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Joint Declaration on the Conference on the Future of Europe

21 April 2021

On 10 March 2021, David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, Antonio Costa, President-in-Office of the EU Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, undersigned, on behalf of their respective EU institutions, the Joint Declaration on the Conference on the Future of Europe.

The Declaration lays down the following indications concerning the structure and work of the Conference:

  • Based on a bottom-up, citizen-centred approach, through multiple events and debates throughout the Union, the work of the Conference should focus on the needs and expectations of European citizens as well as a multilingual interactive digital platform. The Declaration specifies that within the Conference framework and in full respect of the principles set out in the Declaration, events will be organised in partnership with civil society and stakeholders at European, national, regional and local level, with national and regional parliaments, the European Committee of the Regions, the Economic and Social Committee, as well as social partners and academia;
  • Although digital engagement efforts and activities have proven vital to cope with COVID-19 distancing measures and restrictions, physical participation and in-person exchanges should be an essential part of the Conference;
  • European institutions commit themselves to organising European Citizens' Panels, which should take account of the contributions collected within the Conference and feed into the work of the plenary through a set of recommendations. These panels should be representative in terms of geographical origin, gender, age, socio-economic background and/or educational level of participants, with specific events dedicated to young people. Each Member State and institution may organise additional events, in line with their national or institutional specificities, and provide further contributions to the Conference, such as citizens' panels at national level or thematic events bringing together contributions from different panels;
  • Contributions from all Conference-related events will be collected, analysed, monitored and published throughout the Conference via a multilingual digital platform enabling EU citizens to share their ideas and submit contributions on line. A feedback mechanism will ensure that ideas conceived during Conference-related events are translated into concrete recommendations for future EU action;
  • The President of the European Parliament, the President of the Council and the President of the European Commission will act as joint chairs;
  • A streamlined governance structure should guide the Conference and ensure equal and gender-balanced representation of the three European institutions in all its components;
  • The work of the Conference should be steered by an Executive Committee composed of 9 members (3 representatives each from the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council of the EU) and up to 4 observers from each institution (for the Executive Committee to include a representative from all 7 EP parliamentary groups). The Presidential Troika of COSAC (i.e. representatives from Member States’ national Parliaments holding the past, current and future Presidencies of the Council of the EU) will participate as observers;
  • The Executive Committee will be in charge of deciding, by consensus, over the Conference work, and drafting and publishing the conclusions of plenary sessions;
  • A small-sized secretariat, representing the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission, will assist the work of the Executive Committee;
  • The plenary session of the Conference – which should ensure that the recommendations of citizens' groups are discussed without a predetermined outcome and without limiting the scope to predetermined policy areas – will meet at least every 6 months (i.e. at least three times between spring 2021 and spring 2022) and will be composed of representatives from the Parliament, the Council and the European Commission, as well as representatives from all national Parliaments on an equal footing, and citizens. Representatives from the European Committee of the Regions, the Economic and Social Committee, social partners and civil society will also join. The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy will be associated with the work of the Plenary whereby the international role of the EU is under discussion. Representatives of key stakeholders may be invited;
  • The Conference is expected to conclude its work by spring 2022 (under the French Presidency of the Council of the EU). The final outcome will be presented in a report to the joint presidency. The three institutions will examine how to follow up this report effectively, each within its own sphere of competence and in accordance with the Treaties;
  • Based on the European Council's strategic agenda and the European Commission's 2019-2024 policy orientations, and considering the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the work of the Conference will inter alia cover the following topics:
    - Building a healthy continent;
    - The fight against climate change and environmental challenges;
    - An economy that serves people;
    - Social equity, equality and intergenerational solidarity;
    - The digital transformation of Europe;
    - European rights and values, including the rule of law;
    - Migration challenges;
    - Security;
    - The role of the EU in the world;
    - Democratic foundations and how to strengthen the EU's democratic processes;
  • The discussion may also cover cross-cutting topics relating to the EU's ability to deliver on its political priorities, including better lawmaking, application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, implementation and enforcement of European legislation and transparency;
  • The scope of the Conference should reflect the domains where the EU may take action or where EU action would benefit European citizens. Citizens are free to raise further issues of their concern;
  • A unique identity will make the Conference easily recognisable, and a Conference Charter will regulate the organisation of events.


(Source: Italy’s Chamber of Deputies)

Conference on the Future of Europe
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