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Future of Europe: Vice-President Viviane Reding to debate with Italian, Croatian, Slovenian and Austrian citizens in Trieste

European Commission - IP/13/833   13/09/2013

Other available languages: FR DE DA ES NL IT SV PT FI EL CS ET HU LT LV MT PL SK SL BG RO HR

European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 13 September 2013

Future of Europe: Vice-President Viviane Reding to debate with Italian, Croatian, Slovenian and Austrian citizens in Trieste

"That Slovenians, Croats and Austrians are debating the future of Europe together with Italians is testament to the power of our European Union in breaking down borders," said European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding. She was speaking ahead of a Citizens' Dialogue with more than 500 citizens and Italy's Minister for European Affairs Enzo Moavero Milanesi to be held in Trieste (Italy) on 16 September.

Monday's event is the 29th in a series of Citizens' Dialogues that European Commissioners are holding all over the European Union together with national and local politicians and members of the European Parliament. Each debate is centred around three themes: Europe's way out of the economic crisis, citizens' rights and the future of Europe.

"This cross-border Citizens' Dialogue in Trieste, bringing together people from four different neighbouring countries, is a great example of what a borderless Europe truly signifies," said Vice-President Reding. "We should never forget that each and every European citizen's right to free movement is something to be cherished and protected. It is not up for negotiation. Populist scaremongering about welfare tourism has no place in Europe. We must stay true to the principles that form the basis of the European Union, and free movement goes straight to the core of what the EU is and represents. I look forward to hearing what Europe is to the Italians, Austrians, Croatians and Slovenians coming together in Trieste."

This Citizens' Dialogue in Trieste is the first such event involving a multinational European public. It is also the culmination of a series of Dialogues which took place in Italy over the past ten months: Six Dialogues were held across the country, starting in November 2012 and all leading up to the final event in Trieste.

The debate will take place on Monday 16 September between 14:30 and 16:30 hours at the Palazzo dei Congressi, Stazione Marittima, Trieste. It will be moderated by Mr Gigi Donelli – an Italian journalist from Radio 24.

The event can be followed live via webstream. Citizens from all over Europe can also participate via Facebook or Twitter by using the hash tag #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 this and next year, members of the European Commission, together with national and local politicians and members of the European Parliament are holding debates with citizens about their expectations for the future in Citizens' Dialogues all over the EU.

Vice-President Reding has already held debates in Cádiz (Spain), in Graz (Austria), in Berlin (Germany), in Dublin (Ireland), in Coimbra (Portugal), in Thessaloniki (Greece), in Brussels (Belgium) and in Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg), Warsaw (Poland), Heidelberg (Germany), Sofia (Bulgaria) and Namur (Belgium). Many more Dialogues will take place all over the European Union throughout 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: the latest EU survey shows that today 62% of citizens feel "European". Across the EU, citizens are using their rights on a daily basis. But people are not always aware of these rights. For example almost seven out of ten Italians (65%) say that they are not well informed about their rights as EU citizens.

This is why the Commission has made 2013 the European Year of Citizens. 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. Further 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 a Communication on the future of Europe. 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 Citizenship 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' right and their future.

For more information

Further information on the Trieste Dialogue:

http://ec.europa.eu/debate-future-europe/citizens-dialogues/italy/trieste/index_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 Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner:

http://ec.europa.eu/reding

Follow the Vice-President on Twitter: @VivianeRedingEU

To contribute to the debate on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/Europainitalia and on Twitter: @Europainitalia and #EUdeb8

Contacts :

Mina Andreeva (+32 2 299 13 82)

Natasha Bertaud (+32 2 296 74 56)

ANNEX

1. Italians say EU is best able to take effective action against crisis

Source: Eurobarometer Standard 79 - May 2013

2. Five out of ten Italians feel like an EU citizen, three out of ten know what that means

Source: Eurobarometer Standard 79 - May 2013

3. Italians see the free movement of people, good and services as the most positive result of the EU, followed by peace among Member States

Source: Eurobarometer Standard 79 - May 2013


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