The European Commission has launched a new online public consultation on the future of the EU-27, as the bloc celebrates ‘Europe Day’.
The European Commission began discussions around the future of the EU-27 in March 2017 with the publication of a white paper on the subject. Since then, members of the commission have travelled across Europe to gather a range of views from citizens on the proposals, leading up to an online public consultation open to all Europeans.
The consultation was prepared by a panel of 96 citizens from 27 EU member states, which was convened late last week (5-6 May) to draft a series of 12 questions to pose to their fellow Europeans. Citizens were already able to submit their opinions via a commission website, but the new online public consultation will complement this service.
What does the consultation aim to achieve?
The consultation is part of a wider effort to engage as many European citizens as possible in discussions about the direction the European Union should take following the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc. It also seeks to quell concerns about growing Euroscepticism in Poland and other European states, and will run for one year, until 9 May 2019.
In addition to the online public consultation, a series of in-person ‘citizens’ dialogues’ will be held in cities across Europe, with the commission setting a target of 500 events across the continent over the next year. Around 700 events have already been held in 160 cities.
What has the commission said?
The acceleration of these efforts is linked to the upcoming European elections in 2019, which will play a large part in shaping the direction that the bloc takes. For European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, this means that now is the best opportunity for citizens to participate.
He explained: “With the European elections around the corner, it is time to decide what the European Union at 27 should be… The survey we are launching today puts the question to all Europeans: What future do we want for ourselves, for our children and for our Union? Now is the time for Europeans to make their voices heard, loud and clear, on the issues that concern them and what they want their leaders to do about them.”