Today, the president of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa as the rotating presidency of the EU, signed the joint declaration that will finally allow the Conference on the Future of Europe to start on the 9th of May.
The leader of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Iratxe García MEP, said: “This conference is long overdue. It was proposed before the Covid-19 outbreak, and now it makes even more sense to think together how to reshape our Union to make it fit for today’s challenges. “The pandemic has shown that citizens expect a lot from the EU, but the EU does not always have all the tools it needs to deliver. We have made many important strides over the last year, like issuing the first shared debt bonds, and the first step towards a Health Union. However, we must look at the bigger picture together with civil society, social partners and with all levels of governance. “I am glad that our proposal to have an inclusive and bottom-up approach has been taken up. Thanks to the S&Ds, the Conference will also respect gender equality and social diversity; it will ensure a geographical balance and will pay special attention to young people. “The recovery from the pandemic will be of crucial importance and requires a huge joint effort across almost all policy areas. At the same time, the Union must also tackle the climate emergency, increasing inequalities, the digital transformation, and unfortunately, the deterioration of the rule of law and a new wave of populism and nationalism. “My group takes this exercise very seriously. We want the highest level representation at the executive board, and we will soon appoint the MEPs who will participate in the Conference. However, for us, citizens have the most important voice, and that is why we will engage with the S&D family’s political parties, think tanks, trade unions, associations, youth movement and representatives in the Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee to make sure that all the progressive voices are heard along the process. “For our parents and grandparents, Europe meant freedom, peace and prosperity. For our generation, and future generations, Europe must be about equality, solidarity and hope. We now have an opportunity to shape it accordingly.”