Strasbourg is sunny, green and ready to welcome French President Emmanuel Macron to launch the long-awaited, and often criticised, Conference on the Future of Europe.
It was an idea first vocalised in 2019 by Macron, the revolutionary politician who left the French Socialist party to fight against the right-left divide in France and soon succeeded in becoming President via his own party in 2017.
Now, Macron hopes to bring a “renaissance” to the European Union ahead of France’s EU presidency next year, though many remain sceptical.
Spring 2022 is the deadline for the Conference on the Future of Europe, a deadline which was kept in place even though the initiative was already delayed by a year due to Covid.
The Conference is a fresh attempt by the EU institutions to become more citizen-focused after earlier attempts from as early as 2002 led to a common Constitution that was then vetoed by the Dutch and French referenda.
Last month, the European Parliament, European Commission and European Council launched a web platform to gather citizen ideas. The institutions hope these ideas will lead to a new plan for Europe that is more citizen-centred.
The platform, which can be found on https://futureu.europa.eu/ has so far elicited some 1,842 ideas and attracted some 8,701 participants.
The conference has been criticised as a waste of time and money and another exercise in trying to project the EU institutions as citizen-oriented institutions rather than the bureaucratic paper-pushing bodies they are often accused of being.
The launch can be followed live on this article from 2pm.
Share with someone who needs to follow this conference!