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Brussels, 25 January 2008

Debate Europe! European Commissioners take part in new online discussion forum on the future of Europe

On 29th January 2008 Commission Vice-President Margot Wallström and Commissioners Stavros Dimas (Environment) and Andris Piebalgs (Energy), as well as other Commission staff, will be online between 15:00 and 17:00 CET to take part in discussions with European citizens. "With this forum we want to continue the discussion with European citizens that we started during Plan D" said Margot Wallström.

The 'Debate Europe' forum was originally part of the European Commission's Plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate and was conceived as an online discussion space where EU citizens could exchange their views and opinions on a variety of EU-related subjects. Since its launch in March 2006, the forum has had thousands of contributions and over 1.3 million views.

The new-look "Debate Europe" will be easier to use and will, for the time being, focus on three main topics: the Future of Europe, Energy and Climate Change and Intercultural Dialogue. There will also be a "Miscellaneous" channel for people to talk about any other EU-related issue.

The forum will be in all 23 official languages of the EU and, as with the previous forum, there will also be a channel in the Catalan language.

The new forum hopes to re-launch debate and help the Commission and the European citizen to engage in a constructive dialogue, with the Commission listening to citizens' concerns and giving feedback. The re-launch is also set to contribute to the development of a European public space on the internet, raising awareness about the Commission's new Internet strategy: "Being Global, Going Local".

The re-launch promises an afternoon of animated online interaction between the general public and Commission representatives. Commission officials will continue to join in the debate on a regular basis to ensure there is a follow-up of all discussions and a real exchange between the Commission and the general public.

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