Europe Day: from Schuman to the Conference of Europe
“The European Union is the world’s most successful intervention for advancing peace” as by the words of Irish European enthusiast John Bruton. Every May 9 Europe celebrates its own day, Europe Day, to cheer for the peace and unity of the continent. May 9 was chosen as it is the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, named after Robert Schuman, who in 1950 came with the idea of a multi-national cooperation system where European nations would never again get in a conflict with each other.
Conference on the Future of Europe: unprecedented
The Conference on the Future of Europe will kick-off on Europe Day. The purpose of the conference is, in words of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen,” to give more voice to the European citizens in the EU activities and work.” No matter where, no matter who: everyone is invited to participate and to celebrate Europe’s diversity.
What makes it unprecedented is the commitment of the Joint Presidency – where the three institutions are represented – to follow up on the outcome of the Conference. In other words, the voices of the European citizens will not only be heard, but they will also shape and guide the European Union’s future direction and policymaking. These conclusions are expected by 2022, so the Parliament, Commission and Council can follow up on the recommendations made.
Key topics: from climate to social justice
The Conference has launched an online platform that is available in the EU’s 24 official languages and has been organized around key topics. These include some of the priorities of the von der Leyen Commission, such as climate change and the environment, health, a stronger and fairer economy, as well as salient issues for the European citizens including European democracy, migration, education, culture, and youth.
An opportunity for the EU citizens, and the EU itself
The Conference on the Future of the European Union is a great opportunity for citizens to express their concerns and their vision for the Europe of the future. However, it is also an opportunity for the European Union itself to show to its inhabitants, as well as the rest of the world, that it is committed to democracy and to listening to people’s voices. With a wave of Euroscepticism growing in Europe and the involvement of political and social movements that fight against basic European values, this is an opportunity for the EU institutions to position themselves as defenders of democracy, human rights, peace, and unity in the continent.