The final session of the second European Citizens' Panel, one of the three pillars of the Conference on the Future of Europe, took place at the European University Institute (EUI) between 10 and 12 December 2021.
In an exercise meant to bridge the gap between voters and policy-makers, citizens from all EU member states discussed various themes, from privacy and data protection, to voting rights and the environment.
“We were honoured to host this unprecedented democratic exercise,” said EUI President, Professor Renaud Dehousse “Citizens realise that European decision-making impacts their daily lives and rightly want to have their say.” As the sole truly European academic institute, the EUI has a track record of providing a forum for debate about EU policy issues.
After a first plenary and open forum, the citizens worked on detailed proposals in 15 sub-groups. They considered dozens of measures, including actions to improve work-life balance for parents, to lower voting age, to introduce a minimum wage and to better protect personal data. EUI professors, researchers and students assisted the citizens in their deliberations throughout the weekend.
In previous sessions of the citizens’ panel “ideas and recommendations were more general. While they are now becoming more and more practical and specific” said Martina Brambilla, a student from Milan. “I think that if Europe wants to change, it should take these ideas into account.”
The concluding plenary on Sunday adopted 39 out of 42 citizens’ proposals, which will be presented in early 2022 to national and European politicians during a plenary session of the Conference on the Future of Europe.