The Institute for International and European Affairs (IIEA), will be hosting, as part of the Conference on the Future of Europe, some 200 European citizens from across the continent who will gather in Dublin Castle to partake in a European Citizens' Panel 25-27 February.
The European Citizens’ Panels, partially inspired by Ireland’s Citizen Assemblies, are a central feature of the Conference organised by the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission. Citizens were chosen at random by specialist contractors, using methodologies that ensure that they reflect the EU's diversity in terms of geographic origin, gender, age, socioeconomic background and level of education.
Each Panel will come up with recommendations that will feed into the Conference Plenary that will then put forward proposals on the Future of Europe. The Panels have designated 80 citizens (20 for each Panel) to present their respective recommendations in the Conference Plenary, the forum where recommendations from national and European Citizens’ Panels, and the input gathered from the multilingual digital platform, grouped by themes, are discussed.
The Panel in Dublin Castle will concentrate on policies for a stronger economy, social justice and jobs / Education, culture, youth and sport as well as Digital transformation.
Deirdre Clune MEP, member of the Conference plenary, said:
“It is fantastic to see the Citizens’ Panel taking place in Dublin. This Conference is a reminder and democratic statement that people need to be at the very centre of all EU policies so it is great to see the Citizens’ Panels actively contributing to the Conference on the Future of Europe and playing a leading role in setting the EU’s priorities. As one of the European Parliament’s representatives to the Conference, I am looking forward to fully engaging with the many recommendations that are being made by the Citizens’ Panels during the next meeting of the Conference in Strasbourg. I hope that we can all work together to draw conclusions from the Conference with concrete actions that meet the desires and aspirations of all of the people of Europe.”
The Conference Plenary comprises 108 MEPs, 54 members from the Council (two per Member State) and 3 from the European Commission, as well as 108 representatives from all national Parliaments on an equal footing, and 108 citizens. These 108 citizens are: 80 representatives from the European Citizens’ Panels, of which at least one-third must be younger than 25, and 27 from national Citizens’ Panels or Conference events (one per Member State), as well as the President of the European Youth Forum.
Speaking on the IIEA’s participation, IIEA Chairperson, Ruairí Quinn said:
“Participating in the Conference on the Future of Europe is an enormous honour and privilege for the IIEA. The Conference is a unique and ambitious undertaking in transnational deliberative democracy. It is vitally important for the future direction of the EU that decision-makers take heed of what the citizens have to say. The IIEA is delighted to have been chosen to play its part in this ambitious initiative and looks forward to welcoming participants to Dublin.”
Leading voices from across Europe such as former Belgian PM Guy Verhofstadt MEP, Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica – both Co-Chairs of the Conference on the Future of Europe will be attending. Vice-President Šuica and MEP Verhofstadt will host press points on Friday and Saturday respectively from Dublin Castle. Many high-level Irish Government representatives will also be present for the weekend Panel.
Dubravka Šuica, Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography commented:
“The deliberation as we see it at the Conference on the Future of Europe is at the heart of what the EU is and represents, a way of addressing issues and charting a path towards our common futures through deliberation and consensus, not confrontation, or conflict. Here, I would like to especially thank the Irish people for demonstrating how to engage with modern deliberative democracy through the citizens’ assemblies.”
Four Irish citizens are among the participants.
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