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Wednesday, 15 January 2020 - Strasbourg Revised edition

European Parliament's position on the Conference on the Future of Europe (debate)

  Dubravka Šuica, Vice-President of the Commission. – Madam President, honourable Members, first of all, let me thank you for this very vivid and fruitful debate. I have listened carefully to today’s points and taken note of your views. It is my role to listen to you.

The start date of the Conference is yet to be confirmed, but the listening process itself has already started. We are already reflecting and engaging with as many actors as possible. We will need the cooperation of the Commission representation offices and the European Parliament liaison offices in the Member States, who already do tremendous work to bring the European Union closer to its citizens.

We need them, now more than ever, to lead our efforts. Let us remember how this feeds into other areas of my work as Vice-President for Democracy and Demography. We want to hear from all people of all ages and, of course, from the young. I thank the younger Members of Parliament for today’s debate.

I also have to thank Pascal Durand, Daniel Freund and Ruiz Devesa Domènec for mentioning NGOs. Of course, we haven’t forgotten NGOs. They will be included, and that was our idea from the beginning. We also have to take care of the older generation, whom we wish to encourage in their active contribution to our society and economy.

Of course, this concerns not only NGOs or older people, but also minorities, entrepreneurs, students, regional and local authorities, mayors and everyone who can say something on the structure, scope and the content of the Conference.

These views will feed into my work on demography. We want to provide real and workable solutions for our citizens. Our democracy is in need of creative and innovative solutions. The results of this process – whatever they are – must be tangible, must be implemented and must be based on the feedback we receive from our citizens.

As I already said, this is no longer business as usual. We must be brave and embrace the innovative nature of this process. Not everything needs to be known in advance, but we are providing the solid structure necessary for full citizen participation, both online and in person. I want to ensure that every voice is heard and listened to, and that we follow up on it accordingly. It is vital that this process remains open and transparent. I do not want to pre—empt what the citizens have to say, on the contrary, I want to be surprised by them.

I’m sure that, together, we can also surprise the citizens. But we, the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council, we can do this only by working closely together as real partners. I want to thank you once again for this fruitful debate.

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