Thursday, May 26

Macron resurrects conference on the future of Europe

Correspondent in Brussels



In a headquarters of European Parliament in strasbourg strangely empty to be the Europe dayAs the building has not been used since February 2020 due to the pandemic, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, gave this Sunday the signal to exit the Conference on the Future of Europe that is going to take place from now on with an extensive citizen consultation to end in the first half of next year, when precisely it will be France the country that will hold the rotating presidency of the EU. Macron called for a more agile EU, one that has the ability to decide “faster and with more force.”

“Faced with authoritarianism, the only valid answer is the authority of democracy” which “can only be won efficiently and quickly,” explained the French president from the hemicycle transformed for the occasion into a kind of television set. “Our European democracy is one of compromise, of balance, which is a virtue that we must protect, but it is also a weakness when it drowns in its own procedures.” Macron tried to launch a similar process regarding the French Constitution, but abandoned the idea. He had previously held a ‘Citizens’ Convention’ with people chosen at random to define French environmental policy, but he also did not accept all the ideas that emerged.

In this case it is a mixed procedure between institutional and open to citizens. Although it was planned to have started a year and a half ago, the pandemic has delayed everything and the details have been decided at the last minute, amid rumors that the project could be suspended. The plenary session of the conference will be composed of 433 members. Of these, 54 will be representatives of the States, 108 MEPs, 3 members of the Commission, 18 elected members of the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions and 108 national parliamentarians, who will be joined by 116 representatives of civil society. There will also be “citizen panels” chosen by lottery, but how many or how they will be articulated has yet to be defined. Above all, there will be an internet platform where all citizens who wish to can contribute in their own language.

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The discussion between national governments that wanted to award the presidency to a “relevant personality” and Parliament, which wanted to attribute it to the former Belgian prime minister and liberal spokesman, Guy Verhofstadt, has been resolved with a co-presidency of three people: the representative of Parliament who will be Verhofstadt himself, a member of the Government who currently holds the presidency, Portugal, and another from the Commission, a role for which the Croatian commissioner has been appointed Dubravka Suica, whose unknown portfolio is dedicated precisely to reflecting on the future of Europe.

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