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European Commission

Press Release

Brussels, 28 June 2013

Europe's future: Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding to debate with the people of Esch/Alzette (Luxembourg)

Following 21 dialogues with citizens in 13 Member States of the European Union, the people of Luxembourg will be asked for their opinions this Sunday. You will be able to share with politicians your opinions, comments, visions and questions on the future of Europe, the impact of the financial crisis and your rights as EU citizens. On Sunday, Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding, together with Luxembourg's Minister of Labour, Nicolas Schmit, MEP Charles Goerens, and the Chairman of Belgium's Francophone Christian democratic party, CDH [Centre démocrate humaniste], Benoît Lutgen, will meet around 400 citizens for a citizens' dialogue in the Rockhal in Esch‑Belval, to talk with them about their expectations, concerns and hopes for the future of Europe.

'In Luxembourg especially, the idea of Europe is a daily reality. Crossing borders is part of everyday life. Europe is part of everyday life. I am therefore expecting a lively debate with lots of ideas, suggestions and opinions on the role and future of Europe', said Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission and EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. 'Europe is facing a crossroads so now particularly we need to have a clear vision about where we are going in the coming years. What citizens think is more important than ever. My message is: Europe must be there for its citizens. Are you prepared to be there for Europe?'

The discussion in Esch/Alzette will be moderated by Joseph Rodesch, who is known in Luxembourg as 'Mr Science'. Over the course of two hours, three subjects will be discussed: the financial and economic crisis, citizens' rights and the future development of the European Union.

The debate will be held this coming Sunday, 30 June, from 2-4 pm in the large concert hall of the Rockhal in Esch-Belval.

It will be streamed live via the internet as a webcast. Citizens from all over Europe can also participate via Twitter (#EUDeb8). Anyone interested can also take part in the discussion on the website, 30juinrockhal.eu, and ask Viviane Reding questions in advance of the discussion.

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, EU Commissioners, MEPs and national politicians everywhere in the EU have been discussing citizens' expectations for the future of Europe with the people themselves.

Commission Vice-President Reding has already held debates in Cádiz (Spain), Graz (Austria), Berlin (Germany), Dublin (Ireland), Coimbra (Portugal), Thessaloniki (Greece) und Brussels (Belgium). Continuing until February 2014, at least 21 more dialogues will be held all over the European Union, which will see European, national and local politicians engaging in a debate with citizens from all walks of life. You can follow all the debates at http://ec.europa.eu/european-debate.

Much has been achieved in the last twenty years since the introduction of EU Citizenship: A recently published EU survey shows that 63% of citizens now feel 'European'. In Luxembourg, the percentage is significantly higher: 83% (see Annex).

Across the EU, citizens are exercising their rights on a daily basis. However, not everyone is fully aware of these rights. For example, around 37% of Luxembourgers (and 54% of Europeans) say that they are not adequately informed 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 a key component of the debate about the future of Europe.

Why is the Commission doing this now?

Today Europe is at a crossroads. Everyone is talking about the future of Europe. There is often talk of a political union, a federation of national states or the United States of Europe. The coming months and years will be decisive for the future course of the European Union. Further European integration must go hand in hand with strengthening the Union's democratic legitimacy.

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 and impending Treaty amendments. One of the main purposes of the dialogues will be to prepare the ground for the 2014 European elections.

On 8 May 2013, the Commission also published the second report on European citizenship, in which it proposed - in the European Year of Citizens - 12 new concrete measures to solve problems citizens still have (IP/13/410 and MEMO/13/409). The Citizens' Report is the result of a major online consultation from May 2012 (IP/12/461). and the questions raised and suggestions made in citizens dialogues on the Commission's European Citizenship policy.

For more information

Further information on the discussion taking place in Esch-sur-Alzette:

http://ec.europa.eu/debate-future-europe/citizens-dialogues/luxembourg/esch-sur-alzette/index_en.htm

Debates with citizens on the future of Europe:

http://ec.europa.eu/european-debate

European Year of Citizens:

http://europa.eu/citizens-2013/en/home

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 Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner:

http://ec.europa.eu/reding 2010-2014/reding/index en.htm

Follow the Vice-President on Twitter: @VivianeRedingEU

Take part in the debate on Twitter: #EUdeb8

Contact:

Mina Andreeva (+32 2 299 13 82)

Natasha Bertaud (+32 2 296 74 56)

ANNEX

1. Nine out of ten Luxembourgers feel 'European' but four out of ten want to know more about their rights

2. For Luxembourgers, peace in Europe and freedom of movement are the EU's main achievements


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