Strasbourg – Conference on the Future of Europe

Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) – Citizens’ panel.- Plenary session – De Conferentie over de toekomst van Europa is een reeks door burgers geleide debatten en discussies die mensen uit heel Europa de kans geven hun ideeën te delen en onze gemeenschappelijke Europese toekomst mee vorm te geven. De Europese burgerpanels zijn een integrerend onderdeel van de CoFoE.

The EU brought people from different walks of life together on behalf of the EU institutions, using methodologies that ensure that they are representative of the EU’s diversity in terms of geographic origin, gender, age, socioeconomic background and level of education.

In her inaugural address Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the Conference on the Future of Europe’s aim is to debate how the EU should develop in the future and to give European citizens a voice in the process.

Young people between 16 and 25 make up one-third of each panel. At least one third of the participants in each panel was younger than 25. These citizens come up with ideas and recommendations that will feed into the overall Conference deliberations, in particular into the Conference Plenaries, and ultimately into the report on its final outcome.

Questions posed how citizens living in the different countries of Europe would like to see Europe grow on all levels and would like to see global engagement to result in something positive for all citizens of the Union.
The panel had to face questions as:

What role should the EU play in the world?
How can we ensure security?
With which partners, and in which forms, do we want to trade?
Who are our neighbours and how should we interact with them?
Who do we want to include in the European Union?
What should development cooperation look like and which humanitarian aid and civil protection actions should we take?

The Conference on the Future of Europe’ giving an opportunity to youngsters to have their say in the debate how the EU should develop in the future.

The European Citizens’ Panels kicked off with the first 200-citizen meeting 17-19 of September in Strasbourg. The first sessions of all four Panels took place on Parliament’s premises in Strasbourg and began working on draft recommendations within each Panel’s remit. This first European Citizens’ Panel focused on a stronger economy, social justice, jobs/education, youth, culture, and sport/digital transformation, based on citizens’ contributions collected from across Europe on a Multilingual Digital Platform, as well as support and presentations from prominent academics.

The second European Citizens’ Panel during the weekend of 24-26 September focused on European democracy/values, rights, the rule of law, and security. The third panel´s agenda (1-3 October) was climate change, environment and health. The fourth (15-17 October), focused on the EU in the world/migration.

The Conference and the European Citizens’ Panels, in particular, are an unprecedented transnational and multilingual exercise in deliberative democracy, an exercise that offers European citizens a central role in shaping the future of the EU. As part of the Conference, citizens can also put forward their ideas on a multilingual digital platform and in numerous events organised at national and European levels.

The three institutions – the European Parliament, the Council of the EU, and the European Commission – have undertaken to examine swiftly how to follow up effectively on a report made on a consensual basis putting forward proposals to the Executive Board, who drew up the report in full collaboration and full transparency with the Plenary, each within their own sphere of competences and in accordance with the EU Treaties.

It was not a bad idea to have a debate or Conference on the Future of Europe. The Plenary of the Conference on the Future of Europe took place in its full composition in Strasbourg on Saturday 23 October 2021.

Guy Verhofstadt (Renew, BE), Co-Chair of the executive board of the CoFoE, opened the meeting of the plenary of the Conference on the Future of Europe and wanted

to say welcome to the citizens that are representing the citizens panels in this plenary. It’s the first time that they are here and that makes that the plenary of the Conference on the Future of Europe is now completed. .

Dubravka Šuica, Co-Chair of the executive board of the CoFoE, was pleased so many people present and said

I have been in this chamber so many times, but I have never seen such an amazing, diverse plenary for the first time that its citizens are here in the hemicycle willing to contribute to the future of the European Union, which they want to live in and work.

Conference on the Future of Europe – Plenary session 2021 October 23

The multilingual digital platform, with four citizens panels, with 800 citizens from all over Europe participating in these panels, collected more than 1,000 ideas and more than 1,000 comments.

Discussions revolved around the first impressions of the panellists, as well as the ideas submitted so far to the Multilingual Digital Platform.

Valentina Balzani from the European Citizens’ Panel 2 said

Europe can be seen as a garden that needs to be taken care of. To develop and foster the different forms of life living there, the way in which democracy works is the fertilizer for that garden. We had passionate but respectful debates and panel to feels that we need to ensure that for the Union of the future, the right to be not discriminated against, the right for the environment, the climate, for children, for animals to all be protected.

Work has to be made, to strengthen the European Union as a global power on topics such as labour market and human rights, and also avoiding dependence to other great powers.

