The Future of Europe Conference, which has been held by the European Union (EU) for a year, ends today.
Although the idea of the conference was brought to the agenda by many European politicians years ago with the concern that the EU had lost its vision for the future, it could not be realized due to some reasons such as political conflicts and bureaucratic obstacles. Finally, the conference, which started unofficially in March 2021, was officially opened on 9 May 2021, on Europe Day, after the discussions about who would lead the conference, also proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron, were overcome.
At the conference, jointly led by the heads of the European Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament for a year, panels were held where citizens living in EU countries discussed “what kind of Europe they would like to see in the future”, the challenges facing Europe and the priorities of the continent.
Citizens can access many areas such as climate change and environment, health, economy, social justice, unemployment, foreign policy, security, rule of law, rights and values, digital transformation, democracy, migration, education, culture, youth and sports on the website established for this purpose. offered their opinions, suggestions or recommendations.
The last session of the European Parliament General Assembly in Strasbourg, which was held with the participation of EU administrators from time to time, was held on 29-30 April and 49 of the proposals were agreed upon. The final report containing these proposals will be presented today to Ursula von der Leyen, European Parliament (EP) President Roberta Metsola and French President Emmanuel Macron. Then the trio will hold a press conference.
The report includes suggestions such as changing the founding agreements, switching to a “qualified majority” system instead of the unanimity principle in the voting system, giving more authority to the Commission in areas such as defense, leaving the final word on the budget to the EP.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, in his speech at the AP last week, emphasized that the war in Ukraine is one of the biggest crises that the EU has faced and that affects every field from economy to security, and said that EU institutions are insufficient to provide services in such situations. Expressing that the EU needs a pragmatic federalism that covers all areas, Draghi said, “If this requires the start of a process that will lead to a review of the agreements, we should embrace it.” he had spoken.
On the other hand, a group of EU countries such as Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Sweden, Bulgaria, Czechia and Malta are expected to sign a joint document criticizing the recommendations in the final report.
The European Conservatives and Reformists Group withdrew from the process on the grounds that the conference participants were “pro-European” and did not reflect the “average EU citizen” view.
It is stated that these countries especially oppose the change of the founding agreements on the grounds that the EU does not urgently need an institutional reform.
The report, which will not be technically binding, is expected to be evaluated by the Commission, Council and EP. Any resulting text requires the approval of all 27 EU countries. The current consensus principle makes it difficult to reform within the EU. An important example of this was the 2005 veto of the adoption of the EU Constitution by the two countries as a result of the referendums in France and the Netherlands.
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