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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 25 November 2013

Future of Europe debate: Commissioner Vassiliou listens to Cypriot citizens

The debate on the future of Europe is coming to Cyprus on Thursday 28 November. Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will hold an open Citizens' Dialogue at the Carob Mill in Limassol with local councillors, NGO representatives, students and members of the public.

"The Citizens' Dialogue is an excellent way for European decision-makers to hear the views of the public first hand. I am keen for as many people as possible to take part in our event in Cyprus: from school pupils and students, to mums and dads, to office and shop workers, business people, civil society and older people. Everyone is welcome. This is your chance to make your voice heard. I know my fellow Cypriots have a lot to say, especially on issues such as the economy, employment and European solidarity. This open dialogue is a chance for everyone to express their views, which I will relay to Brussels."

This Citizens' Dialogue in Cyprus is part of a series of events that have taken place throughout 2013, the European Year of Citizens. Nearly 40 Dialogues have already taken place across Europe.

The debate in Limassol will take place from 17:30 to 20:00 at the Carob Mill, Vasilissis Street. The moderator will be TV presenter Loukas Fourlas. Simultaneous interpretation will be available to and from Greek, Turkish and English. The debate will cover three main areas: Commissioner Vassiliou's areas of responsibility, especially education and youth, the economic crisis and the future of Europe.

To guarantee yourself a place at the Dialogue, please register here. The debate can also be followed live via web stream. Citizens from all over Europe can also participate via Twitter by using the hashtag #EUDeb8.


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 the public and their rights. Throughout the year, Commissioners have been holding debates with citizens all over the EU about their views on Europe and their expectations for the future.

A lot has been achieved in the 20 years since the introduction of EU Citizenship. The results of a consultation carried out by the Commission last year showed that 55% of Cypriots know what their rights are as citizens of the EU (compared with 46% on average for all EU citizens). 86% of Cypriots also said that they would like to know more about these rights (59% on average for all EU citizens). This is why the Commission dedicated 2013 to citizens and their rights. The Citizens' Dialogues are at the heart of the European Year of Citizens.

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 EU, with many talking about the need for more political union or a United States of Europe. But European integration must go hand in hand with strengthening the Union's democratic legitimacy: that is why the Commission is urging all citizens to make their voices heard in the forthcoming European elections.

What will be the outcome of the Citizens' Dialogues?

One of the main objectives of the Dialogues is to prepare the ground for the 2014 European Parliament elections. The feedback from the Citizens' Dialogues will help guide the Commission as it draws up plans for a future reform of the EU.

On 8 May 2013 the European Commission published its second EU Citizenship Report, which puts forward 12 new 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.

On Wednesday, the Commission also published a package of measures aimed at strengthening citizens' rights concerning access to justice and legal aid when they are in a foreign country.

For more information

Further information on the Limassol Dialogue

Debate on the Future of Europe homepage

European Year of Citizens

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

Androulla Vassiliou's website

Representation of the European Commission in Cyprus

Follow Androulla Vassiliou on Twitter @VassiliouEU

To contribute to the debate on Twitter: #EUdeb8

Contacts :

Dennis Abbott (+32 2 295 92 58); Twitter: @DennisAbbott

Dina Avraam (+32 2 295 96 67)

Annex: Key issues in Cyprus

Unemployment and the economic situation are the main issues of concern for Cypriots

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Source: Eurobarometer Standard 79 - May 2013

Cypriots are informed about their rights as EU citizens but still want to know more

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Source: Eurobarometer Standard 79 - May 2013

Trust in the institutions, both national and European, is low among Cypriots

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Source: Eurobarometer Standard 79 - May 2013

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