Citizens from across Europe will have their say on Europe’s future on Saturday as the first plenary session in the European Union’s Conference on the Future of Europe begins.

The plenary session will bring together citizens from across member states, politicians, civil society representatives and social partners, in a 459-person gathering that will be the first of at least six sessions scheduled to take place during the conference.

Participants will set the purpose and expectations for the rest of the conference, which will take place over subsequent months.

Maltese MEPs Josianne Cutajar and Roberta Metsola as well as MPs Claudette Buttigieg, Rosianne Cutajar, Joseph Ellis and Jean Claude Micallef will all be in attendance.

Proceedings will begin at 9am. Watch them live in the video below.

First announced in 2019 and officially launched in May, the Conference on the Future of Europe is a European Commission initiative to establish what the EU’s medium and longer-term goals are, what policy reforms should be undertaken and how its institutions should evolve.

Citizens from across member states can contribute their ideas using a digital platform launched by the conference last April.  Ideas proposed by citizens through the platform as well as during citizen-led panels will feed into parliamentary debates that will then be turned into policy proposals.

There will be four citizens’ panels of 200 members each working on different themes:

  • European democracy and values, rights, rule of law, security
  • Climate change, environment and health
  • Stronger economy, social justice, jobs, education, youth, culture, sport and digital transformation
  • The EU in the world and migration

“The first question we have to answer on this conference is: What is the vision we have on the future of Europe? What are the reforms that need to be fit for that future?” said MEP and conference co-president Guy Verhofstadt.

“The second question is: Can you do that inside the current framework of treaties? Can you do that with the procedures as we have now inside the EU? For me it starts with what type of Europe we want and then how to realise that.”

MEP Josianne Cutajar said that Europe should be there for all workers, vulnerable citizens and those on the European periphery.

“Europe must above all be there for those who are being discriminated against, as was the case in Hungary this week, with a discriminatory law targeting the LGBTIQ community” the Labour MEP stressed.

The conference is being jointly organised by the European Parliament, EU Council and European Commission.

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