Conference on the Future of Europe: What is it and how does it work?

The Conference on the Future of Europe is a chance for Europeans to influence where the EU is heading. Find out more, EU affairs.

Conference on the Future of Europe: how it works  

In a world fighting a pandemic and looking for solutions to long-term challenges such as climate change, the EU is committed to an open, democratic debate with people about what it should focus on.

Inclusive, democratic process

A recent Eurobarometer survey showed that 92% of Europeans want people’s voices “taken more into account in decisions relating to the future of Europe”. The Conference aims to make this happen.

The European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission invite all Europeans to share their ideas about how Europe should evolve, what the priorities should be and how to prepare for a post-Covid world. The EU institutions want to consult as many people as possible, with a special focus on young people.

The Conference is more than a listening exercise. The contributions that people make on the online platform feed into debates with MEPs, members of the national parliaments, government and EU representatives, as well as other stakeholders. These debates will become the foundation for policy proposals that will be turned into concrete EU action. Parliament, the Council and the Commission have pledged to listen to people’s proposals and follow up on the Conference’s outcome.

All Europeans are welcome to take part in this process, regardless of their age, gender, education or professional background. Parliament wants to especially ensure the active participation of young people and used its European Youth Event (EYE) in October 2021 to gather their visions on Europe’s future.

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How does it work?

The digital platform of the Conference was launched on 19 April. It allows people to share and discuss ideas online as well as prepare events across the EU, where and when the health conditions allow. These events serve as another source of ideas for change. The member states are also organising citizen-driven events.

European citizens’ panels are bringing together people from different walks of life. The panels, which started their work after the summer, are looking at the ideas put forward on the platform and holding discussions on what needs to change in the EU. There are four citizens’ panels of 200 members each working on different themes:

  • Stronger economy, social justice, jobs, education, youth, culture, sport and digital
  • European democracy, values, rights, rule of law, security
  • Climate change, environment and health
  • The EU in the world and migration

Each of the panels will meet at least three times and is free to define its priorities. Their recommendations will be presented to the Conference Plenary.

The Conference Plenary has a central role in the Conference as representatives of the EU institutions, the governments and national parliaments meet there with citizens to discuss and develop proposals for change. The European Parliament pushed for a politically strong Plenary with many elected representatives as well as an important role for citizens.

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Conference on the Future of Europe infographic.
The Conference Plenary: who is taking part?  

The inaugural plenary session took place on 19 June in Strasbourg with remote and physical participation. The second session is scheduled for 22-23 October and more sessions will follow to discuss the recommendations coming from the citizens’ panels. Find out the timeline of the entire Conference.

Find out who the European Parliament’s representatives are in the Conference Plenary.

The executive board is responsible for the functioning of the Conference. It consists of representatives of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, as well as observers.

What will come out of the Conference?

The outcome will depend on the recommendations that people make and the subsequent debates.

The final report, expected in the spring of 2022, will be drawn up by the executive board based on proposals approved by the Conference Plenary. The report will be prepared in full collaboration with the Plenary and will have to receive its approval. It will then be submitted for follow-up to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission.

Parliament has underlined that the Conference should have a real impact on how the EU is set up and what it does to ensure people’s voices and concerns are at the centre of the EU’s policies and decisions.

Conference on the Future of Europe 

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