What is the Conference about?
The Conference on the Future of Europe is an open and inclusive exercise in deliberative democracy like nothing we have done before. It allows Europeans to share their expectations and ideas of Europe and formulate proposals to help guide future EU policies. It was agreed upon by the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission in a joint declaration signed on 10 March 2021 in Brussels. The three institutions, whose presidents form the Joint Presidency, have committed to listen to Europeans and to follow up swiftly, within their sphere of competences, on the recommendations made. The Conference is expected to reach its conclusions by Spring 2022. The work of the Conference is overseen by an Executive Board, on behalf of the Joint Presidency. It is composed of representatives from the three institutions on equal footing and jointly chaired. COSAC representatives from EU National Parliaments participate as observers to all board meetings. Representatives from the European Committee of the Regions, the European Economic and Social Committee and social partners are also invited as observers.
How the Conference works
The Conference was officially launched on 9 May 2021 with a ceremony at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, after the adoption of its Rules of Procedure by the Executive Board. This followed the launch of the Multilingual Digital Platform of the Conference on 19 April. The platform is the place for citizens to submit proposals online, share ideas and interact in the EU’s 24 official languages. These contributions will be collected, analysed and monitored throughout the Conference. The platform also groups events held by people and organisations as well as national, regional and local authorities across Europe. The key ideas and recommendations from the platform will be used as input for the other two components of the Conference, the European Citizens' Panels and the Plenary. The 4 European Citizens’ Panels will each be composed of 200 randomly selected citizens who will discuss different topics and put forward their proposals. The panels will be representative of the EU’s population in terms of geographic origin, gender, age and socioeconomic background.
The Conference Plenary will debate and discuss the recommendations from the national and European Citizens’ Panels, and the input gathered from the Multilingual Digital Platform, grouped by themes. After these recommendations have been presented by and discussed with citizens, the Plenary will put forward its proposals for the Conference conclusions to the Executive Board. The latter will draw up a report in full collaboration and full transparency with the Plenary. The Conference Plenary is composed of 108 representatives from the European Parliament, 54 from the Council, 3 from the European Commission, 108 from national Parliaments on an equal footing, and 108 citizens. 18 representatives from the Committee of the Regions and 18 from the Economic and Social Committee, 6 elected representatives from regional authorities and 6 elected representatives from local authorities, 12 representatives from the social partners and 8 from civil society will also participate. The meetings of the Conference Plenary, which will be presided by the 3 Co-Chairs of the Executive Board, will be held in the EP premises in Strasbourg in all the official languages of the Union and live-streamed.
The European Parliament’s Delegation to the Conference Plenary comprises 108 MEPs from all 7 political groups and Non-Attached members. It includes six out of seven of Parliament's representatives and observers to the Executive Board of the Conference and is led by Guy Verhofstadt (Renew, BE). The Delegation holds its meetings in advance of the Conference Plenaries to prepare Parliament’s contribution, starting from the inaugural Plenary on 18-19 June 2021.