Largely neglected conference focuses on Europe’s future – EURACTIV.de

Largely neglected conference focuses on Europe's future - EURACTIV.de

The Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE), proposed by Chancellor Angela Merkel to address issues related to Poland’s rule of law, has not yet been addressed. But this does not mean that the participants were not busy.

Disputes over the rule of law in Poland and Hungary have dominated EU affairs over the past few weeks. The situation worsened after the controversial decision of the Polish Supreme Court, with commentators comparing it to a “legal polocity”.

Entering the Council of Europe on Thursday (October 21), Merkel said, “Europe’s future conference is actually a good place to discuss these issues with each other.

They also noted that CoFoE is a good place to talk about “how each member imagines the European Union”. However, the first plenary session of the conference was held on October 23 but it did not make any big waves.

“The first three lines must be VIPs or guests, and many of them are not here,” said Mark Plesco, a representative of the Slovenian National Panels. Union “.

According to the European Commission, the conference was the center of more than 3,000 events attended by more than 140,000 people.

So far, the conference has been planned due to the low turnout on the part of VIPs and guests, and so far very few EU citizens have attended via the digital platform.

“We have about 22,500 participants: inside the platform,” said Guy Verhofstad, conference co-chair. With 3.5 million visitors to the platform, the participation rate is relatively low.

In addition, the majority of the 22,500 people who attended the conference were men.

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“The second interim report shows that only 15% of registered partners are women,” said LC Gislegard, a representative of Swedish national organizations. In order for the digital platform to develop its “true democratic potential”, it must be used equally.

As for the results of the conference, it is still unclear whether they will play a role.

Are citizens and politicians in line?

When Merkel allowed citizens to discuss the rule of law and each country’s perspective on the European Union, the issues of “climate change and the environment” and “European democracy” aroused the greatest interest.

The role of the European Union in the world, as well as all other issues such as “a strong economy, social justice and jobs”, received more attention and led to more discussions. These issues have proven to be more relevant to EU citizens.

One of the most frequent topics was “How more social Europe, more social rights can improve the lives of ordinary working people,” Eon Stafford, a representative of the Irish National Panel, said after discussions with his Irish colleagues.

He explained that the EU Stimulus Package “will greatly help overcome the COVID crisis by creating jobs, but at the same time ensuring that social rights are protected”, which he would like to emphasize in his working group.

It is doubtful whether CoFoE, which was planned long after Europe’s May 9 to bring about the liberation of the rule of law that Merkel hopes for, will receive significant attention. During the first plenary session of CoFoE, the agenda was set on other issues such as climate change, health and social issues.

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[Bearbeitet von Alice Taylor]

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