The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament have adopted a strategy for the Conference on the Future of Europe. The aim is to start as soon as possible with civic engagement and influence the process so that it is as open and participative as possible.
S&D president Iratxe García said:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has made it obvious that we need more common EU action, and citizens expect more from us, so we must seize the momentum.
“We want citizens to tell us what their concerns are, and where the EU can improve their lives. As a political group, we have some clear areas in which we need improvement: big transnational challenges, such as inequalities, health and pandemics, climate change, migration, digitalisation, fair taxation.
“This process must be inclusive, and for us it is crucial to involve those are usually excluded from the EU discussions, among them the young, women and minority groups.”
Marek Belka, S&D vice-president responsible for the engagement with citizens and institutions, said:
“It is unfortunate that a clash over the personality to lead the process has delayed the starting of the Conference. I hope it will start as soon as possible, and we will propose that the conference is extended until 2023, so that a proper consultation with citizens is possible.
“We want to influence the process so that all citizens are involved, with the goal of promoting active engagement in democracy no matter where, from the most local levels to the European one. In particular, our Group will push so that those that are more excluded from the usual communication campaigns are also part of this consultation.
“This exercise of engagement is here to stay, and we should establish innovative methods of communication and participation so that the civic engagement continues once the conference is over.”
Regarding the functioning of the EU, the Socialists and Democrats would want to take a step forward to make it more flexible and faster to react. This is why the strategy for the Conference includes extending qualified majority voting and activating passerelle clauses; supporting the community method; reforming the macro-economic governance and definitely the Stability and Growth Pact beyond the current suspension period; introducing the right of initiative for the Parliament including the Social Progress Protocol and the European Pillar of Social Rights in the Treaties.