The needs of citizens should be at the forefront of the Conference on the Future of Europe  

    I voted  in  favour  of a resolution on the Conference on the  Future  of  Europe  and appealed for the European Parliament to put the actual needs  of  citizens at the forefront  of  the conference.

    The Conference on the Future of Europe is set to be organised by the European Parliament, Council and the European Commission and was expected to start in May 2020 and run for two years.  Acknowledging that the Conference has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MEPs called on the other two EU institutions to engage in negotiations to find common agreement on the Conference.

    While welcoming the Commission’s readiness to go forward in a speedy fashion, the Parliament also expressed concern about the fact that the Council has not yet adopted a position. 

    I told the plenary of the European Parliament that, although a debate on where Europe is heading could be useful, I have serious doubts on the approach adopted by some Brussels based entities.

    Rather than listening to what European citizens from the different parts of the continent would wish for their future, some political actors seem to wish to impose their agendas on this conference. Yet, if Europe wants to succeed, it is essential that a bottom-up approach for this debate is adopted.

    The debate should focus on realistic and doable achievements rather than on endless discussions that lead to no conclusion. Many should come to a realisation that despite the increasing power  of  the Union, citizens continue to feel closer to their national governments and parliaments. It is therefore essential that national representatives be given a leading role in this debate for the rest of us to listen and understand what is needed  for  a better  future.

    The resolution, adopted with 528 votes for, 124 against and 45 abstentions, declared that ten years after the Lisbon Treaty, seventy years after the Schuman Declaration and in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the time is ripe for a reappraisal of the European Union.