengthen the vibrant European public space for discussion and debate”.
The formal launch of the Future of Europe Conference is scheduled for 9 May, Europe Day.
The Conference will be chaired by the Prime Minister, António Costa, because he holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU until 30 June, the President of the European Parliament (EP), David Sassoli, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
Šuica participated today in a virtual debate entitled “The Future of Europe”, organised by the European People’s Party group in the European Parliament, on the goals that Europe should achieve and how Europe sees itself in the coming years, especially to provide better prospects for the younger generation and to build a stronger European democracy that empowers its citizens.
[Edited by Josie Le Blond]