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What was the Conference on the Future of Europe?

The Conference on the Future of Europe ran from April 2021 to May 2022. It was established jointly by the European Commission, European Parliament and the Council of the EU (representatives of EU Member State Governments).

The Conference involved a set of events, including EU-wide randomly selected citizens’ panels. Contributions from the panels and an online digital platform were considered by conference plenaries. The conference plenaries brought together representatives of the EU institutions, national parliaments, civil society organisations and representatives of the citizens’ panels.

What did the Conference propose?

The final conference plenary on 29-30 April 2022 adopted proposals covering 49 different policy objectives. These included proposals to move to qualified majority voting for almost all EU decisions, including taxation and common foreign and security policy.

It also called for regular use of citizens’ assemblies, possible EU-wide referendums and greater say for citizens in electing the European Commission President. Other proposals included strengthened common defence, asylum, environmental, social, education and health policies.

What happens next?

It will be up to the Council of the EU, the European Parliament and European Commission to examine how to follow up the Conference proposals. The Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has promised to set out initial follow-up proposals in September 2022. In their responses to the Conference, both the European Parliament and President Macron called for a European Convention to be established to consider reforms to the EU treaties. 

President Macron also made proposals for a multi-speed Europe which could include an integrated core group as well as a broader “political community” which could include Ukraine, Western Balkan countries and the UK.

Any proposals for EU treaty reform would need to be agreed by all Member States of the EU. In most cases this would also require ratification by national parliaments and referendums in some EU Member States.  However, several EU Member States have said they oppose “unconsidered and premature attempts to launch a process towards Treaty change”.

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