Citizens Need to Be at Centre of Discussions on Future of Europe

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, January 29, 2020 – Citizens of the European Union’s member-states must be at the centre of discussions which will be taken during the Conference on the Future of Europe, the Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Ministry’s State Secretary, Andreja Metelko Zgombić, said in Brussels on Tuesday.

This official of Croatia, which is the country-in-chair of the European Union in the first half of 2020, today chaired a meeting of the General Affairs Council that focused on exchanging the views on the proposed Conference on the Future of Europe due to start in 2020 and end in 2022.

At its meeting on 12 December 2019 the European Council asked the Croatian presidency to work towards defining a Council position on the content, scope, composition and functioning of the conference and to engage, on this basis, with the European Parliament and the Commission.

“Citizens need to be at the centre of the discussions on the future of Europe – how we can address the current and future challenges and what kind of a Europe we want. The Conference on the Future of Europe will provide a valuable opportunity to reflect on these issues,” said Metelko Zgombić.

“It is important to listen to different opinions and views in a way which builds trust and ensures that the EU effectively meets citizens’ expectations.”

During today’s discussion, ministers stressed the importance of putting citizens at the heart of the conference and focusing on issues that truly matter to them.

As underlined in the conclusions of the December European Council, priority should be given to implementing the Strategic Agenda for 2019-2024 and delivering concrete results. Building on the success of the citizens’ dialogues which have taken place over the past two years, the process should involve a wide range of stakeholders and groups to ensure that different views and opinions are represented.

Ministers also expressed their views on the detailed organisation of the conference. Many speakers underlined the need to ensure a balanced representation of the three EU institutions and to fully involve national parliaments. Several ministers also expressed their preference for a lean and simple governance of the conference process.

The presidency concluded that discussions would continue after the Council meeting with a view to defining the Council position on the conference and engaging with the other EU institutions, according to the report issued on the official website of the Croatian presidency.

European Commission Vice-President for Demography and Democracy Dubravka Šuica expressed hope on Tuesday that the three main institutions of the European Union would soon adopt a joint declaration defining details of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

The conference is due to start on 9 May, Europe Day, and Šuica hopes that the venue for the start of this event will be Dubrovnik.

More news about Croatia and the EU can be found in the Politics section.


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