The Conference on the Future of Europe: Local citizens' dialogues and panels on the future of Europe
The Conference on the Future of Europe is the opportunity for citizens to interact with politicians across different levels of government, and express their aspirations. As
the assembly of locally elected politicians, the European Committee of the
Regions (CoR) believes this is an opportunity to establish new models of dialogue and deliberation with citizens that can strengthen
democracies. The intention is to open a "European public sphere", where pertinent issues of citizens in a form of dialogues could be brought forward.
The CoR has partnered with the Bertelsmann Stiftung to create this project designed to make cities' and regions' voices heard throughout the Conference on the Future of Europe. Innovative participatory processes and online tools will be used to host citizens' panels. These will provide input to high-level debates as well as recommendations for the final report of the Conference expected in spring 2022.
The project was launched on 12th May 2021 inviting cities and regions to hold a fixed number of local, cross-border or inter-regional citizens' dialogues or panels between September and December 2021, in order to discuss topics that concern them. The key message deriving from the process will be that European democracy matters to Europe's regions and cities and vice versa, and that new models of deliberation with citizens can strengthen democracy across levels of government.
After an evaluation procedure, 23 projects were regarded as successful and became part of the project.
The supported projects could be summarized as follows:
- The 23 partners and partnerships will include 37 regions and 13 cities from 16 EU member states and two candidate countries;
- most partners are German cities or regions (14), followed by France (9) and Czech Republic, Poland and Spain (4 each);
- 6 projects are from one region or city, while 17 involve two or more regions and cities;
- approximately 50 citizens’ panels are planned to be held between September and December 2021
- 50% of the dialogues are planned to be held in a digital format (online only), the other half in hybrid format (physical and online) with the potential to involve 3 500 citizens.
To enable project partners to fine-tune their event ideas and provide support, planning workshops and training seminars were organised in June, July and September, enabling all partnerships to finalise their local, cross-border or transnational dialogues/citizen panels.
Between September 2021 and spring 2022 38 local, regional and transnational citizens’ dialogues have been conducted by the local and regional project partners. Citizens’ proposals derieving from these dialogues were channeled to the Conference on the Future of Europe as well as into local, regional and cross-border policies.