The conference entitled ‘Building the EU citizen pillar’, attended by over 180 civil society activists, academics, legal advisors and representatives of European Union (EU) Institutions, took place on the eve of the European Year of Citizens in 2013. The programme together with the background discussion documents prepared by ECAS and presentations of the speakers are accessible on the ECAS website. Opening the event, Meglena Kuneva, Honorary president of ECAS gave an overview of the aims and the main questions of the each of the conference panels on different aspects of citizenship: rights, access and belonging. She pointed out that a real citizen pillar in the EU still does not exist, nor is there a real ‘European citizens’ lobby’. The main theme of the conference should be how to create one. In her view, a problem solving and citizen participation facility could be part of the answer.