The number of participants is encouraging but Member States should do more –

The organizers of the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) are “encouraged by the number of visits to the platform and approvals,” a spokesperson for the conference told EURACTIV. This follows concerns from some attendees that the event was not getting enough attention.

The source referred to the multilingual CoFoE platform, the online tool where European institutions invite citizens from 27 member states to discuss, suggest ideas and organize local events.

“The purpose of the multilingual digital platform is to promote exchange between citizens and to ensure the accessibility and transparency of the Conference. The platform is open to all EU citizens, and of course we would like as many of them as possible to contribute with their ideas, ”added the spokesperson.

To date, 179,513 people have created 10,001 ideas, 16,828 comments and organized 3,899 events.

This platform is only part of the Conference process: in parallel, 800 citizens, chosen at random, participate in four panels, developing recommendations to be presented to MEPs between December 2021 and January 2022.

The number of participants in the platform can be considered important in a political landscape where the national media and politicians currently do not pay much attention.

EU allays fears over lack of media interest in CoFoE

Although participants fear that the Conference on the Future of Europe will not make the headlines and therefore not have the expected impact, the Commission reassured them that the media are listening and that their voices will be heard.

Participants in the process also provided feedback. While most of them are happy with the event as a whole, they feel the media is somewhat neglecting it. This, they fear, could lead. that their proposals are not taken seriously by MEPs.

For example, in a survey by organizers at the Second Democracy Panel online meeting last week, only 1/3 said they had heard of the conference in the media.

In addition, a participant asked the moderators how to increase the visibility of CoFoE to make it more popular across the EU.

They said they didn’t have an answer to that question, but suggested sharing the live stream of events on social media and talking to as many people as possible.

A Commission source told EURACTIV: “EU institutions have the potential to increase media coverage of the Conference”, but the source said more communication efforts should be made by “the mainstream political actors and stakeholders in all Member States ”.

Topics and Ideas

There are nine categories in total on the platform, which reflect the same issues the panels debate. These are climate change and the environment, health, a stronger economy, social justice and jobs, the EU in the world, the rule of law and security, digital transformation, European democracy and migration, education, youth and sport.

The platform is available in 24 languages, so all EU citizens can submit, participate, approve and create an event in their own language. It is the first time that the European institutions have created an online platform for the 24 languages.

At the end of the process, the panels, ideas and outcomes of the events will be collected and evaluated by the Presidents of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, of the European Council Charles Michel and of the European Parliament David Sassoli.

The spokesperson made it clear that Member States should facilitate communication as the proposals and issues raised are already being debated.

“The platform’s first interim reports have already fed into the deliberations of European citizens’ panels, which are now fully underway, and were widely debated during the Conference plenary in October,” the spokesperson concluded. .

[Edited by Alice Taylor]

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