’This platform is the hub of the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFE). This is your opportunity to speak up, to say what kind of Europe you want to live in, to help shape our future.’
This encouraging sentence is met by a single citizen who wants to take part in an EU initiative called the Conference on the Future of Europe.
It all sounds so beautiful that it’s almost unbelievable. Let’s see what all this means in practice. The good news is that the platform itself is available in all official EU languages and opinions, suggestions can also be sent in all official EU languages.
In order to provide some structure for the process, the European Commission has identified nine areas in advance in which we look forward to hearing from you:
- Climate change and environment
- A stronger economy, social justice and jobs
- EU in the world
- Values and rights, rule of law, security
- Digital transformation
- European democracy
- Education, culture, youth and sport
And officially, Topic 10 is “Other Ideas,” so anything we feel left behind on the list.
With the help of the platform, we can express our specific opinion on a question (Share your ideas), announce if we want to hold an event (Organise your event) and, of course, choose from the announced events if we want to attend one (Attend an event near you).
And then let’s look at the numbers. At the time of writing, 13,731 people have already registered on the website, 3,507 ideas / suggestions have been submitted and 581 events have been announced.
One of the biggest criticisms about using the platform is that you can only log in, give an opinion, submit an event with EULogin, so you must register in advance. If we have successfully jumped this hurdle, then of course the question immediately arises: what will happen to the opinions and suggestions received. Who will respond to those who send enthusiastic opinions? What about my brilliant proposal?
The conference is chaired by the three main EU institutions (Council, Parliament and Commission), and the day-to-day work is coordinated by an Executive Board. They must therefore find a reassuring answer to the questions raised above.