The Conference on the Future of Europe, taken up by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, presents an important opportunity to strengthen the democratic quality of the discussion on the future of Europe and a possibility to unlock useful reforms of the EU. However, the success of the Conference will strictly depend on several factors, including the clear interinstitutional agreement on the objectives of the Conference, the composition, the methods used and the final impact of the proposals of the Conference.
In preparation for its start, ECAS contributed to a set of civil society organisations (CSOs) recommendations we believe will ensure it is an effective process with concrete outcomes. Using our expertise on digital democracy, we strongly recommend for the Conference process to follow a divergent-convergent model, combining both online and offline methods for collecting input. As a first stage, EU citizens should be provided with the opportunity to express their concerns through online tools and platforms. In follow-up, randomly selected citizens and CSO representatives can propose concrete actions to address the identified challenges, using the method of deliberative polling.
Only with the wide participation and deep deliberation with EU citizens, CSOs and other stakeholders can the process be meaningful in strengthening the European Union and its democratic values.
Read the full set of recommendations here.