The Conference on the Future of Europe


The June European Council was cold water as it failed to consider or adopt the European Parliament’s proposal to convene the European Convention

The new political cycle of the European Union started after the European Parliament elections in May 2019 and was consolidated three years ago with the inauguration of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. During this investiture session, the President promised to convene the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE), where “it would bring together citizens (with a strong presence of young people and civil society) and the European institutions as permanent partners of equality […] I am also open to changes to the Treaties.’

Since 2019, the institutions have been launched in the configuration of the Conference on the Future of Europe, which took place between 9 May 2021 and the same date in 2022, with seven plenary sessions and several working group sessions. In these seven sessions I had the opportunity to participate as a representative of national events and Spanish civil society. The Conference on the Future of Europe is a good initiative, but it has had an inadequate working method, which has made it impossible to understand and debate on an equal footing between citizens, civil society and national and European institutions, such as the President three years ago, as we have just noted.

This is due to the overweight and the main role of randomly chosen citizen representatives and the under-representation of organized civil society. In addition to the fact that during the operation of the CoFoE, the other six sectors participating in this exercise, such as National Institutions (National Parliaments), European Institutions (European Parliament, European Commission, Governments, Committee of the Regions, Economic Committee and Social) and the social partners, had much less weight than should be. Which in my opinion has led to a lack of resonance in European and Spanish public opinion, where this relevant exercise has been irrelevant.

The European Parliament resolution on 4 May, five days before the CoFoE conclusions are presented to the representatives of the institutions (Roberta Metsola, President of the EP; Ursula von der Leyen, President of the EC, and Emmanuel Macron, rotation of President of the Council of the EU), somehow revalued the CoFoE, as it pointed out that it is essential for the implementation of its conclusions to convene a European Convention reforming the Treaties on a number of substantive aspects, such as overcoming unanimity in decision-making in foreign policy, tax policy; expand skills in some areas, such as health, or aspects of key institutional reforms.

However, the European Council of 23 and 24 June gave us a bucket of cold water. Since it has not considered or adopted the European Parliament’s proposal to convene the European Convention; instead, he gave ‘the silence for a response’, although he touched on other issues of importance, such as granting candidate country status to Ukraine and Moldova, and the consideration of Georgia. At the same time, it is committed to accelerating the enlargement process in the Balkans. This makes the reform of the treaties even more necessary.

In the annual State of the European Union Address of 14 September 2022, the need for the European Convention as proposed by the European Parliament in its resolutions of 4 May and 6 June has been picked up again. In this sense, the words of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, stand out at the end, where she stated: “I think the time has come to enshrine solidarity between generations in our Treaties […] as this Parliament has advocated. I think the time has come to hold a European Convention.” In any case, we believe that the celebration of the European Convention, with the exception of some simplified Treaty reform measures, will be postponed until the Spanish Presidency in the second half of 2023.

In this sense, the Spanish Presidency is becoming increasingly relevant, as it goes without saying that during the Czech Presidency only the acceleration of the negotiations on enlargement to the Balkans will be discussed. In this sense, a Summit was convened in Prague on 6 October to discuss the possible birth of the European Political Community. Nor does the Swedish Presidency seem interested in convening the Convention.

The war of aggression against Ukraine has been turned around, where a significant Russian setback has been met thanks to EU support. And the president declared: “I stand here today with the conviction that, thanks to our courage and our solidarity, Putin will fail and Europe will win.” […] I want to make it very clear: we are not going to lift the sanctions. It’s time to stand firm and not have an appeasement policy.

Source: La Verdad

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