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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 6 November 2013

Commissioner Borg debates Europe with Maltese citizens

The debate on the future of Europe is coming to Malta tomorrow, 7 November 2013. Commissioner Tonio Borg will be holding a Citizens' Dialogue at Hotel Phoenicia, Floriana, including Members of the European Parliament, NGO representatives, mayors, local councillors, and students.

"After almost 10 years of EU membership, the Maltese have a lot to say to the EU about its future", said Commissioner Borg, EU Commissioner for Health. "Whilst I am encouraged to see that Maltese people appreciate their place in the EU, I am aware that they have concerns in areas such as migration and the future of the EU. Tomorrow's Dialogue is a chance to listen to people's views and expectations on European policy issues."

This Citizens' Dialogue in Malta forms part of an event series which has continued throughout 2013, the European Year of Citizens. Smaller debates have already taken place across Malta and Gozo in the past weeks. These were held in partnership with the Malta-EU Steering and Action Committee (MEUSAC).

The Dialogue will be moderated by Herman Grech (Head of Media, Times of Malta) and will cover areas such as citizens' rights and the future of Europe.

The debate will take place on 7 November from 17:00 to 19:00 at Hotel Phoenicia in Floriana. Mr Martin Bugelli, Head of the European Commission Representation in Malta, and Dr Peter Agius, Head of the European Parliament Information Office in Malta, will complete the panel.

The debate can be followed live via web stream. Citizens from all over Europe can also participate via Twitter by using the hashtag #EUDeb8.

Background

What are the Citizens' Dialogues about?

In January, the European Commission kicked off the European Year of Citizens (IP/13/2), a year dedicated to citizens and their rights. Throughout the year, members of the Commission are holding debates with citizens about their expectations for the future in Citizens' Dialogues all over the EU.

Various Commissioners have already held debates across Europe. Many more Dialogues will take place all over the European Union until the end of 2013 and in the first few months of 2014 – which will see European, national and local politicians engaging in a debate with citizens from all walks of life.

Follow all the Dialogues here: http://ec.europa.eu/debate-future-europe

A lot has been achieved in the twenty years since the introduction of EU Citizenship:

A recent Eurobarometer survey shows that 81% of Maltese feel European (62% on average for EU citizens). However, only 51% say that they know what rights EU citizenship brings. At the same time 69% of Maltese want to know more about their rights as EU citizens.

This is why the Commission has made 2013 the European Year of Citizens, a year dedicated to citizens and their rights. The Citizens' Dialogues are at the heart of this year.

Why is the Commission doing this now?

Because Europe is at a crossroads. The coming months and years will be decisive for the future course of the European Union, with many voices talking about moving towards political union, a Federation of Nation States or a United States of Europe. Furthermore, European integration must go hand in hand with strengthening the Union's democratic legitimacy. Giving citizens a direct voice in this debate is therefore more important than ever.

What will be the outcome of the Dialogues?

The feedback from citizens during the Dialogues will help guide the Commission as it draws up plans for a future reform of the EU. One of the main purposes of the Dialogues will also be to prepare the ground for the 2014 European elections.

On 8 May 2013 the European Commission published its second EU Citizenship Report, which puts forward 12 new concrete measures to solve problems citizens still have (IP/13/410 and MEMO/13/409). The Citizens' Report is the Commission's answer to a major online consultation held from May 2012 (IP/12/461) and the questions raised and suggestions made in Citizens' Dialogues on EU citizens' rights and their future.

For more information:

Further information on the Valletta Dialogue:

http://ec.europa.eu/malta/news/25.09.13_citizens_dialogue_en.htm

Debates with citizens on the Future of Europe:

http://ec.europa.eu/debate-future-europe

European Year of Citizens: http://europa.eu/citizens-2013

Europeans have their say: Results of the consultation on EU citizens’ rights:

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/citizen/files/eu-citizen-brochure_en.pdf

Homepage of Tonio Borg, EU Health Commissioner:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/borg/

Site of the Representation of the EC in Malta: http://ec.europa.eu/malta

Follow Commissioner Borg on Twitter: @borgton

To contribute to the debate on Twitter: #EUdeb8

Contacts :

Aikaterini Apostola (+32 2 298 76 24)

Frédéric Vincent (+32 2 298 71 66)

ANNEX: 1. Citizens' Dialogues: the debate on Europe's future continues

2. Immigration, the economy, the environment and energy are the most important issues for Maltese people

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Source: Eurobarometer Standard 79 - May 2013

3. 81% of Maltese people feel they are citizens of the EU, whilst 69% would like to know more about their rights

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Source: Eurobarometer Standard 79 - May 2013

4. Maltese people see EU as best able to tackle the negative effects of the financial and economic crisis

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Source: Eurobarometer Standard 79 - May 2013


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