After one year, the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) concluded its work on 30 April, reaching a consensus on a wide range of proposals that will formally trigger a process to amend the EU Treaties. The final act of the Conference will be held in the hemicycle of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 9 May, when the EU celebrates Europe Day to mark the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, that is conventionally identified as the founding moment of the European project.
The CoFoE Executive Board will present the final report of the Conference to the Presidents of the EU Institutions, which are tasked to follow-up on these recommendations.
With the CoFoE, for the first time the EU Institutions created the space for participatory democracy in the Union to thrive next to representative democracy, with a citizen-led series of debates about crucial issues shaping Europe’s future.
Made up by 80 citizens, sitting together with 108 Members of the European Parliament, 108 Members of National Parliaments, 27 members of the national citizens’ panels, as well as governments’ (54) and Commission’s representatives (3), the plenary of the Conference has adopted 325 proposals to achieve 49 objectives identified across 9 different thematic areas (including culture). The recommendations made by the CoFoE plenary are based on those gathered through the European Citizens’ Panels, as well as inputs from the National Panels and events and the almost 45.000 contributions recorded on the multilingual digital platform futureu.europe.eu and systematically organised in interim reports.
Albeit not with the strong language that cultural stakeholders would have hoped for, culture also makes it to the final CoFoE recommendations, where the Conference members ask – among other things – for strengthening existing measures supporting culture at EU level, such as Creative Europe, the New European Bauhaus and the European Capitals of Culture. In addition, they demand the development of future-proof education and life-long learning in Europe, including STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths) practices, and endorse the EU-wide call to improve working conditions of cultural workers. In particular, the Conference asks that Member States, with the support of the EU, should “ensure that cultural professionals are sufficiently protected at EU level, particularly in any future crises, by adopting a legal statute at European level”, as recommendation 48.5 reads.
The Amplify project, co-funded by the European Parliament and coordinated by Culture Action Europe, has been active in bringing underrepresented voices to the Conference on the Future of Europe. Communities across 12 European countries working in social, educational, and artistic modes interacted with the multilingual digital platform futureu.europe.eu, putting forward a diversity of ideas, concerns and proposals. These recommendations investigate the challenges faced in the cultural sector, raise issues that need more attention across Europe and question what makes a “better Europe?”
On May 9, the EU-wide #AmplifyinAction campaign will ask for a central place for culture in the Future of Europe. Join us by sharing your work across social media using the hashtag #AmplifyinAction. This final Amplify project action (see the detailed program here) is part of the Europe Day ’22 hybrid event, with live programmes taking place in Bozar, Brussels, De Balie, Amsterdam as well as an ongoing live stream via europeday.eu.
As an immediate follow-up to the Conference, the European Parliament will table this week a resolution to call for a revision of the Treaties pursuant to Article 48 of the Treaty of the EU. The European Council, where the 27 national leaders sit, will have to approve (by simple majority) a decision to convene a Convention that will be tasked with preparing the Treaty reforms. Such amendments will however then need to be greenlighted by all National Parliaments.
Still, 15 years after the last time the EU started a Treaty revision, it looks like the ‘reform fatigue’ is over.