showCASE No. 122: The Conference on the Future of Europe: a Long-awaited Democratic Experiment or a Political Spin?

October 25, 2021

Some analysts argue that the COVID-19 crisis might have helped the EC in emerging even more powerful, especially when compared to elected in general elections Members of the European Parliament (EP), reinforcing the above-mentioned alleged deficit. Regardless of the opinion on this delicate matter, the EU bodies finally considered public requests and the time for an attempt to reconnect with its citizens and supercharge open debate about reforming the European project after the Brexit and pandemic crises has arrived – the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) has kicked off on 9 May, 2021 after a year-long delay owing not only to changed priorities and practical inability to organise the processes on a mass scale resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, but also to prolonged inter-institutional wrangling[1].

Although the CoFoE is a joint project of the EP, the Council and the Commission, the proposal to organise the event was put forward in 2019 by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron and then formally presented by Ursula von der Leyen in the political guidelines for her mandate as President of the EC. Finally, on 10 March 2021, the Joint Declaration on the CoFoE was signed by the EP President David Sassoli, Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, on behalf of the Presidency of the EU Council, and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, paving the way for this unprecedented, open and inclusive pan-European democratic exercise which puts ordinary citizens at its very heart given the Conference’s structure.