EU presidents invite citizens to engage in EU future debate

Ljubljana – The presidents of 21 EU member states have addressed a letter to Europeans on the eve of the Conference on the Future of Europe, inviting them to take part in shaping a common European future. The initiative came from the Slovenian and Italian presidents, Borut Pahor and Sergio Mattarella.

The presidents say that the conference will be an opportunity for an open discussion on the EU and an opportunity to listen to European citizens, especially the young.

“It offers a platform for dialogue, talk, discussion on what we expect from the EU and what we can contribute ourselves,” says the letter Let’s Talk about Europe.

It stresses that the EU may not always seem to be ready to rise up to challenges, but it would be ever harder if countries were on their own.

“We need a strong and efficient EU, an EU which will be a global leader in the transition to sustainable, climate-neutral and digitally-supported development.

“We need an EU with which we can all identify and in which we can do everything in our power for the well-being of future generations. We can do it together.”

The presidents believe that the time is right for such a discussion because the Covid-19 pandemic has made people better aware of what is really essential in their lives.

“It showed the advantages of European integration as well as its weaknesses,” which the heads of state believe should be discussed as part of the conference.

Among the challenges Europe is faced with they list climate change, green economy, a global competition race, and digital transformation.

“We will find new ways and new solutions. Our power, the power of democracies, lies in engaging the many voices of society to find the best way forward.

“The more people take part in the broad and open discussion, the better for our Union.”

They also highlighted prior to Europe Day, celebrated on 9 May, that the EU has been a project of peace and reconciliation since the start.

“We advocate a common strategic vision of Europe – a Europe that is integral, free and connected and in which we all live in peace.”

Pahor and Mattarella came up with the idea for the letter during their meeting in Rome, which was later discussed with the presidents of the other EU members states.

While 21 EU member states have presidents, six are monarchies.