The anthem of Alegria rang out as António Costa, Ursula von der Leyen and David Sassoli, the presidents of the three institutions of the European Union, the Council of the Commission and the European Parliament, signed their names in the joint declaration on the launch of the EU conference on the Future of Europe, which undertakes to listen to European citizenship “in all its diversity”, to discuss “without taboos and head-on” the political questions “that really concern it” and, at the end of the day, to make its “concrete recommendations” – whether they are ” Changes to the law or changes to the contract ”.
“It could be a change of game,” said the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, who sees the conference, which officially begins on May 9th, as an opportunity to renew the democratic pact of civil society with the Brussels institutions and in this way the foundations are created for a “new European social contract” that will make the EU “more effective, more democratic, more flexible and more resilient”. “We invite all citizens to participate,” he appealed.
For Prime Minister António Costa, “the convening of the conference is a message of trust and hope” that the three Co-Presidents want to send to Europeans at a time that is still marked by “uncertainty, fear and fear”. “We will overcome the pandemic and overcome the crisis. And we will build a Europe of the future, fair, green and digital, “he promised, recalling that while there is already” a strategic agenda that unites the institutions “, it is still necessary that” Europeans this design accept it and feel it as such is their own “.
The words of the President of the European Commission went in the same direction, and Ursula von der Leyen stressed the importance of holding the conference “in the middle of a pandemic”. “It is precisely in times of crisis that we recognize where Europe works and where it still needs to be improved,” he emphasized. And if the past few months have “shown what the EU can achieve if it has the means”, they have also shown the difficulties the Commission faces when “its powers are weak” or “the consensus is too long lasts”.
The speeches by the three co-chairs of the Conference on the Future of Europe highlighted the political differences and institutional tensions that have prevented the initiative from leaving the paper over the past year. “We know that we do not all have the same vision, neither about the Europe of the future nor about the future of Europe,” admitted Costa, who was the “inventor” of the compromise solution that made it possible to overcome the interinstitutional impasse led by the leadership Conference.
MEPs clearly want to go faster and further than the European Heads of State or Government on questions of institutional reform, to which David Sassoli diplomatically alluded when the treaties were revised, if that is the path they have indicated in the course of the consultations. However, this does not mean that the Commission or the Council completely deviate from this scenario: there is also an interest on the part of the executive and the Member States in changing some of the operating rules of the “machine”. Adaptation of the role and competencies of the individual institutions.
None of the three co-presidents went into the issue very much, preferring to press the opening key to listen to the “ideas”, “expectations”, “concerns” and “concerns” of European citizens, so doing so during the conference the case is Drawing possible lessons from the new coronavirus crisis and showing solutions to the challenges that will remain even after the pandemic has been overcome: employment, climate change, migration, terrorism, Costa enumerated, using the results of the Eurobarometer.