Civil Society Europe requests participation in the Agenda setting of the Conference on the Future of Europe

7th of April 2021 | via Civil Society Europe |  Civil Society Europe (CSE) demands the participation of the Civil Society Convention in the Executive Committee of the Conference on the Future of Europe. In doing so, CSE welcomes that business associations and trade unions have been given observer status in the Executive Committee, but criticizes just as clearly that organized civil society is not also involved.

We call on the co-chairs of the EU institutions to include the Civil Society Convention in the composition of the Board of the Conference on the Future of Europe by the next meeting of the Executive Board on 7 April 

The Executive Board of the Conference on the Future of Europe in charge of steering the process met for the first time on 24 March to discuss the organisation and functioning of the Conference as well as a timetable of main activities.
We welcome the inclusion of social partners – Business Europe and the European Trade Union Confederation – as observers in the Executive Board. The EU treaties (Art. 10 and 11 TEU) provide for open, regular and transparent dialogue with representative associations and civil society. We therefore demand that European civil society organisations are given equal treatment.

As intermediaries between individuals and public institutions, we bring citizens together in a common cause, set collective goals for the common good and ensure participation and empowerment of everyone, including the most vulnerable because of their status or condition. The pandemic has added visibility and understanding of the immense value of solidarity and common good, that have been at the centre of our activities for years. Our transnational mobilisation will bring an added value reinforcing and complementing the citizens’ debates that will be organised across European countries. We want to make sure these values and the policies needed to give them substance in the people’s daily life are at the core of the political debate during the Conference on the Future of Europe. For this reason the Civil Society Convention on the future of Europe should be included as an observer in the Executive Board of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

“We are in a deep moment of crisis, but our organisations stepped up to be close to our communities and to those who suffer the most. Our knowledge of realities on the ground and our practices are needed to make Europe resilient and ready to face the future, so we must be part of its reconstruction!” said Alexandrina Najmowicz, co-Chair of the Civil Society Convention on the Future of Europe.
“If the EU institutions are serious about putting citizens at the centre of the European process they have to start with involving their representative associations in all steps of the governance of the Convention. The Inclusiveness and transparency of the process is at stake” said Milosh Ristovski, co-chair of the Civil Society Convention on the Future of Europe.

We are at a critical juncture in Europe, facing an important economic, social and human crisis as a consequence of the pandemic, interlinked with existential environmental, climate and sustainability challenges. Citizens, collectively organised and engaged in associations, must be closely involved in setting priorities for our common future. The Conference on the Future of Europe must ensure an inclusive participatory process and follow-up mechanism so as to trigger high participation and build confidence in the capacity of our democracy to deliver on people’s  needs and expectations.

About the Civil Society Convention on the Future of Europe

Civil Society Europe initiated and coordinates the Civil Society Convention on the Future of Europe that gathers over 75 European networks and platforms with constituencies all across Europe,  uniting millions of citizens active in all areas of life: from education to culture, social inclusive, environment, governance and transparency. The Convention was established in February and is actively engaged to scrutinise the democratic functioning of the conference and ensure a real involvement of citizens and their representative associations in this process.
In our daily work, we are committed to ensure appropriate links between what is discussed and decided inside the institutional frameworks and people with their individual and collective expectations.

Within its pan-European, wide geographic scope, the Civil Society Convention represents a great diversity of thematic areas of work and engagement in line with the rights and values enshrined in the European treaties. We express strong and legitimate expectations towards the institutions. We will work towards a critical analysis of the shortcomings of current policies and build collective and constructive proposals for a better future in common. We come together in the belief that our commitment to the Conference on the Future of Europe will be useful and recognised.

Organised in thematic clusters representatives of the convention will be discussing with their constituencies in which direction Europe should evolve in the future but also bring expertise on how the change should be organised. The thematic clusters are the following: 1) The fight against climate change and environmental challenges, 2) An economy that works for people, social fairness, equality and intergenerational solidarity (including health union, 3) Europe’s digital transformation, 4) European Rights and Values, Migration, security, the EU’s role in the world, 5) The Union’s democratic foundations, and how to strengthen democratic processes governing the European Union (including the Rule of law).

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