Hope and Commitment to Empower European Citizens: the first session of the Plenary of the Conference on the Future of Europe

On Saturday 19 June, SOLIDAR participated in the long-awaited first session of the Plenary of the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFE) together with 4 fellow delegates from the Civil Society Convention on the Future of Europe.  

The interventions during the Plenary were marked by a hopeful spirit and many were the constructive but critical remarks made by the speakers: from the need to make the CoFE an exercise for empowering the many in the EU decision-making process, to the scope of the recommendations that the Conference should come up with.  

Following the intense and constructive mobilisation of 80 European networks and platforms that co-signed the Joint Declaration, and building upon the first round of meetings of its thematic clusters and of the plenary, the Civil Society Convention on the Future of Europe has voiced its members’ asks, hopes and concerns with regards to the process.  

Our intervention focused on the need for the Conference to “bring real change and concrete outcomes in order to help rebuild trust in people's power to have a say individually and collectively on the political choices and the policies that affect our lives.”. Delegates of the Convention, however, stressed that a major risk in this exercise lie in the fact that “those who struggle to access their rights, or who’s rights are denied, are most often at the periphery of such processes, left behind, silent, invisible and disillusioned with a society of unequal relationships and competition between people”. The representatives of the CSOs Convention are already doing their best to help aggregate and empower those voices to make them heard in the democratic and political arenas, with the limited space given to CSOs in the process.  

Delegates also voiced that the future we wish for our Union is one with no discriminations, one that embraces diversity and ensures inclusion, and that the CoFE should reflect this vision. The CoFE needs to be a platform for those voices whom we hardly hear in the Brussels’ corridors: our neighbours, colleagues, spouses who do not hold an EU passport but make important contributions, the millions of Europeans belonging to racialised communities should have the opportunity to be visible and to be heard. 

The Civil Society Convention on the Future of Europe expressed their willingness to make this “the EU’s opportunity to act upon what the people of Europe demand for the truly Just Transition, to tackle the persisting inequalities and to address the intersection of discriminations that prevent too many from enjoying all rights and possibilities”. 

SOLIDAR will continue engaging its membership and ensure a fight for making sure that the process is widely participated, the diversity composing our societies gets heard and that the demand for systemic change not only can be discussed but also acted upon 

The delegation of the Civil Society Convention on the Future of Europe is composed of Elisa Gambardella (SOLIDAR), Alexandrina Najmowicz (European Civic Forum) and Milosh Ristovski (Young European Federalists), Patrizia Heidegger (European Environmental Bureau - Green 10), and Ioannis Vardakastanis (European Disability Forum). For more information on the Civil Society Convention on the Future of Europe please visit this website