How can regions and their institutions claim a seat at the table of the Conference on the Future of Europe?
On 9 May 2021, Europe Day, EU leaders launched the long-awaited Conference on the Future of Europe. While some fear that the conference might turn into another unproductive EU talking shop, others believe that it signifies a promising EU-wide exercise in citizen consultation. At least there is one thing both camps seem to agree on: the ever-closer union faces a gap that urgently needs to be bridged.
The explicit goal of Workplace Europe: Mind the Gap! is to provide an alternative for those who don't want to join the trenches of this debate. Instead, it will present a forum to discuss what has led to the creation of an EU-wide consultation platform in the first place. It will discuss the gaps the Conference on the Future of Europe aspires - and needs - to address, as well as how regions and their institutions can bridge these gaps. In doing so, this Workplace Europe aims to empower regions and their institutions to claim a seat at the table of the conference. The focus will be on professionals active in and across the domains of academia, policymaking and civil society. Representatives of these areas will discuss how to mind and anticipate the gaps (i.e., the challenges and opportunities) laid bare by the Conference on the Future of Europe.
In what ways is the conference a wake-up call for regions and their institutions to better facilitate the debate and dialogue on European affairs? And how can they utilise it as a window of opportunity to promote trans-local, trans-sectoral collaboration and democratic innovation?
On 1 July, eight weeks after the conference's launch, Studio Europa Maastricht organised this special edition of Workplace Europe in collaboration with the European Committee of the Regions.
A panel discussion between CoR member Wilma Delissen, Nicolo Milanese and Wolfgang Petzold opened the event, after which interactive sessions held for all participants to share and discuss with each other. The ideas and insights collected are being shared with the platform of the Conference on the Future of Europe and with all participants.
Studio Europa Maastricht and the CoR were pleased to have welcomed policymakers, academics, civic actors and other people eager to advance the debate and dialogue on the future of Europe.