Have you heard about the Conference on the Future of Europe? A hint: it is not a Conference. If you are curious about where it comes from and how it works, you can read our article here. But the real question is: why should you care about it?
Because Europe is what you make out of it
Differently from a nation state, the European Union did not (yet) reach a definitive structure and form. It is a form of political organisation which is still evolving and changing. Since its foundation as the European Coal and Steel Community, the EU became much bigger and more powerful, bringing to its club new Member States and increasing its competences in new fields of policy and politics. This also means that in the future the EU could become many different things, serve many different purposes, legislate and regulate many different areas of life. And you have the chance to decide this!
Because decisions made in Brussels matter for all.
At its origins, the European Communities dealt mainly with issues related to the single market, regulating trade and product standards. It may have made sense to delegate to experts decisions in these areas, but in recent years the EU acquired powers in areas which are much more relevant for citizens, such as justice and home affairs (border controls, immigration, anti-terrorism and judicial cooperation), and social policy (through the European Pillar of Social Righs). So, decisions made in Brussels really matter to all of us. But the Eu still does not have a government that you can vote in or out of office: this is one more reason to share our opinions through other systems of participatory democracy, such as the Conference on the Future of Europe.
Because today’s challenges go beyond the national borders.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also seen how EU action (or the lack thereof) can make a difference. Viruses do not stop at national borders, and therefore coordination among different countries is crucial. The same is true for a challenge such as the climate emergency: only coordinated action at the global and regional scale can make a difference, and the EU should take the lead in guiding Member States on how to achieve the climate targets. The challenges, opportunities and threats of today can hardly be solved by nation states alone. Does this mean that the EU should acquire more powers? Or do you see this differently? This is one of the issues that the Conference on the Future of Europe will debate on.
Because we need to make our voices count.
It doesn’t happen everyday that politicians decide to sit down and listen to citizens. When it happens, it is an opportunity not to be missed. Most importantly, if politicians decide not to listen to us, it will look pretty bad on them. Imagine that a friend asks for your advice and they decide to do exactly the opposite. That would not reflect well on them, right? Even more so in the case of politicians who should represent our interests. If we make clear what we want, decision makers cannot ignore it. But for that, we need to speak our mind. Do so using our ideas collection tool!