A sense of commitment to the European project was the main theme in proposals presented at the conclusion of the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) forum on Friday (6 May), organized by Spain’s EFE news agency in collaboration with the European Parliament.
The Futuro Compartido (“Shared Future”) forum took place at Spain’s Royal Mint in Madrid, forming the stage for the conclusions of the year of debates that have commenced as part of CoFoE, the EU deliberative democracy experiment where citizens across Europe took part in EU policy-making.
In attendance was María Lledó, the Spanish foreign ministry’s secretary-general to the EU, as well as MEPs, citizen participants of the CoFoE and other young people.
European Parliament president Roberta Metsola addressed the event in a video message.
“The Conference on the Future of Europe has been the first of its kind, a major pan-European democratic exercise with citizen-led debates. It enabled people, especially young people, from all across Europe, to share their concerns, their aspirations about our common European future,” she said.
Dubravka Šuica, vice president of the European Commission and co-president of the CoFoE, also shared a video message in which she said the format had created a “space for free debate and deliberation in contrast to the brutal events in Ukraine.”
She added that the Kremlin’s aggression in Ukraine demonstrated that democracy could not “be taken for granted.”
A pledge to citizens
The forum in Madrid marked the beginning of Europe Day celebrations in Spain, an event that on May 9 will see the conclusions of the CoFoE results presented to the EU’s institutions.
Lledó said that a commitment to Europe’s citizens was one of the pillars of the bloc. Spain is due to take on the rotational presidency of the Council of the EU in 2023.
“Everyone expects a lot from us,” she said at the event on Friday, adding that Spain would “roll up its sleeves and serve the European project to its best abilities.”
The president of Spain’s EFE agency, Gabriela Cañas, highlighted the role of the media in the “transformation” of Europe, adding that the war in Ukraine had demonstrated the importance of EU cohesion.
Proposals for Europe’s youth
Four members of the public who attend the CoFoE debates, two members of Equipo Europa, a pro-EU platform in Spain, and activist Noah Higón also took to the stage to broach their ideas on how to make a better future for Europe’s next generations.
The conclusions of an EFE multimedia project that brought the CoFoE to Spain’s regions were also presented at the event.
[Edited by Nathalie Weatherald]