EU institutions launch online platform of Conference on the Future of Europe

President of the European Commission for Democracy and Demography Portuguese Ana Paula Zacaria (L), Vice-President of the European Commission for Democracy and Demography Dubravka Suica (C), and member of the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt address the press during the opening remarks by the Co-Chairs of the Conference on the Future of Europe Executive Board in Brussels, Belgium, 19 April 2021. [EPA-EFE/FRANCOIS WALSCHAERTS / POOL]

Top EU officials launched on Monday (19 April) a multilingual digital platform of the Conference on the Future of Europe, a year-long democracy exercise meant to involve Europeans in shaping the future direction of the bloc.

The platform will provide a digital space for citizens to interact and exchange ideas on how they see the future of Europe, and will directly feed in the Conference’s panel discussions.

Following a bottom-up approach, the platform will be the central hub of the Conference, bringing together all citizens’ contribution. To allow for a truly pan-European discussion, it will be available in all 24 EU official languages through immediate translation.

In keeping with the inter-institutional nature of the Conference, the platform was launched in a joint press conference with the three co-chairs of the Conference’s Executive Board: Commission Vice-President Dubravka Šuica, MEP Guy Verhofstadt, and Portuguese Secretary of State Ana Paula Zacarias.

“This truly ambitious conference reinforces our representative democracy. It responds to the needs of citizens by bringing them into the hearth of policy-making in the European Union,” said Šuica, the democracy and demography Commissioner.

According to Verhofstadt, the interactive platform will be the engine of the conference as the conclusions of the online discussions will be the ground to build the second phase of the conference.

As a citizen-led exercise, the platform will be open to all European citizens who are interested in joining an event, exchanging ideas or organising an event to discuss what should be the EU positions on the nine key topics.

The selection of the most relevant ideas discussed on the platform will be powered by Artificial Intelligence. These ideas will then feed into the citizens’ panel discussions that will be one of the building blocks of the conference.

The European Commission is committed to following up on whatever request might be made by the European citizens, hence not excluding a possible charge of the Treaties currently in force. Vice-President Šuica also mentioned that, if successful, the online platform might become a permanent public consultation tool.

The official launch of the Conference will take place on Europe Day (9 May).

EURACTIV will shortly launch a new website to monitor the progress of the conference and allow key stakeholders to exchange ideas on all relevant issues.

Launch event of EU reform conference will be online focused, says Commissioner

The event formally launching the Conference on the Future of Europe on 9 May is set to be a ‘hybrid’ of online and physical participation because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the EU Commissioner tasked with guiding the process said on Thursday (15 April).

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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