The Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union yesterday noted a remarkable political achievement in the successful unlocking of the long-awaited conference on the future of Europe, which appeared to be stranded. Indeed, an embarrassing political stalemate had dragged on for over a year, unable to respond to Parliament’s proposal and to understand the organization and conduct of this event, which aims to bring citizens together for a broad debate on the future of the European project. Thanks to the skill and growing influence of Prime Minister António Costa on the European stage, the Portuguese Presidency overcame the blockade and achieved in just half a dozen weeks what the powerful German Presidency had not achieved in half a dozen months.
It is understandable with what triumphant smile António Costa appeared in Brussels yesterday when, in his capacity as President of the Council of the EU, he signed the Joint Declaration with the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Parliament, with which the three Institutions have undertaken to organize this conference and to lead it jointly on an equal footing. Once this interinstitutional agreement has been reached, no one doubts that the conference will really move forward and that it will also have its symbolic opening session during the Portuguese Presidency on May 9, Europe Day.
As is evident, the fact that it was António Costa himself who unblocked the conference categorically refutes the thesis that Paulo Rangel has repeatedly defended – and in which he adamantly insisted this week against all evidence on the PUBLIC side – that it is António Costa would be an opponent of the conference to the point that he was allegedly the only one to veto the council. What has now been proven is the opposite: if Europe will have its promised conference, it will be because António Costa defended it and personally endeavored to come up with the solution that would make it possible.
Of course, now that the political solution has been found, it is easy to say that it was obvious, but the truth is that it never was while the impasse remained. It was necessary, with patience and diplomacy, to come up with a solution that could be accepted by all – and that is undoubtedly the achievement of the Portuguese Presidency. The idea that this political success was the work of a conscientious objector suddenly converted to the charms of the conference seems to be exactly what it is: a desperate attempt to convince us that the theory was correct, the facts are wrong.
The Conference on the Future of Europe is an important call for a more participatory and democratic Europe, as its citizens want: data from the Eurobarometer released this week shows that 92% of respondents want their votes to be heard when making decisions about the The future will be given more attention to Europe and 76% agree that holding the conference is a significant step forward. In order for the conference to be an open space for debate and free participation of citizens, it cannot be drawn into the European institutions, nor can results be achieved from the outset, including the decision to work towards a revision of the Treaties. Of course you need an agenda and a way of working that avoids chaos and can be productive, but the most important thing is that it is centered on the concerns of the citizens and that the European institutions put themselves in “listening mode”, z later take on their responsibilities, To make decisions with the legitimacy inherent in representative democracy in Europe.
In addition to the European vaccination strategy; Given the financial and solidarity response to the economic crisis and the alignment of European investments with the strategic goals of a green, digital and fair transition, the conference for the future of Europe must be understood as part of a movement of political initiatives for a great human reunification of the European project the expectations of the citizens. This is the best answer the European project can give to the eurosceptic populism that is out there to explore discontent and sow dangerous illusions. The country of the Lisbon Strategy and the Lisbon Treaty is once again making an important contribution to the future of Europe.
The author writes according to the new orthographic convention
Pedro Silva Pereira
Vice-President of the European Parliament