The Conference on the Future of Europe has been a huge opportunity for European citizens to debate on Europe’s challenges and priorities. Following the line of engaging citizens in the decision-making process, the European Parliament, the European Council, and the European Commission have committed to listen to Europeans and to follow up, within their sphere of competencies, on the recommendations made.
This initiative was strongly related to one of the principles of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), as citizen engagement is and has been a clear example of the direction that the European Community wants to take. The main goal was to involve all sorts of European citizens from all member states to have a wide enough perspective to trace the strategies for the future.
In order to do so, the Joint Presidency formed by the President of the European Parliament, the President of the Council and the President of the European Commission, created 4 main tools:
- A multilingual digital platform that allowed citizens to share their ideas online collected, analysed, monitored and published throughout the Conference
- Organizing decentralized events (in person, hybrid and online) involving national, regional and local authorities as well as general society and other organisations.
- The European Citizens’ Panels, a unique space for European society to put forward their proposals represented by different criteria (geographic, gender, age, socioeconomic background…).
- The conference plenary ensuring that the recommendations from the national and European citizens’ panels, grouped by themes, are debated without a predetermined outcome.
This huge program came to an end on May 9th,2022 with a closing event that counted the presence of the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron for the Council. One of the most important outcomes have been the 49 proposals have been shaped over the past months on the basis of citizens’ contributions. Among the most relevant topics proposed by the European society, climate change, education, digital transformation, migration and social justice have been highlighted to play a key role in the decisions and strategies in the near future of Europe.