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EU: Conference on the Future of Europe, debate in Brussels today. Role of citizens and civil society. Chaired by an “eminent personality”

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(Brussels) Four key principles should frame the Conference on the Future of Europe: “equality” between the Commission, Council and Parliament at “all levels”; respect for each institution’s prerogatives; effectiveness and avoidance of unnecessary bureaucracy; proper involvement of citizens. This is according to an internal working document – of which SIR news agency got a sneak preview – that is being discussed today at the meeting of the permanent representatives of the Council of the EU. Participation should include MEPs, Member States’ and Commission representatives, national parliaments, as well as the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). “The involvement of citizens and civil society” in the various thematic areas should be guaranteed, together with a “wide representation of different groups in our society, and especially of young people”. A “lean and streamlined governance” should also be guaranteed as well as “gender equality”. The Conference will be chaired by an “eminent European personality” selected by mutual agreement of the three EU institutions. There should also be a steering committee “composed of representatives of each institution on an equal footing” and the rotating president of the Conference of bodies concerned with Community affairs (COSAC). Representatives of the CoR, EESC or other bodies may be invited as observers. The “proper involvement of citizens and stakeholders” should be ensured through debates at national and regional level, digital platforms and panels of citizens in Member States and at the European level.

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