Elyes Ouerghi, CFE European Citizens’ Panel 1 mentioned that they discussed labour in Europe

and we decided to look at how to promote work and access to work for young people, particularly to reduce unemployment after the end of the pandemic.

Probably it can be said for all  that we all want together more sustainability and more environmental protection, and more renewable energies.

Some might think it shall not be possible to becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050, but that is the objective behind the European Green Deal (COM(2019) 640 final). When looking at the youngsters, there is a real incentive by them to press their governments for making work of it. Many look forward to the very ambitious package of measures that should enable European citizens and businesses to benefit from sustainable green transition.

The battle against climate change and environmental damage is an urgent issue for the European Union and across the globe. To achieve a better world for us all, we need a strategy where Europe can continue leading the world on a path to sustainability and climate neutrality.

The use of renewable energy has many potential benefits, including a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the diversification of energy supplies and a reduced dependency on fossil fuel markets (in particular, oil and gas). The growth of renewable energy sources may also stimulate employment in the EU, through the creation of jobs in new ‘green’ technologies.

Not only in Belgium, last Friday’s truancy action and demonstration for climate change showed that many young people really care and want to raise their voices in the hope that politicians will finally wake up and take action.
All over the world, young people were again demonstrating for the climate last Friday under the banner “Global Climate Strike”. In Ghent, according to the police, about 1,400 young people gathered to demonstrate against the current climate policy.

“Time is running out and we will not stand by and watch our future being taken away from us by the lack of ambition of our politicians”

sounded it militant. Climate marches were also taking place that day in Mons, Brussels, Antwerp and Louvain-La-Neuve.

Klimaatbetoging georganiseerd door Youth for Climate in Gent 2021 Oct 21

Renewable energy plays an important and growing role in the energy system of the European Union. The share of energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy was 18% in 2018. This is double the share in 2004 with 8.5%.

The European Green Deal wants to make the European Union’s economy sustainable turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities, and making the transition fair and inclusive for all.

The Green Deal is the new growth strategy that aims to transform the European Union into a modern, climate neutral, resource-efficient and competitive economy. This future would include:

  • no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050
  • economic growth uncoupled from resource use
  • no person or place is left behind in the transition to a climate-neutral and resilient society

EU missions are a major contribution to the goals of the European Green Deal. Each mission will operate as a portfolio of actions – such as research projects, policy measures or even legislative initiatives – to achieve a measurable goal that could not be achieved through individual actions. They are an integral part of the Horizon Europe framework programme.



EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen defending the freedom rights of all European citizens


Additional reading



  1. State of the Union: The Static State of “Wishful Thinking”
  2. ‘Utopian fantasy’: Hungary’s Orban dismisses EU climate policy plans
  3. 23.10.2021 – conflict with EU, push-back legalization and climate change isn’t real (according to Kaczyński)
  4. Draghi to the EU Council in Brussels: “Immediate action is planned on energy. Strategic storage is needed”
  5. Publication of the IMAJINE Scenarios for the Future of European Regional Inequality
  6. UN: Net Zero Pledges on Climate Give Hope, but Still Vague
  7. Foresight in the EU: are we building citizen trust?
  8. Conference on the Future of Europe: Climate Change and the Environment
  9. Conference on the Future of Europe: EU in the World
  10. Conference on the Future of Europe: Migration
  11. Conference on the Future of Europe: European Democracy
  12. Conference on the Future of Europe: Health
  13. Conference on the Future of Europe: Values and rights, rule of law, security
  14. Conference on the Future of Europe – First interim report
  15. Conference on the Future of Europe: Digital Transformation
  16. Conference on the Future of Europe: A stronger economy, social justice and jobs
  17. Conference on the Future of Europe: Education, Culture, Youth and Sport
  18. Commission signals that gene edited crops may soon be permitted in the EU, as it calls existing GMO rules ‘unfit for purpose’
  19. Stop Spreading Chemophobia and Scientific Illiteracy: My contribution to the European Commission’s Consultation on the Revision of the REACH Regulation
  20. Mind the CAP: ‘Pushback’ threatens 25%-organic-by-2030 target, Congress warned
  21. New STOA study ‘Carbon-free steel: Cost reduction options and usage of existing gas infrastructure’
  22. What Climate Neutrality Expects by 2050 in the EU
  23. Organic farming delivers powerful biodiversity boost, report shows
  24. “Why the European Green Deal Needs Ecofeminism”: New Report with WIDE+ Contribution
  25. Offshore Wind Development in Europe: ENTSO-E’s position paper highlights key recommendations

About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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