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Press release

Portuguese Presidency hosted first European Citizens’ Event in Portugal

Conference on the Future of Europe

18 Jun · 10h30

© Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021 / Pedro Sá da Bandeira

Press release

The Portuguese presidency of the Council on 17 June hosted a European Citizens’ Event of the Conference on the Future of Europe in Lisbon. As the first EU level Conference event, it put the focus on citizens’ central role in the Conference ahead of the inaugural Plenary session, which will be held on 19 June in Strasbourg.


The event took place at Centro Cultural de Belém, in a hybrid format and gathered the 27 representatives of national citizens’ panels or events in each EU Member State, the President of the European Youth Forum and a number citizens selected to participate in the Conference's European Citizens’ Panels.


It gave the participants an opportunity to discuss their expectations for the Conference with the three Co-Chairs of the Executive Board of the Conference: the Portuguese Secretary of State for EU Affairs, Ana Paula Zacarias, MEP Guy Verhofstadt and Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica. Other representatives and observers in the Executive Board, the body responsible for taking the
decisions on the work of the Conference, also took part in the event.


The discussions focused on the role of the different structures of the Conference of the Future of Europe, such as the digital platform, the European and national citizens’ panels and events, and the Conference plenary. The programme also included a Q&A session.


Input from this citizens’ event will feed into the debate at the inaugural Conference plenary session on 19 June, which the representatives of national citizens’ panels or events in each EU Member State will also attend.


You can watch the entire session here.

Background

The Conference on the Future of Europe is a joint undertaking by the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission, acting as equal partners together with the Member States. It is aimed at giving citizens an active voice on issues that they believe to be the most relevant to the future of the European Union.All European citizens, European, national, regional and local authorities, as well as civil society and other organisations interested in organising events and contributing with ideas are free/encouraged to take part in the Conference.


Citizens across Europe can already share their ideas on the Multilingual Digital Platform of the Conference, which is available in all 24 official EU languages (https://futureu.europa.eu), participate in events related to the Conference and organise events themselves, uploading event reports on the platform.


The random selection process of citizens who will compose European Citizens’ Panels will be completed in the near future. The panels will meet from September 2021 to January 2022 to prepare their input to future Plenary debates, including a set of recommendations for the Union to follow-up on, based on citizens’ contributions collected via the Platform.


The Conference plenary also includes a strong citizens’ component. 108 Europeans will participate in plenary discussions on ideas stemming from the European Citizens' Panels and the Multilingual Digital Platform. This includes 80 representatives from the European Citizens’ Panels, of which at least one third will be younger than 25, 27 representatives of national citizens’ panels or Conference events (one per Member State), as well as the President of the European Youth Forum.