No roadmap on CoFoE follow-up yet, says socialist group leader

No roadmap on CoFoE follow-up yet, says socialist group leader |

A roadmap is needed to follow up on recommendations citizens made during the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE), the leader of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament told a press conference on Tuesday.

Speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Iratxe García Pérez, referred to recommendations citizens approved during the recent EU deliberative democracy experiment, where participants approved 49 recommendations related to a wide range of subjects, such as energy and environment, education, jobs, foreign policy, health and EU institutions reforms.

The experiment aimed to give a significant voice to citizens in EU policy making.

However, the EU institutions did not agree on a precise follow-up at the end of the experiment which concluded on 9 May, and as a result, each institution is reacting in its own way.

According to Garcia Perez, a roadmap about how EU institutions react to and integrate those proposals is still absent.

The roadmap has to address proposals that need treaty change and those that can be implemented within the current framework, according to the S&D president.

At the moment, the Parliament pushing for the treaties to be reopened launching a call for a Convention in June.

No roadmap on CoFoE follow-up yet, says socialist group leader |

Treaty reform is coming, but not just yet

History tells us that when it comes to pushing for EU treaty reform, the European Parliament is almost always leading the way.

However, member states in the Council are hesitant to proceed with the vote on a Convention, that according to article 48 of the Treaty, needs a simple majority to be started.

The Czech presidency has been working on a questionnaire to take EU countries’ temperature on a possible opening of the treaties.

But according to the ex-MEP and constitutional expert Andrew Duff, the Council must reply to the Parliament by early October, otherwise EU lawmakers will have legal grounds to sue the Council for breaking its obligations.

No roadmap on CoFoE follow-up yet, says socialist group leader |

MEPs could sue EU leaders if they ignore call for treaty reform

The European Parliament could sue EU leaders at the European Court of Justice for breaking treaties’ obligations if they refuse to officially react to EU lawmakers’ official call for the Convention to open EU treaties, a constitutional expert told EURACTIV.

“They have to react one way or the other,” said Duff. There are several options, “including a debate on whether to call a Convention or not, possibly prepared by an independent reflection group”.

EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen hinted at support for treaty change at the final CoFoE ceremony on 9 May and declared that the State of the Union speech on Wednesday will be also dedicated to following up the first block of citizen proposals.

Never ending story

Concerns about the follow-up process have been at the centre of the CoFoE throughout the experiment.

EU democracy experts such as Jonathan Moskovic told EURACTIV that too much energy was put on problems, such as deciding the CoFoE co-chairs, instead of thinking about the proper design of the follow-up, which Moskovic described as the most important stage of such experiments.

The concerns of participants that they would be heard have been ever-present.

For instance, while citizens where deliberating on recommendations at the end of 2021, they expressed their fear that they would be ignored because of the lack of media interest in the process. 

[Edited by Alice Taylor and Benjamin Fox]


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