9 May 2021
9 May, the traditional day of Europe Day, became even more important this year as it marked the launch of the Conference on the Future of Europe, the participatory process jointly established by the Parliament, the Council and the Commission.
A launch celebrated with an inaugural event hosted by the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Before Erasmus students from all Member States and members of the Executive Committee, as well as more than 500 citizens who attended remotely, the Presidents of the European institutions gave speeches on their vision for Europe after President Macron's welcome address.
In his opening remarks, President Macron stressed the need to breathe new democratic life into institutions, and this is the meaning of the Conference on the future of Europe, as the crisis enabled a new European model, based on solidarity, to assert itself. Along the same lines, the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli declared he is convinced that at the end of the pandemic, European solidarity will be needed more than ever for the consequences of the crisis. President Sassoli also insisted on another no less important issue, concerning the updating of the European Treaties. A debate on which courage is needed, without taboos. In this perspective, Sassoli recalled the need to strengthen the capacity and centrality of the EU Parliament, increase the transparency of elections, and address the issue of unanimous voting in the Council.
"To love one another is not about gazing into each other’s eyes. It is about looking together in the same direction ... This is the task and the opportunity ahead of all of us ... The Conference is for all Europeans to debate a shared vision of what we want of our union ... There's always scepticism. And cynicism … So we must ensure it is not an intellectual policy exercise or a closed political compromise". These were the words of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who added "… the Conference is not a panacea or a solution to every problem. And we must listen to all voices…, but I do believe that this conference is a real opportunity to bring Europeans together and rally around a common ambition…".
Representing the Council, the Portuguese President, Antonio Costa, emphasised "This official launch of the conference on the Future of Europe is a message of confidence in the future that we want to convey to all citizens of Europe".
And it is the citizens of Europe who are the main characters and the first recipients of this Conference, which will involve a series of debates and discussions initiated by the citizens themselves and enabling everyone in Europe to share their ideas and help shape our common future. "Today we celebrate our history, our roots and, above all, our future. We ask young Italians and Europeans: let's build it together", Vincenzo Amendola, Undersecretary for European Affairs, wrote on Twitter.Conference on the Future of Europe